The Dream Café

Steven Brust: “A masterful storyteller of contagious glee and self-deprecating badassery” —Skyler White

0 Comments

  1. Not a spoiler. Just a happy Tiassa dance, because I get what I want.

  2. Any update on the release date for Iorich?

  3. Any ARCs floating around available for purchase?

  4. Speaking of spoilers… how about some? 9-)

  5. So is Tiassa going to feature the Wealth of Nations? :=)

  6. Mris: I should very much admire to see your happy dance.

    Mia: January

    Bawrence: Not yet.

    Christian: It will be very sad for anyone who wants to read the books in chronological order.

    Malaheed: I don’t think so, that’s for the next project.

  7. happy dance time!

  8. re: your response to Christian:

    Oh, do tell us it’s the story of how a young Jhereg punk got embroiled in a scheme so complicated that he wound up getting grilled by the head of the Phoenix Guard, and only quick [s]cat[/s]Tiassa-like thinking got him out with his skin intact and head attached?

    Please?

  9. Steve,

    Over the years I have read the series both ways, but I have to say that my military-minded-structured brain tends to enjoy things in a linear time fashion.

    So what you’re saying is that Hadassah will tell another story about our favorite young Jhereg? Lets see… what hints of stories were given throughout the series that havent been written yet?

  10. Let me guess – the WON will be used as a tool for whatever Kelly found that predated the Jenoine. Which is why you feel the need to completely(?) understand rent and money. Sounds like that novel is going to be some heavy reading.

  11. @10:

    I suspected when he mentioned Gene Wolfe that we were in for a sea change.

  12. Spoilers, woo! Been reading your work for more than half my life, and I still can’t get enough! Can’t wait for this one!

    On a somewhat unrelated note, Mr. Brust was mentioned in a collegehumor.com article today…

    We still love you, even if you are crazy! Hahaha.

  13. …This is going to be bits and pieces of Vlad’s life scattered all over the existing chronology, isn’t it? ^.^

  14. Mmm, booooooooooookkkkkkkkkkkkksssssssssssss………….
    Looking very forward to Tiassa, as to all your works, Steve.
    I’m certain tWoN will have some impact on your writing and thoughts.
    I’ve just re-obtained 450lbs of books from storage, including my copy of Agyar. A likely re-read to enjoy soon!

  15. Ahh, but Mr. B. said it was not in chron. order, he did not state it was in the past. Mayhaps this story takes place in the days of Count Vlad’s eld.

  16. Thanks for this excellent piece of news, Steve! It made my weekend! 😀

    (BTW, I recently got a couple of Dragaera mugs as a wedding gift for my best friend. They arrived a bit late to make it to the wedding itself, but oh, she’s going to be SO happy when she sees them!! I got one for myself too.)

    Yrs
    Martin, Sweden

  17. “It will be very sad for anyone who wants to read the books in chronological order.”

    I sense a Dragon-like structure. (Dragon having been set both before *and* after Yendi).

    “what hints of stories were given throughout the series that havent been written yet?”

    Here’s one list. I wrote the original version of this years ago, and have tried to keep it updated, but it may not be quite complete.
    http://www.panix.com/~alexx/future.txt

  18. For the past several months, I have been awaiting news as to Iorich and its pub. date. Now that I have an idea, I am overjoyed.

    Maybe I should join in that dance….

  19. “It will be very sad for anyone who wants to read the books in chronological order.”

    Eek! How sad is said sad? Is it really sad? A little sad? Is it just sad? Sad like seeing a car accident? Sad like listening to “our song” after a breakup? Sad like seeing Darwin in action?

    Don’t tell me! I don’t wanna know! It’s too sad.

    Grrr…. Can’t wait, can’t wait, can’t wait…. And January is too far away, too. Sigh.

  20. Hadassah? I thought it was Three Asses.

  21. @Malaheed

    I have two ideas about how rent might come up in the Vlad books, if it is going to be used in the Vlad novels. Either Vlad or his grandfather trying to run the land Vlad got from his Imperial title. Or possibly having to do with the Empress trying to set up a Henry George-esque land tax (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_Tax), though how she would get that past the noble Houses, I have no idea. Taxes and the like have been a big part of the background for all the Easterner/Teckla drama, so I would not be surprised to see more of it in the future books.

  22. Jeff: I haven’t made up my mind.

    Diss: It isn’t actually for a Vlad novel.

