The Drizzt Novels: Starless Night by R.A. Salvatore

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Starless Night is book eight of the Legend of Drizzt series by R.A. Salvatore. Originally published in 1993 in hardcover by TSR and re-released in 2006 by Wizards of the Coast. Starless night was the second book of the Legacy of the Drow series as it was
  Starless Night is book eight of the Legend of Drizzt series by R.A. Salvatore. Originally published in 1993 in hardcover by TSR and re-released in 2006 by Wizards of the Coast. Starless night was the second book of the Legacy of the Drow series as it was first released. It is set in the Forgotten realms Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) campaign setting. Within two weeks of the books release it raced to the top of the New York Times Bestseller list. Figure 1 shows the original cover art.

      What is with this cover? It seems to me that whoever approved this cover hadn’t read the book or had any idea what a dark elf was. Is that supposed to be Drizzt? It’s a pink faced old man with a gold bowl on his head. It’s been said that you can’t judge a book by its cover but I have to think that this cover didn’t help sales at all. It was the follow up to Legacy (knoji.com/the-drizzt-novels-the-legacy-by-ra-salvatore/) so it sold just fine but whatever marketing person approved this should have been let go. Im guessing Bob Salvatore didn’t have any say in this decision.

Fig #1. Original Cover Art

Fig #2 New cover art by Todd Lockwood

The new cover art is much better, way to go Todd Lockwood. Todd has created the new look of the Drizzt Novels and speaking as a fan, I couldn’t be happier. This was also the second and last Drizzt novel to be released in book on tape format. Starless Night picks up right where legacy left off.

Spoiler Alert - Stop Reading if you don’t want to know more. Go to the bottom of the article for more review.

      It’s dark days in mithril Hall, Wulfgar is dead and everyone is depressed. Bruenor seems the most affected by the loss of his adopted son. Drizzt is taking the blame for the tragedy because it was his kin that came for him that cost Wulfgar his life. Drizzt decides he has to go back to Menzoberranzan to try to determine his people’s intentions before any more harm comes to those he loves. He leaves Guenwhyvar with Regis and swears him to secrecy. Less than a day goes by when Catti-brie pries out of Regis what Drizzt is intending to do and she sets out after him.

      Drizzt heads first for Blingdenstone to catch up with his friend Belwar Dissengulp and finds a way to sneak into Menzoberranzan undetected, so he thought. No sooner does Drizzt realize that the Drow are planning a major incursion to the surface then Jarlaxle, the leader of the mercenary band Bregan D'aerthe, captures him and turns him over to the tender mercies of the first house of Menzoberranzan, House Baenre, for torture and sacrifice.

Catti-brie and Guenhwyvar have been tracking Drizzt with a little help from Alustriel. It’s a rough journey but she makes it all the way to Menzoberranzan just be captured by Bregan D’aerthe and surprise, Artemis Entreri. Jarlaxle had rescued Entreri from the mountains where Regis had left him to die.

Matron Baenre has united the houses for her bid to conquer Mithril hall and is planning to use the sacrifice of Drizzt to launch her campaign. Artemis realizing that his last chance to see the surface is about to be sacrificed, cuts a deal with Catti-brie. He will help her to get to Drizzt and get them out if she promises to let him go on his way when they are back on the surface.

      Facing unbelievable odds the three of them with Guenhwyvar make a daring and unlikely escape which culminates in Catti-Brie dropping a huge stalactite through the roof of House Baenre’s chapel during the ritual. They make their way back to the surface and good to her word they let Entreri go. Back in the hall Bruenor’s grief is overcome by the return of the daughter he loves so much and the dark elf who has become his greatest ally and friend.

END OF SPOILER

      Regardless of the cover, this is one of the most exciting Drizzt novels yet, and many Drizzt fans agree if the numerous web sites are to be believed. While still a dark novel like its predecessor The Legacy, it shows the incredible writing style that R.A. Salvatore has become so well known for. His ability to make you feel as if you are watching a complex battle instead of just reading it makes his writing a cut above other fantasy novelists. We see for the first time a vulnerable side of Artemis Entreri while at the same time we see just how complex Jarlaxle’s life really is. These character developments are vital as we will be seeing many of these ancillary characters in the future. One we will not be seeing is Dantrag Baenre, the weapons master of House Baenre. What we do see a lot of is the magical weapons that he is relieved of after his death at the hands of Drizzt like his sentient sword, Khazid-Hea better known as Cutter, foremost among those.

      R.A. Salvatore continues to impress and deliver on what is one of the longest and most endearing fantasy novel series in history. His newest book comes out in October of 2010 with contracts in place for five more books after that. Now is as good a time as any to engage in this incredible set of books, starting with Homeland (knoji.com/drizzt-novels-homeland-by-r-a-salvatore-the-adventure-begins/).

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Creighton Smith

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