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Tiassa [Paperback]

Steven Brust
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 10 2012

Once, Vlad Taltos knew his trade: he killed people for a living. That skill got him his foothold in House Jhereg, running the rackets for a chunk of urban Adrilankha. Later, things happened that left Vlad a changed man, on the run from the Jhereg and frequently involved in the affairs of Dragonlords, Empresses, and even Jenoine. Far more involved than the average human.

Meanwhile, in the very distant past, one of the gods fashioned an artifact—a silver figurine of a tiassa, a winged panther-like animal. To Devera the Wanderer, it’s a pretty toy to play with. To Vlad, it’s a handy prop for a con he’s running. To the Empire, it’s a tool to be used against the Jenoine. And to the Jhereg, it’s a trap to kill Vlad.

As it happens, however, the silver tiassa has its own agenda.

Tiassa tells a story that threads its way through more than ten years of the remarkable life of Vlad Taltos—and, to the delight of longtime fans, brings him together with Khaavren, from The Phoenix Guards and its sequels. Khaavren may be Vlad’s best friend—or his most terrible enemy.


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Review

“A wonderful return to form... Full of plots, counterplots, unlikely disguises, sword fights, and mistaken identities. Fans will love the full cast of favorite characters and the resolution of longstanding plots and mysteries, and like most of Brust's books, this witty, wry tale stands well alone and is very accessible to new readers."
—Publishers Weekly

“Steven Brust may well be America’s best fantasy writer.”
—Tad Williams

“No mere plot summary can describe accurately the fun and adventure that naturally seem to follow Vlad Taltos.”
VOYA

“Brust is incapable of writing a dull book.”
—Booklist

About the Author

STEVEN BRUST is the author of Dragon, Issola, the New York Times-bestselling Dzur, and many other novels of swashbuckling high fantasy. A native of Minneapolis, he lives near Austin, Texas.


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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Story May 23 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of Steven Burst since high school. His characters have been a refreshing change to the usual fair of the genre.
I would recommend this book for your Vlad Taltos collection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Series keeps getting better May 5 2014
By Steven R. McEvoy HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
This is the 13th novel directly in the Vlad Taltos series and when you include the Khaavren Romances and the short stories set in Dragaera there are over 20 works to date. I have been reading them since Jhereg came out in 1983 and still find them amazing stories to read. In fact Jhereg is the first book that I can recall purchasing for myself, and attribute it and Brust's writings for much of my love and enjoyment of reading. If you are not familiar with Vlad Taltos and his familiar Loiosh you are missing out on some great fun, a little bit of magic, weapons, weapons and more weapons, and an assassin with a wicked sense of humor and often a big heart. This book is written in three sections that spread across the most of the other novels and links it to characters from The Khaavren Romances. Every now and then a Vlad novel comes out that is so good, I end up going back and rereading the whole series, either in the order they were published or the Chronological order. This is one such book.

The stories in this volume focuses around a an ornate silver Tissa, "It is described as a tiny sculpture of a tiassa, all of silver, with sapphires for eyes." And also "-about the size of my palm, all of silver, except for the eyes, which appeared to be very tiny sapphires. The wings were thin, and filled with a multitude of tiny holes so the light shone through, and there were whiskers around the mouth." Yes it is a beautiful piece of artwork, it was crafted by the goddess Mafenyi and stolen by Devera, and from time to time Devera passes it on to someone who needs it for a specific purpose. It features in this story and in its history Vlad appears to be the only person who has possessed it twice.
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5.0 out of 5 stars At last, Paarfi and Vlad come together Dec 16 2013
Format:Paperback
I've been waiting for this moment ever since Mr Brust wrote "The Phoenix Guard" -- to see Vlad through Paarfi's eyes, and to have Paarfi's hero, Khaavren, show up in a starring role in one of Vlad's narratives.

Every Vlad novel is structurally clever in some fashion -- Tiassa goes further than most as this novel consists of three separate stories, tied together by a silver trinket that on first reading seems almost immaterial. But as ever, Mr Brust packs his book with subtle allusions and just enough details to allow a careful reader to piece together what's going on.

Tiassa spends some time with characters from the sidelines: Norathar and Daro get starring roles, and the story with them and Cawti is clever and shows all three for the tough ladies they are. And it appears perhaps that Pel and Vlad are on a collision course...

Looking forward to future Vlad novels!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Convolutions Aug. 25 2011
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
In case you care, I am usually pretty good at following complex, tangled-up narratives. But Steven Brust's latest Vlad Taltos fantasy, "Tiassa" had me scrambling back to the book's beginning multiple times. It has some deeply fascinating moments, solid action and some deliciously warped humor, but the narrative often feels like we're lost in a maze.

Several years in the past, Vlad became involved in a peculiar plot that involved spell-marked coins, a mysterious highwayman known as the Blue Fox, and a silver tiassa with sapphire eyes. And in the present, a reported threat of a Jenoine invasion causes the Empire to desperately seek the tiassa, believing that the gods-forged "device" can save them.

At first it seems to be in Vlad's possession -- and he's on the lam from the Jhereg, and nearly unfindable. But Cawti soon discovers that the entire threat is a devious plan of the Jhereg to kill her estranged husband. And soon Khaavren is hot on Vlad's trail...

