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Plenty of adventure - very little else
on July 12, 2004
This is a collection of previously published adventures of Drizzt Do' Urden assembled into a single volume. Urden is probably Salvatore's most popular character. A 'Dark Elf', born and raised in an underground city dedicated to the worship of an evil spider queen, Urden has rejected the ways of his people to become a sort of knight errant, usually seen in company with human and other friends he has gathered in his journeys.
As shown by other reviews here, some readers really go for this style of fantasy, but I was largely unimpressed. My main problem was that with the elaborately balanced cast of characters - Elf, Dwarf, Barbarian, Thief, Cleric, Assassin, Priestess, and various magical weapons and items - it often felt more like an RPG scenario than a novel. That was especially true in the first book; the sequels were better but still not terrific.
The characters and dialogue are thin. The surprises are few, the prose not particularly striking, character development entirely unknown, battles innumerable. In general, the book seemed aimed at the teen market that is the heart of the RPG industry.
The first three volumes of the tetralogy tell the story of an attack from Menzabarranzan, Drizzt Do' Urden's place of origin, against the dwarves of Mithril Hall. The final volume is a bit tacked on, not really the same story as the earlier books, although it it further adventures of the same characters.
Any of these four novels can be read as a stand-alone, although they do contain numerous spoilers for prior Urden novels. The 2nd through 4th also contain spoilers for the earlier novels in this set.