  23. This of course begs the question of what it is for, but I’m sure you’ll let us know when it’s time.

    And enjoy an evil chuckle or two in the meantime.

  24. Are you writing non-fiction?

  25. Only blog posts.

  26. January? Last I heard, it was October. Sigh, More waiting.

  27. Bah, as recently as June 8, SKZB said Iorich would be out in November. Why does it take so long, once it has been revised and all, can’t they at least make it for Christmas? At this rate, Tiassa won’t be out till 2012. I should live so long.

    Will Khaavren be involved? I know he made a cameo appearance in Teckla and was offstage in Orca, but it would be nice to see him again.

  28. Could be Khaavren – but it could just as easily be, and I think is more likely to be – a Tiassa we have not met yet. Though Khaavren, Daro, Piro and presumably Roaana are all still alive in Vlad’s time.

    Then again, the Romances have interleaved with the Vlad novels before (including a rather unflattering view of Aerich, also in _Teckla_, I think), so it could happen.

    But I find I can never anticipate where Steve will take a Vlad novel – which is half of why I read them. 😀

  29. Bigmike,

    If you don’t like constant delays and waiting forever put your hands over your ears and sing if anyone ever say George R.R. Martin, Dance of Dragons or anything similar.

    It’s for your own good.

  30. I lent one of your Vlad books to my 60 year old mother-in-law over the weekend, apparently she’s hooked.

  31. January! Hurah!

    Now, the person I most want to know more about, since we’re doing this whole Spoiler thing, is the Necromancer. She’s been mysterious for too long.

    It would be great if Khaavren made an appearance. I imagine he and Vlad could work some really witty repartee!

    I’ve been haunting your live journal for ages, but this is the first time I’ve ever worked myself around to posting, and I’d like to say
    “Thank you!”
    I’ve enjoyed your books for years, and had some great discussions about them with friends and family.
    Thanks again!
    Leah

  32. Khaavren may well put in an appearance in the next one, Tiassa. I mean, it isn’t impossible.

    Thanks for the kind words.

  33. Yarrrr!!!

    January!

  34. I will be very excited to see how Khaavren acts when he isn’t being “cleaned up” by Paarfi.

    Also, who had a more accurate portrayal of Aerich? The teckla in Teckla, or Paarfi?

  35. I think one of the points of that story is to give is a different perspective. Think about how different Paarfi’s point of view of a character like Micah is from what I imagine Steve’s own would be.

    It is entirely possible for the same person to be an enlightened intelligent noble fighting for honor and the Empire, and an aristocratic jerk that steps on the ‘little people’ that he professes to care about.

    @Steve: I assume you have access to the email addresses entered to post here. I’ve read about your computer and financial difficulties, and always wanted to do something to help. I’m a computer technician in Massachusetts, and I have access to a lot of decent equipment for free. Let me know what you need, and I can keep an eye out for you.

  36. Keeping in mind the revelations of the later books, how ‘old’ is Kiera?

  37. Zaphod: Many thanks! I’ll keep that in mind.

  38. I had a question… when you write Vlad… how do you hear him? I guess what I’m asking is… do Easteners speak an accented english? And if so, from a real world perspective, what sort of accent is it?

    Just kinda curious. I don’t remember reading that anywhere.

  39. Oooo! oooo! *thrusts hand up*

    Can I answer that? Can I?

    Is it? Is it… a Hungarian accent?

  40. Actually, in my head, I hear traces of Brooklyn.

  41. Oh damn! Now I have to “re-visualize” all that Easterner dialogue.

    (not that I ever heard a Hungarian accent and know what it sounds like).

  42. For a point of reference, Zsa Zsa Gabor has a Hungarian accent. Bela Lugosi’s very theatrical, but also a genuine article.

  43. I love the idea of Vlad having a Brooklyn accent.

    “So I’m da sole of coitesy, tact, and polutiss.”

  44. If Vlad sounds like a Brooklynite, how about Noish-Pa?

  45. I would assume Noish-pa has a Hungarian accent. He’s grew up in the old country; Vlad grew up in Brooklyn Adrilanhka.

  46. A bit of a threadjack, but isn’t the Necromancer the artist from The Phoenix Guards that Khaavren and company are sent to arrest? I am almost certain that the picture of the dragon is featured is mentioned hanging on the wall in Castle Black in Yendi, and then the Necromancer is subsequently identified as the artist. Or am I overindulging in recreational pharmaceuticals again?

