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    SERVANT OF THE SHARD by R. A. Salvatore


    Wizards of the Coast, October 2000

    Artemis Entreri is the best human assassin who has ever lived. Still at the top of his game, he fears no man. Unfortunately for him, dark elves, and especially dark elf magicians, are another matter. Without the protection of dark elf mercenary leader Jaraxle, Entreri is in serious trouble--and lately Jaraxle has been acting odd and taking chances. Entreri is concerned and decides to seize the opportunity to lead change rather than be swept up in it.

    Jaraxle has captured one of the great powers of the world--The Shard, a sentient artifact whose objective is the creation of power. With it, Jaraxle schemes to become one of the great. But the Shard is no man's tool. While Jaraxle convinces himself that he is the Shard's partner, Entreri sees a risk that the Shard has subverted Jaraxle. If he is to move, however, Entreri will have to battle not only his enemies, but his only friend.

    SERVANT OF THE SHARD is classic sword and sorcery fantasy. R. A. Salvatore (see more reviews of novels by this author) convincingly recreates the world of the Forgotten Realms based on the Wizards of the Coast fantasy gaming world, with its classic battles between elf, dark elf, human, dwarf, halfling, and dragon. Entreri makes an intriguing protagonist. Although an assassin is not inherently an admirable hero, Entreri rightly points out that he has never killed anyone who didn't deserve it. Entreri's relationship with the halfling woman Dwahvel helps humanize him further. Most of the other characters remain one-dimensional. Salvatore missed an opportunity to create greater character depth in Jaraxle. Still, he has created a rip-roaring adventure.

    Three Stars

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