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The Book of Jhereg Paperback – August 1, 1999

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Quick with both sword and wit, Vlad Taltos makes his way through the world of Dragaera as an assassin, aided by a small talent for magic and a lizard-like jhereg companion. Collecting the first three novels in Brust's Vlad Taltos series (e.g., Jhereg), this volume serves as a good introduction to the adventures of the author's archly sophisticated, wryly humorous hero. Recommended for libraries that do not already own the individual titles included.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Steven Brust is the author of numerous fantasy novels, including Jhereg, Yendi, Teckla, and Orca. He lives in Minneapolis.

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Product Details

  • Series: Jhereg (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Ace; Ace Trade ed edition (August 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441006159
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441006151
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and raised in a family of Hungarian labor organizers, Steven Brust worked as a musician and a computer programmer before coming to prominence as a writer in 1983 with Jhereg, the first of his novels about Vlad Taltos, a human professional assassin in a world dominated by long-lived, magically-empowered human-like "Dragaerans." Over the next several years, several more "Taltos" novels followed, interspersed with other work, including To Reign in Hell, a fantasy re-working of Milton's war in Heaven; The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars, a contemporary fantasy based on Hungarian folktales; and a science fiction novel, Cowboy Feng's Space Bar and Grille. The most recent "Taltos" novels are Dragon and Issola. In 1991, with The Phoenix Guards, Brust began another series, set a thousand years earlier than the Taltos books; its sequels are Five Hundred Years After and the three volumes of "The Viscount of Adrilankha": The Paths of the Dead, The Lord of Castle Black, and Sethra Lavode.While writing, Brust has continued to work as a musician, playing drums for the legendary band Cats Laughing and recording an album of his own work, A Rose for Iconoclastes. He lives in Las Vegas, Nevada where he pursues an ongoing interest in stochastics.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Wizard's Apprentice on July 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
It's like a comic book, without the pictures, and you've just been dropped into the middle of it. Or maybe a video game, and you'd better be able to reach your shurikens or poisoned dagger while your faithful reptile companion holds the other assasins off. But if you're killed, don't worry: you've got insurance that will bring you back. Vlad is a human in a city dominated by eight-foot Dragaerans, who never have to shave and live to be a thousand. It's their turf, and their rules, and they routinely conquer and abuse "Easterners" like Vlad. He's not the type to take this, so he becomes a "Jhereg" assassin, working up the ranks of a criminal syndicate until he comes to boss dozens of Dragaerans around, befriending some and terrorizing others. He adopts a new-hatched mini-dragon or jhereg, finding that the cat-sized beast has a humanlike intelligence and a nasty sense of humor, and wins a grudging respect from the dominant species. All his friends are 900 years old, or undead vampires, or legendary thieves; but don't hold it against them. Vlad solves mysteries and evades death, and cooks fiery fungus-laced omelets, in a bizarre semi-alien milieu. He finds love. He sharpens knives. He gloomily bandages his jhereg bites. He'd be right at home in a Zelazny novel, which is reason enough to buy this or any other Brust book.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Erin K. Darling on November 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
From the very first passage, I was completely enchanted; it quickly & skillfully drew me in, heart and soul. Brust writes with wit, humor and charm, colorfully describing characters, scenes, thoughts, simply everything about the world he's created. It's obvious that a great deal of thought went into this creation; he passes along casual details that hint of greater stories to come, including histories, myths, and rumors.
The central figure is Vlad Taltos, one of the top assassins in the land. The other important figures are his assistants, his wife, a few antagonists, assorted friends and colleagues, but most importantly, his familiar, Loiosh. In addition to being a highly-skilled assassin, Vlad is also a very powerful witch. Loiosh is perhaps his strongest ally, being able to communicate with Vlad telepathically. Several characters are able to communicate this way, and it's a handy method to advance the story more quickly, without intrusive time delays and journeys back and forth.
Part of what makes this story so easy to read is Brust's use of common language - he doesn't try to take us back into Olde Tyme, using overly-flowery, excessively eloquent language; he makes use of language as many of us do today, with only a few quirks thrown in to keep things interesting.
It takes a lot to charm me this thoroughly, and I can't think of the words to describe how happy I am with this book, and everything about it - the characters, the dialogue, the quick pace, the story line, the plot twists, the detail, the simple elegance, the vivacity of it all. It is, in other words, amazing. I'll bet you won't be disappointed.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By James D. DeWitt VINE VOICE on June 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
Let me start by saying I like Steven Brust very much, and that I think the Vlad Taltos series is outstanding. The three stories in this volume are among the best of the early books, and show Brust's writing at its best. But any thoughtful reader needs to consider the subject.
Here we have a hero in Vladimir Taltos who makes his living assassinating people, selling illicit - well, untaxed - drugs, running whorehouses and operating a numbers racket. He's not a nice guy. It's true that he had a rough childhood, lives as a member of minority in a culture that's even less nice, and tried work as a restaurateur first, but even so...
How can we like this guy? How can we recommend books about this guy to anybody?
The Dragarean culture is deeply dysfunctional. It is based on sorcery in fundamental ways, and upon the failure of sorcery a few hundred years before Taltos was born, the society essentially collapsed into chaos (sorry). Crime, including assassination, is an accepted line of work. The empress herself recognizes its necessity.
Nor are all assassinations necessarily fatal, although a lamentable number of those that Taltos commits seem to be. Sorcery is very powerful, and revivification is often possible.
And so many of the targets richly deserve it.
And there is an afterlife. At least for Dragearans.
And sometimes Taltos feels bad about it afterwards. After the torture and murder of one sorceress, who was guilty of nothing more than what Taltos does for a living, he tells us that years later it still bothers him.
Brust is a good enough writer that he makes you like Vlad Taltos, and care about him, despite his vocation.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By E. Heidel on November 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
Steven Brust, with the world of Draegera, has created a fantasy tapestry of rich adventure. One of the best sci-fi/fantasy authors I have come across in quite some time, his characters and plots are tight and well written. The Jhereg, Yendi, Teckla trilogy was a set of stories that paradoxically left me satisfied with the read, yet hungering for more. Vlad, the main character, is quite believeable. Unlike many other authors, Brust allows his characters to grow and change throughout the series. He makes the characters live. Subplots, twists, and surprises abound. I have read all of the Jhereg series, each one is complete in itself. Vlad takes on whatever challenges are before him, and always seems to scrape by, often with a little help from his friends. He goes through many trials and tribulations, pain and auguish, but finds and (sorta) loses love, wins friends and influences people. I could easily write a book about the books, but will refrain. This work, and all of Brust's work, I heartily recommend.
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