Gauntlgrym by RA Salvatore
The creators of the Dungeons and Dragons universe have mandated change, and so has R. A. Salvatore. In Gauntlgrym both missions are accomplished with flair and drama. Over two decades have passed since the close of The Ghost King and the remaining Companions of the Hall have grown old with the weight of age. Even Bruenor's mighty beard has turned more gray than red and he wearies of ruling Mithril Hall. His aging eyes more and more burn to quest for the lost, legendary Dwarven homeland of Gauntlgrym. Drizzt, meanwhile, has lost the anchor to his peace on the surface, finding himself relishing the thrill of the hunt and the slaughter more than he should, more than he has in the past. He has become reckless in his loss of purpose. When old Bruenor and Drizzt finally set out on a quest to find Gauntlgrym, the always-faithful Pwent at their sides, it will set into motion a chain reaction that will reshape the face of Neverwinter forever.
Gauntlgrym almost entirely makes up for the sheer disaster that was Salvatore's last entry in the Drizzt saga, The Ghost King. It is everything that the Ghost King should have been, but was not. It is emotional, respectful of its characters, intelligently written and structured, and finally summons a sense of nostalgic sorrow throughout, a sense of the inevitability of change and death. It is truly the ending of an era, spanning nearly a hundred years from its opening pages to the very end. Several more of our faithful, long-time companions are killed in the book, yet they go to death in a manner worthy of their history, and of the many, many books that have come before. As a long-time reader of this series, I can say that their deaths are tastefully done, and could not have been better suited to them.
Yet against the sadness, hope is constantly flowing beneath it all, the knowledge that life will go on, that Drizzt will go on into a new world. It is as much the opening of a new era for Drizzt as it is a close, and to this end Salvatore develops some secondary characters that seem as though they will become more central. Jarlaxle returns, though he is more in character this time than in the previous book, and proves to be the testimony that Drizzt will need to find himself once again. Athrogate, Jarlaxle's strange and rhyming dwarf companion is given more space to develop into a fully-fleshed character, and reveals a side we have not seen before, which endeared him to me more so than in in the last few books. Salvatore also gives us some captivating new characters which have a depth and richness sure to make them long-standing new companions in Drizzt's new world. Salvatore in particular spent his time crafting Dahlia Sin'Felle, a young elf with a horrifying past who now serves Thay - for the moment. She is more a mercenary than religious devotee, though her haunting history provides her with a strong dose of humanity that will eventually challenge her and her entire way of life. She bears a magical staff that can break into many different melee weapons instantaneously on command, and she bears seven diamond studs in her left ear, one for every lover she has killed, and two in her right ear for the lovers she has yet to kill.
Sylora Salm, one of Dahlia's former lovers, and the Thay lich she serves, is another satisfying addition to the series, making for an excellent villain. Barrabas the assassin, and the Shadovar barbarian tiefling Herzgo Alegni he is forced to serve, are also both satisfying villains. None of them have received much development, and will no doubt be expanded in the coming books of this new trilogy. The Thay and the Shadovar, both religious fanatics, have begun a great war up and down the Sword Coast in the aftermath of the Spellplague. This adds an interesting element to the story, as the plot, and the hinge that forces the discovery of Gauntlgrym, revolves primarily around this war. Nevertheless, Salvatore provides us with nothing of either of their beliefs; we have no reasons for their war, only that they consider one another heretics or cultists. Perhaps this is knowledge simply assumed for those who play in the Forgotten Realms universe, but it is somewhat confusing for those of us that do not.
This Gauntlgrym book review was written by AT Ross
All reviews for: Neverwinter Saga
Neverwinter Saga: Book 1
Drizzt joins Bruenor on his quest for the fabled dwarven kingdom of Gauntlgrym: ruins said to be rich with ancient treasure and arcane lore. But before they even get close,...
Neverwinter Saga: Book 2
With the last of his trusted companions having fallen, Drizzt is alone--and free--for the first time in almost a hundred years. Guilt mingles with relief, leaving Drizzt un...
Have you read Gauntlgrym?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Gauntlgrym reader reviews
Josh from USA
Good and bad as with any book. I'm anxious to see what becomes of the relationship between Drizzt and Dahlia. The deaths at the end actually had me fighting back tears, as a long time fan and reader I found it kinda hard to cope with losing someone I had so much emotion invested into. Much like the deaths at the end of the Ghost King. The deaths were executed very tastefully, but still... as a long time fan it's really hard to deal with losing so many characters that had become so important to me. I almost don't want to continue reading in fear that they will be replaced by some new characters, seems almost silly to have so much invested emotionally into it but there you have it, still if you have followed along up till now you owe it to the gang to read this book.
I've read both this book and Neverwinter, and loved them! I can't say that I've warmed to Dahlia at all, but I appreciate her complexity and contrasts to Drizzt. For Gauntlegrym, my favorite interactions were with Bruenor, especially after he and Arthogate teamed up to save the ancient dwarven homeland. I was intrigued and somewhat disheartened to see Drizzt so lost, but was strangely cheered by Jarlaxle's attitude about it. Both books have me hooked and waiting for the next book in the series, where I think Dahlia is going to experience her past come back to life. It should be mind blowing!
9.2/10 from 3 reviews
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
The Lord of the Rings
Sauron, the Dark Lord, has gathered to him all the Rings of Power - the means by which he intends to rule Middle-earth. All he lacks in his plans for dominion is the One Ri...
Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
Lifelong friends, they went their separate ways. Now they are together again, though each holds secrets from the others in his heart. They speak of a world shadowed with ru...
Wheel of Time
Life in Emond's Field has been pretty boring for Rand Al'Thor and his friends until a strange young woman arrives in their village. Moraine is an Aes Sedai, a magic...
Blood Of Elves
For more than a hundred years humans, dwarves, gnomes and elves lived together in relative peace. But times have changes, and now the races once again fight each other - an...
Deep Into The Heart of a Rose
On a crisp autumn morning, in his cottage in the idyllic land of the Vale, Mr. Edward T. Cozzlebottom composed the following letter for his secret love, the graceful and lo...
Crown of Stars
The Kingdom of Wendar is in turmoil. King Henry still holds the crown, but his reign has long been contested by his sister Sabella, and there are many eager to flock to her...
The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun
Set 'In Britain's land beyond the seas' during the Age of Chivalry, The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun tells of a childless Breton Lord and Lady (the 'Aotrou'...
Monster Blood Tattoo
Rossamund has always dreamed of a career in the Navy, fighting tentacled monsters and rescuing damsels from hook-handed pirates. But fate has chosen him for a different pat...
Dawn of Wonder
When a high-ranking officer gallops into the quiet Mistyvales, he brings a warning that shakes the countryfolk to their roots. But for Aedan, a scruffy young adventurer wit...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: