Monday, April 30, 2012

Yendi by Steven Brust

Second in the Vlad Taltos series, Yendi is quite a good mystery, wrapped in a theme a bit like the TV show, How I Met Your Mother. This novel takes place a couple of years before Jhereg - bouncing around in time in this series is something you'll just have to get used to from Brust, unless you buy all of his books and read them in chronological order according to Vlad's life.

Vlad has recently taken over an area for the Jhereg, as a low-level boss, and things heat up rapidly when a rival boss, Laris, decides to encroach on his territory. Vlad forcefully puts a stop to the new, unauthorized enterprise in his area, then meets with Laris to be certain it won't happen again. The meet goes well, on the surface, but Vlad's intuition - and his familiar, Loiosh, know it won't be long before a war begins.

Laris begins systematically attacking Vlad's sources of income, in his illicit businesses, and killing off his enforcers whenever his assassins can catch them alone. Without the quiet help of Vlad's friends, Morrolan, Kiera the Thief, Aliera and Sethra Lavode, he'd be sunk, but a couple of quick loans allow him to stay afloat and pay his people until he is able to counterattack.

When both the Jhereg Council and the Dragaeran Empress take note of the carnage, the Phoenix Guards are called in to keep the peace, and both bosses have to lay low for a while. When the Guards are finally pulled away from the area after peace breaks out, Laris' nearly precognative next attack on Vlad leads him to believe that there may be more here than merely a plot to take over his territory.

We get to find out how Vlad met his wife, Cawti. She and her partner, Norathar, are known as the Sword and Dagger of the Jhereg, and they have taken Laris' money to assassinate Vlad. They succeed, and only Aliera and Sethra's revivification skills keep the story from being extremely short. Who can resist falling in love with the woman who tries to kill them?

Eventually, of course, Vlad and his friends solve the mystery, and live happily ever after...almost.


Andrea Johnson said...

This is one of my favorite ongoing fantasy series. Even better, if you don't read the books in order, it's usually OK.

I love Cawti, and those scenes with her and Vlad always have me nearly to tears. Damn it, fantasy books about professional assassins aren't supposed to be romantic!!

Jon said...

I'm currently re-reading Teckla, wherein Cawti and Vlad first begin to have some marital issues...I find it difficult to read. Can't stand it when "old friends" go through a breakup.