We took our time getting to the Blackdove. I stopped on the way at a candlemaker's and got a candle that stood about four feet high and was scented with lavender, along with a silver holder for it. I figured Cawti might like it. I had them send it to the office, because whatever happened later, walking around with a four-foot-tall candle was unlikely to make it go any better.
This is book twelve in a series, and reading further on this page without having read the previous books might spoil some of your fun.
Vlad, recently engaged, is approached by a Tiassa highwayman, and who wants help in stopping the Empire from tracking stolen valuables.
There are indications of another Jenoine invasion attempt, this time close to Adrilankha. A certain small, silver tiassa might be crucial in preventing the invasion, but that tiassa was stolen by a male Easterner, and since it once did belong to Vlad, it seems likely that he stole it back. But Vlad is running from the Jhereg, and is not easy to find. The Orb, however, might well be able to find him, despite his protections.
When a Teckla finds an Easterner in the river, injured, he heads to the Phoenix Guards to tell them what he has found. The man, an Easterner with an Imperial title, count of Szurke, has clearly been fighting, and poses a quite the riddle to Captain Khaavren (yes, that Khaavren), a riddle that does not grow less mystifying when the count suddenly escapes from his sickroom. So Khaavren decides to dig into the matter.
This book was published after Iorich, but storywise, it is split in three. The first part takes place between Yendi and Jhereg, the second one between Dzur and Iorich, and the third one between Iorich and Hawk.
I have mentioned elsewhere that it does not feel like a Vlad Taltos book if there is not one single instance of "Shut up, Loiosh!" in it. I think this might be the exception.
The first of the stories is a regular Vlad Taltos story. Quite enjoyable (though I am starting to suspect that Vlad will be reborn as a Yendi or a Tiassa in his next life), and it introduces certain characters that some readers have met before, in the Khaavren romances. If you have not read them, you should do so, but that can wait until you are done with the Vlad Taltos series.
The second story is not really a story about Vlad at all, but rather about Cawti. And while I miss the banter between Vlad and Loiosh (or Vlad's rather irreverent character), the story is quite intriguing, in more than one way.
The plot is, again, almost worthy of a Yendi. We have not really seen much of Cawti before, though she is mentioned a lot, and it is fun to see her in action.
And then there is the third story. So, it is about Vlad, sort of. But the main character is Khaavren. Though there is a lack of "Shut up, Loiosh!", the story is written in the same style as The Phoenix Guards, and is most amusing. In fact, this part is such a delight to read that I can forgive the lack of sarcastic jheregs.
This too, is very much enjoyable. The writing style is quite different from the usual Vlad Taltos books, and might take a few pages to get used to, but if you have read the Khaavren Romances, it should be no problem at all. Or if you have read The Three Musketeers, or similar books.
This is also, as far as I can tell, the first book in the series that does not have seventeen chapters. It has sixteen, unless you count the prologue, the interlude and the epilogue. And counting just one of those feels a bit like cheating.
Tiassa is a very good book, one that gives us a bit more insight in how the rest of Adrilankha works.
About the author Steven Brust
Book 1: Jhereg
Book 2: Yendi
Book 3: Teckla
Book 4: Taltos
Book 5: Phoenix
Book 6: Athyra
Book 7: Orca
Book 8: Dragon
Book 9: Issola
Book 10: Dzur
Book 11: Jhegaala
Book 12: Iorich
Book 13: Tiassa
Book 14: Hawk
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