The Legend of Drizzt: The Collected Stories
The Legend of Drizzt Anthology: The Collected Stories by R. A. Salvatore
The Legend of Drizzt Anthology: The Collected Stories was released February 2011 and published by Wizards of the Coast LLC. This anthology was edited by Philip Athans. The anthology contains all the short stories that R. A. Salvatore has written that are set in the Forgotten Realms and concern the popular character Drizzt Do'Urden and companions. This anthology is set in the Forgotten Realms setting of Dungeons and Dragons. The stories found in this anthology are also found in various other anthologies and magazines, except for one brand new story. The stories are originally found in Dragon® Magazine #152, Realms of Valor, Realms of Infamy, Realms of Magic, Realms of Shadow, Realms of the Dragons, The Highwayman, Realms of the Elves, Dragons: Worlds Afire, Realms of War, and Realms of the Dead. The Legend of Drizzt is told through a vast amount of trilogies and series; The Dark Elf Trilogy (Homeland, Exile, and Sojourn), The Icewind Dale Trilogy (The Crystal Shard, Streams of Silver, and The Halfling's Gem), Legacy of the Drow (The Legacy, Starless Night, Siege of Darkness, and Passage to Dawn), Paths of Darkness (The Silent Blade, Spine of the World, and Sea of Swords), The Hunter's Blades Trilogy (The Thousand Orcs, The Lone Drow, and The Two Swords), Transitions (The Orc King, The Pirate King, and The Ghost King), and the current Neverwinter Trilogy (only two of the books have confirmed titles, Gauntlgrym and Neverwinter Wood, due out in October 2011). R. A. Salvatore has written two other series set in the Forgotten Realms; The Sellswords trilogy (Servant of the Shard, Promise of the Witch King, and Road of the Patriarch) and The Cleric Quintet (Canticle, In Sylvan Shadows, Night Masks, The Fallen Fortress, and The Chaos Curse). He has contributed to other shared universes as well; writing two Star Wars based books, Vector Prime and Star Wars Episode Two: Attack of the Clones and he has also written a book based on Tarzan called Tarzan: The Epic Adventures. R. A. Salvatore has also written a few books in his on created worlds; Ynis Aielle (Echoes of the Fourth Magic, The Witches Daughter, and Bastian of Darkness), Spearwielders Tales (The Woods Outback, The Dragon's Dagger, and Dragonslayer's Return), The Crimson Shadow (The Sword of Bedwyr, Luthien's Gamble, and The Dragon King), Demon Wars (The Demon Awakens, The Demon Spirit, The Demon Apostle, and Mortalis), Demon Wars: Second Saga (Ascendance, Transcendence, and Immortalis) and the Saga of the First King (The Highwayman, The Ancient, The Dame, and The Bear). He also co-wrote The Stone of Tymora (The Stowaway, The Shadowmask, and The Sentinels) with his son Geno Salvatore. He also has written a number of short stories as well. Before each story in The Legend of Drizzt Anthology: The Collected Stories, R. A. Salvatore talks about the reasons behind each story, his motivations, and how it came to be.
"The First Notch"
Young Bruenor Battlehammer takes a few of his cousins and heads out into some tunnels around Mithral Hall to take down an Ettin (a two-headed giant). However, that's not the only danger in the dark tunnels.
"The First Notch" is a pretty interesting story that showcases a young Bruenor Battlehammer. The only issue with the story is that the scenes featuring the goblins came off as awkward and sudden. I never expected to have them in the story, and the way they were introduced was way too sudden. Thankfully, everything else was entertaining. It was great to see a story about a young Bruenor. You can see some of the qualities that the older Bruenor has, that are barely there in his younger self. Also, the ending was unexpected but great. "The First Notch" is an entertaining story and a great way to start the anthology.
Drizzt Do'Urden helps a group of farmers track down a group of orcs who kidnapped villagers of a small farming village named Pengallen. After tracking down the captives, Drizzt is surprised to see a well dressed goblin among them, and is even more surprised to learn that the goblin, Nojheim, is a slave to the towns leader. Curiosity gets the better of the drow and he intervenes, trying to save the goblin. However, he comes away with something more.
"Dark Mirror" is a fantastic story, and probably the best Drizzt based short story. Not only do we get into Drizzt's mind, due to the perspective, we also have a story that is surprisingly insightful and deep. The message behind "Dark Mirror" really carries a lot of weight and applies to the real world. It's one of those stories that make you think about our society and the problems that we still have today. This is definitely a must read.
"The Third Level"
Fourteen year old Artemis Entreri's life changes after making his first kill by taking out a rival boy. He finds out that it was just a test for a thieves guild and is then recruited. He quickly rises in the guild after challenging his master to a deadly game of Quarters.
"The Third Level" is a great story to read if you want to learn more about Artemis Entreri's past. However, it may leave you wondering what happened to him after being recruited. That question is never really answered and it just brings up more questions. Thankfully, this story is well worth a read if you're a fan of Entreri. It really delves into his psyche and explores what made Entreri, Entreri. Also the game of Quarters that he plays was really thrilling. You didn't know what was going to happen. This whole game really shows you how cunning and deceptive Entreri is and it's surprising. "The Third Level" is a must read for any Entreri fan.
Josidiah Starym is an elven bladesinger for the elven city of Myth Drannor and is on his way to visit an old friend, a human ranger turned mage named Anders Beltgarden. Upon arriving to the hermit's home, he hears growling. Worried about his friend's safety, Josidiah rushes into Anders' alchemy room, only to find the old mage sitting at a desk and a huge black panther in a cage. After telling Josidiah that he attends to make the panther into a summoned magical creature, the elf is horrified. As the countdown to the time comes, the elf spends more time with the panther. He spends so much time that when Josidiah is in trouble, the panther yearns to come to his aid. After that, Josidiah must make a tough choice.
"Guenhwyvar" is an interesting origin story of one of the more mysterious aspects of the Drizzt series. The main characters, Josidiah and Anders, could have used a bit more development. They were interesting characters, but could have been explored further. Josidiah felt just like Drizzt in some cases, and he shouldn't have been. Aside from that, it's wonderful to finally learn the origin of Guen and how she was created. It wasn't what I was expecting, but it blew my expectations out of the water. The story also makes you want to read about some of Josidiah's and Guen's adventures. It builds up your interest in their story as well as Guen's other 'owners'. "Guenhwyvar" is a great origin story that really leaves you wanting more.
"That Curious Sword"
The assassin Artemis Entreri and his drow companion, the colorful Jarlaxle, arrive in the city of Heliogabalus, a city full of paladins. After a bartender offers the duo a job, they take it. However, it seems to be a set up and the man they are supposed to take back an item from knows of Entreri, or more specifically, his sword, Charon's Claw. After a brief struggle, Entreri leaves with more than he bargained for.
"That Curious Sword" is an interesting look into the friendship that Entreri and Jarlaxle are developing. Aside from the lackluster fight at the end, the rest of the story was entertaining. It was surprising how well the duo worked off one another and they really do seem like a natural fit. Another surprise was how nice Entreri was at the beginning of the story. That came out of left field, but it still felt like it could be something that Entreri would do.
"Wickless in the Nether"
Artemis Entreri and Jarlaxle are hired out to recover a flute that their benefactor's rival is in possession of. However, things don't go according to plan and identities aren't what they appear to be.
"Wickless in the Nether" is a good story. It builds on the friendship between Jarlaxle and Entreri and you should probably read this before going into Salvatore's Promise of the Witch King. Otherwise, the story was fun as well as a good read.
Drizzt Do'Urden and Catti-brie arrive in Waterdeep, in search of the captain of The Sea Sprite, Deudermont. The duo hope to join up with him and sail the seas for a while. However, the duo have an idea; they want to pay a dowery to join by trapping some pirates. Or at least they think they are pirates.
"The Dowery" is a good story but doesn't have that much of a lasting impact. If you look past the plot hole of how wasn't Catti-brie recognized, it is an enjoyable story. However, I'm stuck on the fact that former crew members and friends of Drizzt and Catti-brie didn't figure out who these people were. That just bothers me. However, at least I now understand how Drizzt and Catti-brie wound up on The Sea Sprite in Passage to Dawn. All in all, there isn't anything really new or interesting in "The Dowery", but it still was a fun read.
"Comrades at Odds"
Drizzt Do'Urden and his friend Innovindil go on a journey to recover the body of Ellifain, who Drizzt mistakenly killed. Along the journey the two friends discover that the orcs who are at war with the dwarves of Mithral Hall are seemingly starting a kingdom. Strange behavior for orcs. On the outskirts of the newly established orc kingdom, a drow named Tos'un Armgo is slaughtering the orcs with the help of the sentient blade, Khazid'hea.
