Steven Brust

Jhereg (from cover of Teckla)

Steven Brust writes books that are a refreshing change from the tired old fantasy template. They are set in a world where humans are "Easterners" and looked down upon by the Dragerians (Elfs). The Dragerians houses are named for seventeen different types of animal. The books center on the character Vlad Taltos, an Easterner who just happens to be quite highly placed in the Jhereg mob. Brust manages to make the character intriguing by doing something unusual - making obscure references to other events that happened in Vlad's life. Some of these events are explained in later books, most notably Taltos, Dragon, and Issola. Brust also has characters with mysterious pasts. Vlad's thoughts are usually outrageously funny and put an interesting perspective on the situation at hand. I recommend these books, especially because they are all really good quality and build towards a whole.

Vlad Taltos Novels

One of the best books I've read in this genre. It chronicles a young Easterner's learning to thrive in Dragerian society, while being paralleled by a later story.
Vlad falls in love. Aww, isn't that sweet? Of course, she tries to kill him.
Vlad is caught in the middle of a peasant uprising. Good, but a bit depressing.
This novel is set before the other ones. We learn what happened to Vlad when he walked the paths of the dead. This one is my favorite.
This is a really good one. Vlad gets into trouble about an assassination he did for a particularly important person. He struggles to maintain his business and protect his life in the face of continued trouble in South Adrilanka.
Vlad tries to retire in peace from the Jhereg mob. For some reason they are not happy with this. They try to kill him. Go figure. This is the only Vlad novel so far not written from Vlad's point of view.
Vlad tries to untangle a financial mess. He also tries to prevent his death. Needless to say the Jhereg are still after him. This book contains one of the great "Ohmygosh!" moments in the Taltos history, which makes it tragic that I read it first and didn't understand it.
Vlad get's trapped where no self-respecting assassin ought to be - in the middle of a war.
Vlad gets tracked down in his wilderness retreat by a mysterious visitor. Before you know it, he's on another world trying to save his friends, his goddess, his world, and his sanity. This is a very enlightening novel about the past events in Drageria's history.

Paarfi's Histories

These books are written in a completely different style than the Vlad Taltos novels. Ostensively, they are written by Paarfi, a dragerian scholar, and translated by Brust. Because they are presented by the dragerian point of view, they are a lot longer, slower, and of course, absolutely hilarous. They deal with the events preceeding the Vlad Taltos novels by several hundred years. I wouldn't recommend reading them until you have read the Vlad novels.

Reading Order

If you haven't read anything, you should start with the Vlad novels before going onto the Paarfi-style books. About the only Vlad novels you shouldn't start with are Athyra, Orca and Issola. I would recommend starting with either Jhereg or Taltos.

For more information see Phoenix Brust Page
Of course, you can always visit The Dream Cafe, Steven Brust's own webpage.

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