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Charon's Claw: Neverwinter Saga, Book III Hardcover – August 7, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 423 customer reviews
Book 22 of 26 in the Legend of Drizzt Series

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Amazon Exclusive: A Reflection on Charon’s Claw
Charon’s Claw, the legendary sentient sword which serves as the namesake for the third book in the Neverwinter quartet, made its first appearance in Servant of the Shard (The Sellswords, Book I):

The sword had a slender, razor-edged, gleaming red blade, its length inscribed with designs of cloaked figures and tall scythes, accentuated by a black blood trough running along its center. Entreri opened his hand enough for the wizard to see the skull-bobbed pommel, with a hilt that appeared like whitened vertebrae. Running from it toward the crosspiece, the hilt was carved to resemble a backbone and rib-cage, and the crosspiece itself resembled a pelvic skeleton, with legs spread out wide and bent back toward the head, so that the wielder’s hand fit neatly within the “bony” boundaries. All of the pommel, hilt and crosspiece was white, like bleached bones--perfectly white, except for the eye sockets of the skull pommel, which seemed like black pits at one moment and flared with red fires the next.

“I am pleased with the prize I earned,” Entreri admitted. Rai-guy stared hard at the sword, but his gaze inevitably kept drifting towardthe other, less-obvious treasure: the black, red-stitched gauntlet on Entreri’s hand.

“Such weapons can be more of a curse than a blessing, human,” the wizard remarked. “They are possessed of arrogance, and too often does that foolish pride spill over into the mind of the wielder, to disastrous result.”

Artemis Entreri reflects on the power of the blade, in this never-before-published scene below, followed by R.A. Salvatore’s thoughts on the power that weapons of legend hold over readers--and himself.

“Are you the stronger?” Artemis Entreri whispered as he felt Charon’s Claw’s balance and its strength. Could he control the tremendous will of such a blade? He thought of the many women who had wondered the same of him. They thought they could understand him, even “fix” him. They were gone and he remained.

He recalled a wizard he once knew, young and proud, reaching into the Weave of magic recklessly, convinced that he alone could pull from it powers greater than the arch-mages. Entreri winced as he recalled the charred remains of that silly boy, smoke red and purple wafting from his shrunken corpse.

But better that the boy had never tried? To what end? To live a life of the mundane, another prestidigitator in a world of tricksters? Artemis Entreri was many things, but not mundane. He held up the shining blade and studied the threat of the etched figures and their death scythes.

Entreri smiled. Charon’s Claw was his . . . possibility, his dream and his nightmare. But he soon came to know that to make the nightmare end, he must abandon, too, the dream.

Ah, the weapons of legend. They are not merely items in a tale of adventure, oh no. They are characters, with all the promise of past feats or future glory that one might see in the secret lineage of an unwitting protagonist or in the hopes and dreams fostered by the muscles of a budding warrior or the cunning of a young wizard’s apprentice. It’s that simple. Whether an ancient sword, forged in magic lost to the world and thus holding the promise of deeper strengths and secrets, or the creation of a warhammer wrapped into the storyline of the present heroic tale, to the reader, the weapon will have an identity of its own, a possibility full of dread or glory.

An ancient artifact ties the story to the mysterious past; a new-forged one hints that the present will not be forgotten in centuries to come.

Excalibur, Andúril, Stormbringer, the Mace of Cuthbert, the Wand of Orcus . . .

And Aegis-fang. I cannot forget that one! When I was writing The Crystal Shard all those years ago, I hadn’t intended to include a scene of Bruenor forging the warhammer, but the joy of writing is to let the story take you on its own journey. My road led me to Bruenor’s forge, and I watched, fascinated, as he created the warhammer. I hadn’t even thought of it before I started writing, but when I began, I found that I couldn’t stop. I felt the scene, viscerally. The image of Aegis-fang came clear to me. I could feel the heat of the forge and see the intensity in Bruenor’s eyes. When that happens, a writer knows he’s onto something good. Fortunately, most readers agreed.

These are more than weapons and artifacts. They are stories unto themselves. If you’re writing a fantasy novel or designing a video game or DM’ing a Dungeons & Dragons session, give a player a +2 sword and study her expression. Perhaps a nod, as she adjusts her statistics to account for the numerical upgrade. Perhaps a groan of disappointment, because she already has a +2 sword.

Now give someone else a Glamdring and watch his eyes light up. You have just opened the door of possibility.

