Rise Of The King (The Companion Codex II, The Legend of Drizzt #26) by R.A. Salvatore (book review).

October 5, 2014 | By | Reply More

Harking back to the ‘Transitions Trilogy’, ‘Rise Of The King’ tests the resolve of all who were involved in the Treaty of Garumn’s Gorge, which established peace between the citizens of the Marches and Kingdom of Many Arrows. Instrumental in the treaty, dwarven King Bruenor Battlehammer questioned his decision until the day he died. Reborn and reunited with the Companions of the Hall, Bruenor is ready to incite war with the orcs and bring an end to a legacy that continues to plague him. He’s not the only one who desires an end to the costly peace. Drow are poking their noses out of the Underdark.

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Going to take a moment here to express my joy in Salvatore’s depictions of drow reaction to the world above. They fear the sky and complain about the light. But even in an unfamiliar environment, they fight with one another and constantly compete, even when no one is watching. Might seem like a small thing, but part of my enjoyment of these novels, of twenty-six consecutive tales in the same legend, is the consistency of character and setting. Each book is a visit with old friends and foes.

So, the drow are plotting, against each other and the rest of the world. Lolth would have it no other way and her influence is clear in the subtle and unsubtle manoeuvring of her chosen. Having recreated the fallen house of Do’Urden, the drow use Drizzt’s family name to stir up the orcs and pit them and their allies against the towns and citadels in the Marches. Joined by goblins, ogres, giants and dragons, the orcs push the dwarves into their underground kingdoms and then turn their attention to Nesme and Sundabar, besieging both cities.

The Companions are rightly heroic, but even they cannot be in two places at once. They end up in Nesme and valiantly take up defence of the town. Across Faerûn, other allies join together, providing assistance from unexpected places. Jarlaxle is assembling ‘Team B’, Drizzt’s companions from the ‘Neverwinter Saga’. He also happens to know a couple of dragons and a grandmaster or two. At this point, I’m not sure Jarlaxle could surprise me with anything. He is versatility personified.

There’s not a lot of Drizzt on the page in ‘Rise Of The King’. What we do see is fitting and spectacular and his prelude to each part of the book is as poignant as ever. The reader will feel Bruenor’s regret, we have been feeling it for books, now. The character who really shines here, though, is Regis. Rumblebelly has grown up. His longing for the life he left behind in ‘The Companions’ is bittersweet. If anyone deserved a fresh start, it was Regis. But he is able to entwine that longing with his desire to serve his true friends, the companions he will likely adventure with well after his bones have crumbled into dust. His loyalty is so quiet, yet so profound, and he proves his mettle over and over again in ‘Rise Of The King’. He makes good decisions and proves he is of equal weight and measure.

His efforts might be in vain, however. The ending of ‘Rise Of The King’ is not a happy one. It’s a time of war and kings and kingdoms will fall. We can only hope that when Jarlaxle finishes pulling things out of his bag of tricks, his allies, Drizzt and the Companions will be enough to bring peace to Faerûn once more.

Kelly Jensen

October 2014

(pub: Wizards Of The Coast. 368 page hardback. Price: $17.68 (US), £15.68 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-78696-515-1)

check out websites: http://company.wizards.com/ and http://www.rasalvatore.com/

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Category: Books, Fantasy, MEDIA

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