My brothers and I (all in our 40s) are reliving our geeky childhood by starting to play Dungeons & Dragons again — now with our offspring!
We’re really enjoying the 5th edition of D&D. It has a “back to basics” feel to it, more focused on the broader strokes of gameplay than the minutiae of movement, skirmishes, and what-not.
So, in order to catch up on what I’ve been missing for the almost 30 years that have elapsed since I last attempted a d20 saving throw, I started reading about the various “worlds” in the D&D “multiverse.” Little did I know it, but I started with a great one. I began Homeland, the first “Legend of Drizzt” novel, with a bit of skepticism, scoffing a bit to myself, “A Dungeons & Dragons novel? Really? I’ll give it a try, but if I feel like I’m reading a transcript of a D&D game session, I’ll put it aside.”
I was not just pleasantly surprised — I was really impressed. Salvatore is a good writer: smooth prose style, engaging characters, interesting plot, snappy pacing. This book is also a marvelous feat of world-building.* I was entranced. The culture of the drow elves is truly terrifying and oppressive, and from this dark world a believable hero arises.
Salvatore’s only misstep, in my opinion, is the name of the main character, or rather, the fact that it’s quite unclear how to pronounce his name. If there’s an audio version available, I’d like to hear it; it could be quite a challenge even to a professional voice performer!
This is a good “origin story” for the dark elf Drizzt Do’Urden. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
*Note: I’m not sure how much of the world is original to Salvatore and how much derives from Ed Greenwood’s “Forgotten Realms” D&D campaign setting, so my praise for the world-building perhaps is as much for Greenwood as for Salvatore. As I said, I’ve only just now picked up D&D after 3 decades away from it, so I’m way behind in the development of the various worlds within the multiverse.
Book I in the Dark Elf trilogy: Homeland
Book II in the Dark Elf trilogy: Exile
Book II in the Dark Elf trilogy: Sojourn