Robert Anthony Salvatore was born in Leominster, Massachusetts on January 20, 1959. A graduate of Leominster High School, Salvatore attended Fitchburg State College to study computerscience, however, he changed his major to journelism after recieving a copy of The Lord of the Rings as a Christmas gift. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications from Fitchburg State College in 1981, then returned to study for the degree he really wanted, the Bachelor of Arts in English. His writing career began in earnest in 1982 when the manuscript that would later become Echoes of the Forth Magic was penned, and his first novel published The Crystal Shard, the first of the Icewind Dale Trilogy, was released in 1988 however, it wasn't until 1990 that Salvatore became a writer full time.His books have been translated into numerous foreign languages including German, Italian, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Turkish, Croatian, Bulgarian, Yiddish, Spanish, Russian, Polish, Czech, and French and he consistently appears on The New York Times best sellers list selling in excess of 10 million copies of his multi-volume series including The Dark Elf Trilogy, Paths of Darkness, The Hunter's Blades Trilogy, and The Cleric Quintet. He is noted for his intense and descriptive battle scenes which have been attributed to his history in boxing and his work as a bouncer. R. A. Salvatore enjoys an ever-expanding and extremely loyal following and counts Ian Fleming, Arthur Conan Doyle, Fritz Leiber, and of course, J.R.R. Tolkien amongst his literary influences. Still a resident of Massachusetts, Salvatore lives there with his wife Diane, and their three children, Bryan, Geno, and Caitlin and numerous pets.
The Companions was a disappointing book for me. I was hoping that as a casual reader of the Forgotten Realms books I could step in with this first book of The Sundering series and reignite my passion for this world and the stories contained within. I was also excited for the other Sundering books. and they still may be more effective at meeting my expectations, but The Companions has left me hesitant to try them out. I don't think it matters whether you are a die-hard fan or brand new to the series, you will either love this book or hate it depending on how well you are able to connect with the three main characters.
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.
Neverwinter is, therefore, ultimately disappointing, but nearly managed to pull around a complete coup of this lacklustre sheen in the final stretches of the book. One cannot help thinking that the quality of the books would improve if Salvatore took more than six months to go from concept and outline to finished work.
If this is the first book you’re reading from Salvatore I’d recommend his first book, the Crystal Shard and the following series. In my opinion those are his best.
All in all I really enjoyed this book, and would definitely recommend it to any Star Wars fan. You’ll get sucked in and want to see what is going to come next. And I suggest you let yourself, because there is nothing quite like being sucked into a series that you know runs for at least 19 novels.
Drow ranger Drizzt Do’Urden, first introduced in The Icewind Dale Trilogy, quickly became one of the fantasy genre’s standout characters. But Homeland first reveals the startling tale of how this one lone drow walked out of the shadowy depths of the Underdark, leaving behind a society of evil and a family who want him dead. It is here that the story of this amazing dark elf truly began.
As I became a creature of the empty tunnels, survival became easier and more difficult all at once. I gained in the physical skills and experience necessary to live on. I could defeat almost anything that wandered into my chosen domain. It did not take me long, however, to discover one nemesis that I could neither defeat nor flee. It followed me wherever I went indeed, the farther I ran, the more it closed in around me. My enemy was solitude, the interminable, incessant silence of hushed corridors.
After abandoning the perils of the underdark, Drizzt Do-Urden, the renegade dark elf, battles to survive in the harsh surface world and to gain acceptance from the surface-dwellers.
Ten-Towns is in peril. The mage Akar Kessel has set in motion events leasing to the discovery of the crystal shard, a magical device that might be capable of utterly defeating Ten-Towns. It is left to the dark elf Drizzt, the dwarf Bruenor and the barbarian Wulfgar to stave of the forces of the crystal shard.
"I would have to say that Salvatore's writing in The Crystal Shard is not really up to today's standards but am reliably informed that it improves with each book."
In short, the book is a solid entry in the Drizzt series, but not by far one of the best. With the largest middle chunk of the book spent not knowing who the enemy is, the adventure seems always on the brink of vanishing into a morass of moral angst, threatening to drain the fun from the book. It never quite gets to that point, but it teeters on the edge of it a few times.
Captain Deudermont has sailed to the pirate city of Luskan on a mission--a mission to once and for all defeat the true power behind the corrupt city: a wicked lich and his cabal of evil wizards from the Host Tower of the Arcane. But the Host Tower has some tricks up its sleeve, as do the pirate captains who would like to see both sides fail.
"Unlike The Orc King, which threatened to collapse into a morass of ethical quandaries to spoil the fun, this is pure adventure. While the moral quagmires are there, they don’t play nearly the foundational thematic role they did in the last one. The long time Drizzt fan will breath deep and satisfied to be back in Luskan and fighting alongside old friends. Some may find the story odd, given the prominent absence of all but two of our main company, but so focused is the narrative that I didn’t mind. The story will probably be even more interesting to those who have lived with the Forgotten Realms for a while, since they can watch Salvatore radically reshape their world." AT Ross, Fantasy Book Review
The Ghost King, as incredible as it might sound, was not a good book. Everything felt forced, and most of the characters felt surreally inconsistent. The story picks up some years after the end of The Pirate King, and that pesky Crystal Shard is back once again. This time it has combined with some other evil and potent magics including an Dracolich (an undead dragon) to become something entirely new: the Spellplague. The Spellplague is assaulting all that is magic, eroding and killing the very Weave itself. The gods of the Forgotten Realms pantheon are gone or unable to communicate their parishioners; magic is misfiring, backfiring on its users; graves are bursting open and the undead rising forth to slaughter the living.