    David

  47. A question for Steve. Do you already have the order of the books planned (Iorich, Tiassa, …, The Last Contract)? And do you have a general outline (at least in your head) for each story?

    Jason

  48. Jason: No, and no. I have a pretty good idea of what happens in general.

  49. David H: I second your question. Khaavren was sent to arrest Kathana e’Marish’Chala in TPG. But the painting mentioned in it (for which criticism she stabbed the eyes out of Uttrik’s father if i remember right) is indeed the one (it seems) that Vlad attributes to The Necromancer. Perhaps the signature is obscure and Vlad is simply incorrect? He does mention other works (the grand hall ceiling in Castle Black as well as a “cheap psi-print”) by a Katana e’Marchala.

  50. Steve: Thanks for your response. I look forward to them in what order they appear.

    @47 and 49
    I do recall Morollan having the painting and I do recall a reference to the Necromancer painting but I do not recall them being connected. But that is just my memory.

  51. Now that you mention it Jason, you may be right….in one book Vlad mentions a painting by the Necromancer….in another, he and Loiosh are studying the “wounded dragon” painting (presumably the Kathana painting) and Loiosh commens that he likes the artist…by are they the same one? I thought so but not sure now.

    At any rate, if they are, Steve has said before that there are intentional inconsistencies in the timelines (such as Vlad mentioning the Countess of Whitecrest as a Lyorn, when in fact she’s a Tiassa)…because Vlad is indeed NOT an expert at everything and is therefore fallible when it comes to art or politics.

    In fact those differing viewpoints (such as Paresh’s depiction of Aerich of Arylle) and conflicting information (such as Vlad’s limited knowledge or misinterpreted factoids–afterall, he’d never heard of the 2nd Dragon-Jhereg War) that help lend a sense of realism to the character of Vlad (he’s only human) and a sense of range to the world of Dragaera (there are more viewpoints than one). A lesser author would have missed the opportunity to inject that into the storyline…

  52. @ 46 – No The Baroness Kaluma, aka Kathana e’Marish’Chala, is the painter who is a wanted fugitive sought by Khaavren & friends in TPG.

    We actually witness the arrival of the Necromancer, sent as an envoy of the Lords of Judgement to prevent the Jenoine from taking advantage of the opportunity provided by the Interregnum, in one or the other of the Viscount books .

    (I forget which – I’ve only just begun a re-read of the Khaavren romances, and am momentarily at a loss, having lent out my copy of Five Hundred Years After. Time to buy another.)

    The wounded dragon painting was initially commissioned by Rollondar e’Drien, and presented to him at the Dragon Wing of the Imperial Palace in Dragaera City. It seems to have been a prized belonging, having left with Rollondar when he left court, to be later inherited by his son Morrolan.

    I don’t recall anything to suggest that the Necromancer had anything to do with this painting, or any other painting for that matter.

  53. The Necromancer is revealed to be an artist in one of the Vlad books. Vlad takes note of one of her paintings while touring through… either Castle Black or Dzur Mountain. I think this was in/Issola/?

  54. Thankyou Dan’l, i’d forgotten why the painting ended up in Castle Black….if indeed it was the same painting….

    the reference to the Necromancer being an artist appears in Jhereg, when Vlad introduces the audience to Castle black…the description of the painting is brief to the point of vague similarity, but it makes us wonder….

    (And Steve, I hope I’m not breaking ettiquette here by using a direct quote…)

    “Here is one done by the Necromancer (you didn’t know she was an artist, did you?), which shows a wounded dragon, reptilian head and …”

    I don’t know, perhaps I’m reading too much into that, perhaps Vlad is mistaken, perhaps there is more to the Necromancer than we know?? (Was she always an undead demon?)

    Perhaps SKZB would be so good as to verify or correct a notion or two?

    Perhaps the moon is made of cheese…

  55. Steve:
    speaking of cross-referencing Vlad’s storyline with other Dragaera storylines….(no, this is not a “Cawti’s mother” question, nor a Devera question)….

    Will we ever get the pleasure of seeing another non-Vlad Dragaeran story? Say, perhaps, after (or during) Norathar takes the Orb? We can deduce Vlad may be long dead by then since even Vlad Norathar will be in his 60’s (309 PI as I recall?)….but I’ve always wondered what WOULD Norathar do with an Empire….

    Or am I giving away something…?

