Review: The Paths of the Dead, by Stephen Brust.

No spoilers, but…you might want to think twice before proceeding.

The Paths of the Dead is the first volume of the book The Viscount of Adrilankha–i.e., the first third or so of a novel. It is not, in any way, designed to stand on its own. You will be left hanging for…well, I hope not for another four years or so, but there you go. This is the LOTR or The Phantom Menace. The beginning of the book moves slowly, the narrative equivalent of a voice-over narrator summing up What Happened Before Now, and the main section of the book teases more for the future than it pays off in the present–all these interesting characters miss meeting each other by that much. This isn’t the book for a reader new to Brust to start on.

Nevertheless, can you wait until the next two come out before you start this one?

Many little hints are revealed, and especially amusing is the acknowledgements for the book, which include the website Cracks and Shards. According to the website, the acknowledgement gives the wrong address; the one above works just fine.