"Comrades at Odds" is really a mediocre story. The ending made me feel like I was ripped off. It just ended, but there could have been so much more. Also, if you are at all unfamiliar with the Drizzt series, you would be lost. This story will definitely not make you want to check out the previous books. Thankfully, Tos'un is a real highlight. He's interesting and gives the story something very different. It's welcoming to see a new character being focused on, I just wish the story would have just been about him. Also, this story ties in nicely with The Hunter's Blade Trilogy, so it would be worth reading if you've read that trilogy.
"If Ever They Happened Upon My Lair"
The Witch-King Zhengyi is at war with the nation of Damara and hopes to rule the Bloodstone Lands. In order for his plan to succeed, the lich offers various dragons in the area immortality if they help him succeed. He tries to persuade a black dragon named Urshula, but the dragon refuses. That is until a band of heroes stumbles upon Urshula's lair.
"If Ever They Happened Upon My Lair" is a wonderful story. It's probably the darkest story within this anthology and because of that difference, it makes it stand out. This is not a happy story, and if it was any other way, it wouldn't be as good. Aside from that, the characters all played their parts wonderfully. Zhengyi is someone who deserves to be feared and Urshula feels like an actual dragon. "If Ever They Happened Upon My Lair" is a dark story and so very different from the other stories.
"Bones and Stones"
Thibbledorf Pwent goes out after the battle between the orcs of Obould's army and Mithral Hall in search of any fallen companions. During Pwent's search, he comes across an orc, G'nurk, who is searching for his daughter. Tension rise, but can the two set aside the differences for a common goal?
"Bones and Stones" is a surprising story. The only set back is the awkward insertion of the "Drizzt Diaries". These little segments slow down the story and feel unnecessary. Even with that, Pwent saves this story. I would never have guessed that the battlerager would be so deep. Also, the meaning to the story is surprising. It's deep and unexpected, but welcomed and touching. "Bones and Stones" was a deep and touching story that left me surprised.
A group of fishermen on Lac Dinneshere in Icewind Dale are taking on water and must find a safe place to fix it. They are able to find a dock which has a cabin along with a good-sized forest surrounding it. As they make their repairs to the ship, they decide to stay for the night. The ship's captain, Ashelia, has the two younger members of the ship, Spragan and Lathan, go out to find firewood. While the two are searching, they somehow get separated and find out that the forest isn't what it appears to be. When the two make it back to camp, the other two members, a wizard named Addadearber and a ranger named Roundabout, go into investigate what the two saw. But they also come out changed forever.
"Iruladoon" is a good story that really pays respects to some dearly departed characters. Even though I had a problem with Ashelia and Lathan, they still were decent characters that didn't really hurt the overall story. The other characters were wonderfully done and I'd be more than happy to read more about Roundabout and Addadearber. But all this is overshadowed by the appearances of the 'dead'. It makes the ending of The Ghost King feel much happier than it felt. "Iruladoon" pays its respects perfectly and makes a bittersweet ending a little easier to choke down.
"To Legend He Goes"
Wulfgar has lived a long life, longer than a barbarian of Icewind Dale would have ever lived. At the ripe old age of one hundred, Wulfgar knows his time has come and he sets out for one last hunt.
"To Legend He Goes" is a great way to close out the final chapter in a characters story. It was wonderful to see a bit of the old Wulfgar back. Not to mention having a one hundred year old man take down a fair number of yetis. It was a touching end.
Overall Averaged Anthology Rating: 4/5
The Legend of Drizzt Anthology: The Collected Stories is a great anthology for any Drizzt or R. A. Salvatore fan. However, there is one nitpick I have that I couldn't mention until know. The anthology is missing one short story, found in The Best of the Realms, Volume One titled "Empty Joys". It felt weird having one story missing. Aside from that, all these stories were great and adds a lot to the characters that we all know and love. This is a must have for any Drizzt fan, but newer readers may be a little lost. However, you can still enjoy it.
Stories Worth Reading:
1) "Dark Mirror"
2) "Wickless in the Nether"
3) "If Ever They Happened Upon My Lair"
4) "To Legend He Goes"