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    Review of THE THOUSAND ORCS by R. A. Salvatore


    FORGOTTEN REALMS, Wizards of the Coast, October 2002

    Dwarf King Bruenor is on his way back to Mithral Hall for his ceremonial crowning when he gets word of an orc raid. Together with a small group of fellow dwarves, with his drow elf friend Drizzt Do'Urden, and with a pair of humans, Bruenor heads to the battle. He has been reluctant to seize his crown at any rate from fear that his advisors will keep him from adventure, and this may be his last chance. Bruenor doesn't count on an alliance between the orcs and the frost giants of the north. Drow renegades have forged this unlikely alliance in hopes of creating chaos--chaos that they can exploit for their own advantage. And the death of King Bruenor sounds like the most profitable kind of chaos possible.

    Author R. A. Salvatore (see more reviews of novels by R. A. Salvatore) continues his story of Drizzt and his friends as they adventure across a violent world of magic and conflict. Drizzt is in love with a human woman, but wonders whether he dares bring a half-drow into the world, and whether he would be doing a kindness to marry a woman who will be old while he is still a young warrior. Meanwhile, dwarf relations between Mithral Hall and Mirabar have reached a critical point--leading to a near civil war in the mixed human/dwarf town of Mirabar (this conflict is barely integrated into the main plot line--presumably it will become more significant in later volumes in the series).

    Early on in the novel, it appeared that orc King Obould would break out of the traditional orc stupidity mode and actually develop intelligent plans to do serious damage to the orcs and humans that oppose him. Quickly, however, he reverts, failing to take advantage of his giant allies, falling into obvious traps, and generally behaving like the traditional stupid orc. While he can't be faulted for this, it was a bit of a disappointment to me, at least. It is difficult to see any number of orcs as a real threat to an organized force of dwarves, especially one backed by the formidable blades of Drizzt. The enemy drow never really unveil themselves and never lend much intelligence to their allies' plans.

    Like many Wizards of the Coast novels, THE THOUSAND ORCS has something of the feel of a role-playing adventure--a small party of adventurers is thrust into an escalating adventure where more and more enemies are gradually introduced. Although Drizzt is a fan favorite, there isn't a lot of character development in this novel, at least. Salvatore's fine writing makes this one worth reading--but if you happen to miss it, you'll be able to pick up the characters without any problem.


    Reviewed 12/04/02

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