The biggest problem with "Tiassa" is simple: it's all over the place. The narrative flips from first to third-person, the settings jump around, and even the time period shifts unexpectedly. So it's pretty easy to get completely lost just by something as simple as "When are we? Who is in the room? What's going on?"

Brust's style even changes from one part to another -- at first we're treated to Vlad Taltos' snarky lean style, but later there are chunks of narrative that are more old-timey and serious. And there are some that have little to do with the overall story at all. It's not BAD, but it's often confusing -- it's like a string of intertwined short stories got squished together into a single story.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  63 reviews
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A love-letter to Brust fans April 1 2011
By Joshua W Epp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Tiassa, Brust's thirteenth novel, is one of the most ambitious to date. It incorporates a myriad of writing styles from his past Dragaera works; the typical Vlad first-person, the third-person character-per-chapter narrative used in Brokedown Palace, and as much of the book focuses on Khaavren and his family, a bit more of Paarfi. This book is by no means a stylistic exercise, however; it has a focal point that stays very focused on the plot, and the way the story is presented actually gives a new way of looking at things. It was especially interesting to see, during the course of an investigation, the way Khaavren and a number of those in his employ measured Vlad's worth with a sense of begrudging respect, or the way Norathar and Cawti feel towards one another/the Empire, how idiotic Piro's 'benevolent highwayman' schtick appears in Vlad's world, etc.

I've seen other reviewers claim that this book does nothing to further the story, a criticism I honestly would've lodged against Iorich, which, while a decent read, did little to advance the overall plot or provide opportunity for character growth. Tiassa not only sheds some light on some things that have been alluded to in past books (Devera, the Issola bard, the box he talks to) but also drops some HUGE hints toward the future of the series, one in particular stated almost outright by a certain Imperial official.

If I have to levy a criticism against it, it would be that it is definitely not the best place to jump into the series (though arguably that has been true for several books at this point) and it does heavily incorporate characters (and the ridiculously, hilariously overwrought writing style) of the Khaavren romances, which I adore, but could be confusing even to long-time readers if they've never strayed outside of the main Vlad series. Chronologically, it's all over the place; it jumps from events happening just after Yendi to around the same time as Dragon to slightly before (or after) Iorich.

Its a great book for long-time fans of Brust, and definitely one of the best in the series, both in terms of story and general writing. Not to be missed.
32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best by far, but not a total waste... March 31 2011
By John S. Dean - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've loved the series since I bought the just published "Jhereg" ages ago. I've done the ups and downs as we rode the roller coaster as the morality changed after Brust's own personal experiences with killings. So I guess this shouldn't be too much of a shocker, but it is a bit of a disappointment...

We spent years with the buildup of spellbreaker, and finally the great weapon is created... and then....

I keep waiting for more about the *after*, because I've been so curious. But this one again jumps in time, forwards, backwards, forwards... Pre marriage, post marriage.

And while the parts written from Vlad's point of view are as enjoyable as ever, as others have mentioned, there's not a lot of that...

We get to learn a little more about Devera, but beyond that, there just didn't seem that much here that moved the story forward at all, nor did it really fill in any big questions anywhere else.

I'm beginning to feel like I did mid way through the sword of truth series, where things just stalled so horribly and we had to wade through the morass in fear we might miss the couple good pages in a book... I'm NOT saying that this is at that point, but it's certainly nearing it...

Steven Brust is one of the four or five authors I ever recommend to others, but I'm getting to the point now where I feel I need to specify certain books so that people don't get the wrong impression. I'd rather have them learn about the author from the incomparable Jhereg than thinking this is the epitome of his writing...

So let's hope that we get back on track with the engaging stories again, because when he's hot, no other author compares...
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular March 29 2011
By Shawn P. Cooke - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Okay, well that was just a Taltos fanboy's dream.

Fair warning, I've liked pretty much every book in this series, even Jhegaala, which was too convoluted and ponderous for me to get much of a buzz from. But this makes up for it fifteen times over. We get tantalizing hints at longstanding questions, not to mention the reappearance of fan-favorite characters... and a certain fan-favorite narrator.

This is not a good entry point into this series. It was written for people who have read both the last twelve Taltos novels as well as the five Phoenix Guards books. Anyone else might well be lost. But read them. You're in for a treat.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tiassa Sept. 11 2011
By G. Reents - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've read the Vlad Taltos series since they first came out. Over the years I've really enjoyed them. But, since Vlad left Andrilankha the series has lost a lot of luster. Brust seems to like to experiment with writing styles and at times seems bored with his character.

In Tiassa he wastes many pages of text with the weird convoluted style he uses in 500 Years After. He can actually write 5 pages of text to cover a paragraphs worth of plot. I keep hoping he brings Vlad back to Andrilankha and gets back to what the made the series in the first place.

I'm losing hope, though. Pity. This was once my favorite series and I waited for each installment.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Last Third Is Insultingly Dull Feb. 19 2012
By Youngfrey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
My impression of this book is it's what an author writes to answer demands for a book he doesn't want to write. A way to say "Here, happy now?". When they know you won't be happy so they can feel satisfied with their having not wanted to write it. That said, there are enjoyable parts of the novel but it doesn't really advance the plot. It's a holding pattern book that has a section written in a very polarizing style that many people cannot stand. It comes down to whether or not you like his Khaavren Romances. If you hate them, you will find the writing style of the final 1/3 of the book an interminable slog.
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