The Drizzt Novels: Streams of Silver by R.A. Salvatore
Streams Of Silver is the second book by R.A. Salvatore in the Icewind Dale trilogy and the fifth of the Legend of Drizzt novels. Originally published in 1989 by TSR in paperback and rereleased by Wizards of the Coast in 2005. It is truly wonderful that Wizards of the Coast rereleased all of the novels in hard cover editions as they had only been available in paperback until Legacy which was first published in 1992. The introduction was written by Eric Severson a good friend and editor to R.A. Salvatore and we learn “-that his writing has become popular enough to be published and read all over the world, in myriad languages.” This wonderful in that many people around the world are going to get to read these novels and enjoy them they way many here in the states have been able to.
R.A. Salvatore was given a copy of The Lord of the Rings in college and it inspired him to start writing fiction. As good a novel as Streams of Silver is, one cannot help but hear the echo’s of the Mines of Moria from the first of Tolkien’s novels The Fellowship of the Ring.
Spoiler Alert - Stop Reading if you don’t want to know more. Go to the bottom of the article for more review.
Fig #1. Original paperback cover art.
Fig #2. Legend of Drizzt, Art by Todd Lockwood
This book is entirely about Bruenor’s journey to find his long lost dwarven homeland of Mithril Hall. The Streams of Silver referred to in the title are the veins of mithril that made the mines so rich. Mithril is the preferred metal for the amazing weapons and armor that clan Battlehammer is famous for. The mines were lost to a darkness that was unleashed because the dwarves of mithril hall dug too deep. Sounds familiar as that was the same problem the dwarves in The lord of the Rings encountered. It’s been said that if you are going to emulate another writer, make sure it’s the best. Of course there are differences but the parallel themes are unmistakable. I would like to stress that this in no way takes from the substance of the book.
It starts with Bruenor’s search for the mines in Icewind Dale. He, Drizzt,Wulfgar and Regis leave on the quest . Regis wanting to accompany the group comes as a welcome surprise but we find out that Regis got wind that he was being hunted by parties from his past. Enter Artemis Entreri, an evil assassin from far to the south in Calimport. Artemis is on the trail of Regis but runs into Catti-brie and takes her hostage as he follows the companions in search of Regis. Meanwhile, after being spurned by the riders of Nesme and a mad dash across the Trollmoors, Bruenor and company head to the magnificent city of Silverymoon to research more about the lost mines. Drizzt is refused entry into the city because he is Drow. This prejudice is a common occurrence in Drizzt’s life but he is particularly stung because Silverymoon is supposed to be an intellectually and culturally advanced city. Bruenor is enraged but Drizzt calms him and sends him in as the libraries of Silverymoon are unmatched in the north and it is important to the quest. That night Drizzt makes camp outside the wall and is visited with apologies from the Lady of Silverymoon herself, Alustriel. His hope is renewed as the great lady also assists Bruenor with a potion to help guide his way.
Artemis has been joined by a soldier and wizard from Luskan as well as a powerful golem as they hunt for the companions. They are only a step behind as Bruenor closes in on his lost home. They find the door to Mithril Hall and enter only to find it has been overrun by Druegar or dark dwarves. They work for a particularly nasty shadow dragon named Shimmergloom. Bruenor comes to regret bringing the people he loves most into the nightmare place and tries to get them out. Drizzt runs up against Artemis and gets separated from the group. Bruenor in an act of vengeance and preservation for his loved ones sacrifices himself by jumping onto the back of the dragon and riding it all the way to bottom of the mines, killing it as it goes. It is truly a breathtaking event. Artemis captures Regis and makes of with him back to the south. The remaining companions, though morning the loss of the powerful dwarven king, must hurry off to catch Regis’s abductor. So ends the disastrous journey to Mithril Hall.
END OF SPOILER
This book is a second act in the trilogy and as so many others, it moves the story along leaving as many questions as it answers (like the Empire Strikes Back), yet it is different from many others in that it can stand alone as a fantastic adventure. The introduction of Artemis Entreri is no small matter as he becomes a pivotal character for many books to come. In many ways he is the opposite of Drizzt, all skill and no passion. They become mortal enemies bent on each other’s destruction. This becomes a moral dilemma for Drizzt in the following books and is the stuff of legends. Artemis is as evil and deadly as they come and he is like a mirror that shows Drizzt what he could have become if he had stayed in Menzoberranzan like his father did. Drizzt scimitars are confounded by the mental anguish that the very existence of Artemis invokes in him. Conversely, Artemis has hang ups concerning Drizzt as he believes that to be a true killer one cannot be possessed by crippling emotions like trust and companionship. What drives one enrages the other and when they clash they
Streams of Silver remain of my favorite books of the series for two reasons. First because I waited for it with baited breath after reading the Crystal Shard and I was not disappointed. The second reason is the growth and filling in of the characters that I already loved. By filling in I mean that they really take on a life and quality that makes them jump from the pages and into my imagination. Streams of Silver is epic in both scope and story line. If you are already a fan of the Drizzt books then you have probably already read it. If you are reading these books for the first time then you have embarked on an unparalleled set of adventures that you will never forget. Well met readers of Drizzt, well met indeed.
For a review of the next book in the series The Halflings Gem, click the link below: