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The Vondish Ambassador Hardcover – Nov 21 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Wildside Pr (Nov. 19 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1434477622
  • ISBN-13: 978-1434477620
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,537,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars 21 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid sequel to one of my favorite books Dec 20 2008
By Jeremy Reaban - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been a fan of Lawrence Watt-Evans' Ethshar novels pretty much since the series started. Sadly, the series doesn't sell well anymore, as the more personal or "non-epic" fantasy seems to be unpopular these days, in favor of Jordan-esque Wheel of Time clones and Lord of the Rings knock-offs. So Mr. Watt-Evans has focused on producing those, occasionally still producing an Ethshar book when subsidized by fans. This is one of those books. It's finally appearing in print form after a few years, albeit from a very small press.

It's almost, but not quite, a sequel to The Unwilling Warlord, by far my favorite in the Ethshar series. But where that novel focused on Sterren, street gambler suddenly forced into becoming the Warlord of a kingdom, this focuses on an ambassador sent by Sterren to his old home of Ethshar. Or rather, the young man he hires to be his guide in the city, a simple dock worker.

Which is exactly what makes the Ethshar series so good. Most the books focus on personal adventure, ordinary people caught up doing things that they never thought they'd be doing. More like "The Hobbit" than "The Lord of the Rings". Other than perhaps the Discworld series and Glen Cook's Garrett series, very little fantasy fiction like this is popular anymore.

The Ethshar series other strong point, an extremely well developed world, could hurt readers who read this book first. If you aren't familiar with the events of the Unwilling Warlord, or even how magic works in the world of it, you could be lost. So while not a direct sequel, it is probably best read after The Unwilling Warlord (pretty much the first in the series that is like that, all the others are basically stand alone, other than cameos from other novels)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Superb Chapter in the Ethshar Saga! April 8 2009
By Steven Woodcock - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really can't quite say enough good things about the Ethshar series--clearly Lawrence Watt-Evans' finest work. I've been a fan since the Overman days and consider this series to be good, serious, just plain *fun* fantasy.

This particular book is typical of the series. Rather than huge battles and heroes vs. dragons, we have an everyman who gets hired to be the assistant to an ambassador. The plot spins out of this simple act and makes for riveting reading. Along the way we get to see little tidbits of Ethshar and learn at least One New Thing (which hopefully LWE will do another book on some day!) about this marvelous land.

This type of character-based fantasy is far too rare these days. I highly, HIGHLY recommend this book.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Sequel Dec 5 2008
By Allen W. Mcdonnell - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very good yarn, a direct sequel to The Unwilling Warlord it picks up the story a few months after the end of the prior book and is contemporary with Ishthalians Restoration. Highly recomend to all Ethshar fans that they read Night Of Madness and The Unwilling Warlord before reading this one, it will stand alone but many more subtle details come out if you know the entire back story before you read it.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Witty and Fast-Paced Sept. 12 2009
By G. Schultz - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a rousing read. Watt-Evans is a long-time favorite of mine, and I enjoyed his wry wit and the book's somewhat unwilling hero. I'd be inclined to call this a wizardly "who dunnit". The scenes progress with small brushstrokes rather than slapdash excitement, but the characterization is excellent and the pace is lively.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly different fantasy April 10 2009
By booksforabuck - Published on
Format: Paperback
Dock worker Emmis of Shiphaven is just looking for a chance to make a few coins unloading the newly arrived ship. But the strangely dressed passenger quicly drafts Emmis, making him his guide and general servant for his visit to the great city of Ethshar of the Spices. Emmis's automatic bargaining results in him taking a job he had no interest in, but he soon gets involved with the foreigner, Lar Samber's son, Ambassador from the Empire of Vond.

Vond is a relatively new Empire built on multiple kingdoms in the land of small kingdoms. That empire was constructed through a deliberate violation of the basic rules of war--through the use of magic. Vond, the warlock who created the Empire, is gone now, and Vond's neighbors are intent on making sure neither he, nor any other warlock, return. And when Emmis's employer starts visiting wizards and warlocks, and even enquires about having his nephew apprentice as a warlock, they decide assassination is the only solution.

Emmis finds his job more challenging than he'd imagined. He negotiates with a prince of the city, visits with witches and wizards, tries to deal with both human and demonic assassins, and generally tries to offer a voice of sanity in a world that seems increasingly insane.

Author Lawrence Watt-Evans spins a really entertaining and different fantasy. Emmis is an everyman, getting by in a magical world without a hint of magical ability of his own, surviving by his wits and charm. His simple goal of making a few coins gradually transforms itself, but Watt-Evans makes sure the reader sees Emmis himself as remaining a man of the people. He's definitely no secret prince.

I was initially surprised to see Watt-Evans publishing with a small press (Wildside) but this book is different enough from the standard fantasy that perhaps big publishers were afraid to take a chance on it. They should have--this is a good one.

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