--R.A. Salvatore, July 2012

About the Author

R.A. Salvatore is the author of forty novels and more than a dozen The New York Times best sellers, including Neverwinter which debuted at #3 on The New York Times bestseller list. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Neverwinter Saga (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast; First Edition edition (August 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786962232
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786962235
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (423 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #318,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Neverwinter Saga Book 3 - Charon's Claw
I was really excited for the 3rd book. There were a lot of ways the story could go after the previous book so I dove right in. It started out by getting back into what made R.A Salvatore famous: the drow. There was plenty of Underdark intrigue to be had, including Gromph Baenre - probably my favorite mage in the Forgotten Realms books - and I was kind of bummed when the story left the drow and turned back to Neverwinter. I'll be honest; I don't care how the town of Neverwinter organizes its militia and guards. If they can't man up enough to drive out the Netherese then I don't really care. The story chugged along rather predictably with Drizzt and crew going after the Herzgo Alegni to get Charon's Claw back but I never really felt connected to the story. The real high points were checking back in on the drow caravan to Gauntlgrym. I wasn't overly wild about the whole SpellSpinner thing but that is likely because I don't follow Dungeons and Dragons anymore and I'm not up to speed on the latest editions. I also prefer my driders and drow outrageously evil and unpredictable and these felt watered down. Sure they were evil, but not chaotic evil the way Lady Lloth prefers.

My biggest complaint about the book is the sheer number of open plot lines that were started and completely ignored. There were so many unanswered plot lines at the end of this book that I planned to write a review about it last year, simply so I could try and wrap my mind around it. It was so out of character for R.A. Salvatore and so strange for his style that I was ready to write it off as an unfortunate deadline issue or really crappy editing. An old rule in gaming is that "you don't describe the window if you want the group to use the door".
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This third installment of the Neverwinter saga unravels the story of Dhalia and A. Entreri and give resolution with their conflict with Alegni that has been exposed in the last two previous books. The book is a great read, very dynamic, with lots of fighting action and LOTS of interaction and backside plots between and simultaneously in the different fractions and parties involved. To all interested in the new events shaping Faerun THIS BOOK IS A MUST READ, Faerun has become a very dark place: The Shadovar, Thay, The Abolegtic Sovernigty, demons, and dark elves expanding!! Our trio of rougues Dhalia, Drizzt and Entreri re-shape their associations and open up new possibilities, new adventures. This book NEEDS to be read in succession of the other two (too much going on and back plots come to live). R.A Salvatore do lots of character development in this book and add more dark elves that add a lot of chaos. Only reason I don't give 5 stars is because in previous novels has been a lot going on with Jarlaxle and hinting great things to come and we are again kept waiting! Till next book I guess...Enjoy.
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Bringing conclusion to the primary story arc from Neverwinter and opening new doors. Exciting action as typical of Salvatore and Drizzt questioning he role in a new way make for an excellent new Drizzt adventure. Also good to see some Drow house intrigue brought back, and the 4 or 5 threads woven into this story set great hooks in the forthcoming books. If you like Salvatore he continues his strong run of recent Drizzt stories here.
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I felt the book was 2/3 about fight choreography and only 1/3 of it had a story in it. Mind you, I like Salvatore's skill in depicting a fight, but it felt it a bit too much. I found myself scanning through pages and pages of sword/dagger/staff fighting to see what came next in the story.

It felt like the long and complicated fight choreography are there as fluff to add more pages to the books, more books to the series and increase sales. To each is own I guess.
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Some legendary fantasy series become a drudgery from more than half of each volume reconstituting the past events and relationships. Not so with Charon's Claw. Salvatore's Drizzt character is immune to age, by virtue of drow elven heritage. Like a dungeons and dragons character, he is vastly more powerful and facing "higher level" opponents, yet this is not the true magic of Drizzt. The inner life of Drizzt Do'Urden is a fertile depth of writing that brings the reader into the personal motivations of the characters, evil and good. The villains are as likeable or moreso than the heroes. Some of the heroes have a mixed moral stance compared to Drizzt's pure optimism. Salvatore's rhythm and layering of characters and events builds and releases the level of engagement and suspense, humor and tragedy, magical and mundane in a humble yet epic style. Could not put it down, although I tried my best to ration and savor each chapter. Looking forward to a reread, once the vivid impressions of this exciting adventure begin to fade in anticipation of the NEXT ONE!
AWESOME NEW DROW CHARACTERS!!
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I am a huge fan of R.A Salvatore and the Drizzt series. I have read every book and just finished Neverwinter 3 Charon's Claw. I have to admit though that I was disappointed with this book. It dragged on at many parts and the conclusion was less then epic. Probably one of my least favorite of the Drizzt series thus far. Best chapter was probably the Epilogue because of the hints of whats to come. Knowing there will be at least one more book after this one allows me to forgive the not so epic ending but still, just did not feel like a solid Drizzt book. Worth reading? yes, but only because it continues on the story line, but feels like a filler more then anything.
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