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Servant of the Shard (Paths of Darkness) Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 2001

4.6 out of 5 stars 193 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Sellswords Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Think of it as Drowfellas. Backstabbing and internecine intrigue abound as the ambitious members of a shady organization (in this case, the dark-elf mercenary band Bregan D'aerthe) vie for power, struggle to fend off reprisals, and generally cause all sorts of trouble. Themes of redemption and moral metamorphosis keep the plot moving, accompanied by intermittent bursts of spectacular, cinematic violence.

The Servant of the Shard, the immediate follow-up to The Spine of the World and The Silent Blade, is the long-awaited exposition on the history of Artemis Entreri. But perhaps more importantly, Servant of the Shard brings us the brilliant, bang-up pairing of master assassin Entreri and Bregan D'aerthe godfather Jarlaxle, filling out a deadly triangle with the bloodthirsty artifact Crenshinibon. (The rest--more magic items, tons of cool spells and psionics thanks to Rai-guy and Kimmuriel Oblodra, cameos from The Cleric Quintet, and a blow-out finale with an ancient red dragon--well, that's all just icing on the cake.)

The big question, which hopefully won't have to be asked again after this title: Can Bob Salvatore really pull off another Drizzt Do'Urden book without Drizzt? Without a doubt. Anybody who wasn't won over by the Wulfgar-centric Spine of the World should come away more than satisfied with The Servant of the Shard. Grumbling and hammer-hurling (courtesy of Wulfgar) might not be your thing, but Drizzt does have an equal in Entreri when it comes to perplexed introspection and predictably dazzling swordplay. If nothing else, Salvatore is merely collecting on investments he's made in his previous 17 Forgotten Realms novels--after laying such a strong foundation with solid plots and characterizations, it should come as no surprise that we're instantly sucked into a story that brings a couple of formerly supporting characters to front stage center. --Paul Hughes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

R.A. Salvatore has published numerous Forgotten Realms novels with Wizards of the Coast, Inc., most of which have been New York Times bestsellers. He is also known as the bestselling author of the Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones novelization from Del Ray.
--This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Forgotten Realms: Paths of Darkness
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast (July 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786918780
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786918782
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (193 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,516,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Anonymous VINE VOICE on January 7, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I am not sure why no one else mentions this, but I first read this book in the Paths of Darkness compendium. Yes, maybe it is my own fault for not checking a little closer, but it seems a bit dubious that it would be included with the other series and then labeled as a different one by itself. The story itself is entertaining and it is nice to move away from the Icewind Dale characters to some a little darker and with ulterior motives. Just check to make sure you don't already own this one before purchasing it!
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By A Customer on October 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I got this book weeks ago and was wondering when it would be available so I could share my enthusiasm for this work of art.
Even more so than in The Silent Blade, Artemis Entreri becomes more than a simple archvillain for Drizzt Do'Urden. His character development in The Servant of the Shard continues where it left off in The Silent Blade and a true metamorphosis occurs, one in which more is revealed than changed about Entreri...he becomes more nearly himself, as it were.
We see this most resourceful of humans take on nemeses that no other mortal can hope to challenge, much less persevere against. Entreri becomes much more than Drizzt's foil, a dark mirror...Entreri truly comes into his own in this novel and asserts his status not only as Drizzt's equal in battle, but also as a unique individual who has a life beyond his rivalry (now dead) with Drizzt.
At the same time, we, the readers, can start to fully appreciate the circumstances which created such a cold, ruthless man who can best the long-lived, intrigue-loving drow at their own game. We also see a validation, to a certain degree, of Entreri's way of life--a justification, at the very least, of why this man walks alone. To do this, Salvatore sets Jarlaxle, the wily mercenary leader, opposite Entreri in this novel. "Who is the stronger, then, Jarlaxle the partner or Entreri the loner?" to which Entreri's response is an emphatic, "I am."
Even as Salvatore shows what is wrong with Entreri's lifestyle, he also examines what brought the man, as supremely-talented, intelligent, and iron-willed a human as had ever lived, to such a state, and why the choices he made at the time seemed right. Entreri's tribulations and triumphs evidence both.
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Format: Hardcover
Salvatore has performed a hat trick (bonus points for me for a hockey reference) in what is now known as the Paths of Darkness series of novels which are The Silent Blade, The Spine of the World, Servant of the Shard, and the forthcoming Sea of Swords.
Some fans grumbled about the novel Passage to Dawn, complaining that Salvatore appeared to have lost his magic and that the story itself was redundant and mediocre. Critics! Can't live with 'em, can't deport 'em!
Salvatore has come back to the Forgotten Realms with a vengeance with this latest series of novels and should have put to rest any doubters out there that he has lost his style. Silent Blade and Spine of the World were fantastic and Servant of the Shard might have even surpassed those two in my opinion.
People were skeptical about Spine of the World since it focused on Wulfgar, and Drizzt wasn't making an appearance, but it definately earned its place on my book shelf. I loved it. If we need a break from Drizzt every once in a while, why not take a closer look at the other characters for a change?
Now Salvatore has done it again with Servant of the Shard. Now we get a wonderful adventure that explores the current exploits of Jarlaxle, the flamboyant Drow mercenary band leader, and Artemis Entreri, master assassin. With sword fights, psionics, drow, illithids, powerful sentient weapons and artifacts, conspiracy & intrigue, demons, the Bouldershoulder brothers, and more, it's a very enjoyable novel even without Drizzt.
I definately recommend this volume for Drizzt and Forgotten Realms fans out there and look forward to the 4th volume next year.
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Format: Hardcover
I was very excited about the release of this book. It's is not very often that one gets to read a book where the villains are the main characters of the book. Salvatore worked wonders with these characters. It was exciting to watch as each character tried to out manuever the other with layers upon layers of deception. We really saw the motivations of the assassin Artemis Entreri as well as the mercenary leader, Jarlaxle. I chuckled all throughout the book, which was surprising when reading about a character such as Artemis Entreri. The ending of the book was superb and has truly has made me anxious for the next book involving these two characters. Lets hope that I won't have to wait to long.....
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Don't be scared away by the lack of Drizzt Do'Urden in this finely crafted novel. Although Drizzt is easily Salvatore's best know and "loved" creation, I don't think his more recent novels (mainly the Hunter's Blades Trilogy) really do the renegade drow justice. They fall off and get pretty campy. The interaction between Cattie-Bri and Drizzt, while it was interesting at first, has taken on a sort of mid-day soap opera turn and it tires quickly in my mind.

Artemis Entrerei and Jarlaxle have always been my favorite characters. The depth Salvatore has put into the development of both characters is far more then any of Drizzt's compaions (most notably a certain one-dimentional barbarian...) and even more than Drizzt himself. Artemis's journey to Menzzoberanzan (both in the physical and emotional sense) was very well done I thought. This novel, however, takes place after his return and domination of Calimport with the aid of the Dark Elf band left by the most paradoxical Jarlaxle.

The brilliance in this novel can be summarized by the revalation that by the end, Salvatore has you rooting and cheering on two of the most cold hearted and ruthless killers in Faerun. Their development, both as individual characters and as partners, in this book far surpasses even the silent blade, and the reader is even given a few glimpses into the underlying psyche of both characters.

A very fun and refreshing read for any fan of Salvatore who has gotten a bit bored with the "drama" that had become Drizzt Do'Urden and misses the action from his adventures in the Underdark.

Bottom line: Awsome fantasy novel.
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