  56. “Perhaps SKZB would be so good as to verify or correct a notion or two?” Nah. Where’s the fun in that? 🙂

    As for your other question, I can’t say. I have some ideas in the back of my head, but we’ll see.

  57. I’m re-reading the books in anticipation of the next one and I ran across something puzzling in Teckla: How did Vlad teleport into the new HQ with a teleport block on it? Google was no help so I decided to go to the source.

  58. Maybe it was a one-way block (against tp’ing out)?

  59. I wouldn’t think so, otherwise why wouldn’t Herth call in more muscle when the block was detected?

  60. Steve –

    I am a first time poster and big fan of the Vlad series (was introduced to it in 2003). Admittedly, I’ve not picked up your other Dragaera novels, so some of the other poster references are flying over my head.

    I see that you mentioned that those who would like to read the series chronologically will be disappointed. I take this to mean that we aren’t going to see what transpires after the knowledge of his son his revealed to him in either of the next two books? Please tell me I am wrong…

    I just finished Jhegaala and was mildly disappointed that it takes place prior to the events in Athyra and Orca, but I loved the story. The irony of Vlad underestimating other “Easterners” the way Dragaerans understimate him was not lost on me.

    I had counted myself as one of those who was reading it chronologically, that is until I read Jhegaala.

  61. No, that isn’t what it means. It means that the book will mess with chronology, the way Dragon did, but more-so.

    Glad you like the books; thanks for saying so.

  62. Not only do I enjoy them, I buy them and share them with my friends. Although, it was a friend who shared “The Book of Jhereg” with me that introduced me to Vlad.

    I thought Dragon was one of the better stories in the series, so that doesn’t disappoint me at all. (I chuckle as I write that, as who am I to tell you what to do with your story?)

    I will look forward to being able to buy the next one in January.

    I have a confession to make…..Cawti’s actions have really curdled my milk. How did she expect her Husband to act and react?

    PS. I think it’s pretty cool that you engage your fans/readers directly. Thanks for that.

  63. @57, 58,59: I think the block being one way is plausible, since Herth would undoubtably have his best enforcers already with him. Alternatively, he may have made a deal with the sorceress to let him tp in “off screen” and not thought to mention it.

  64. Wow, I feel dumb. Why didn’t I think about the requirements for teleportation?

    The block could easily have been outgoing only, as none of Herth’s enforcers would know the building well enough to teleport into it, and the phoenix guards outside would prevent (probably not actively, but still) any of them from teleporting to an area they knew nearby and then entering the building.

  65. We’ve seen Vlad deliver sufficient information via telepathy for someone unfamiliar with a location to teleport to it, Herth couldn’t do likewise if the block was only for outbound teleports? If he’d known that only one attacker was coming for him he might not have bothered, but he had no idea what was coming sending for more enforcers seems a reasonable precaution under the circumstances.

  66. or Herth was simply arrogant? afterall, these were merely Easterners….small, pathetic, magic-less…and unless he himself is a sorcerer it’s plausible he didn’t know there was a block up, or cared?

  67. Vlad is a sorcerer… which is unusual in the right hand. yeah, a few people know enough to teleport, but I seem to remember in taltos p 12 (omni) vlad and loiosh talking about how witchcraft at least helps with the psychic link stuff…

  68. Gregoro: Kiera was ‘born’ roughly two thousand years before Orca (see p.284).

  69. Keino@62

    The thing about the Vlad books is we see them from Vlad’s point of view… including his POV of his deteriorating relationship with Cawti. I don’t know about you, but a relationship on the rocks certainly colors my perceptions of the other person in the picture, in a negative way. Vlad is an unreliable narrator.

    Also, we discover (in, I believe, Issola or possibly Dzur) that the Demon Goddess has been messing with Vlad’s head. So maybe some of the things we see through Vlad’s eyes of Cawti aren’t accurate at ALL.

    Now, imagine Cawti trying to deal with a Vlad who’s understanding of events seems real to him but, being tampered with by Verra, don’t match up with what Cawti knows, and we have a recipe for failed marriage (if we needed more of one).

    On another topic entirely, is there enough of a timeline established to guestimate how Kiera’s “birth” lines up with the timing of the Lavode Scandal? 😀

  70. For a good Dragaeran timeline check out this link, http://www.panix.com/~alexx/dragtime.html.

    Per that page, Kiera was born ~1,500 BI (Orca page 284). Also, per that same site, the Lavode Scandal is ~750 BI (Phoenix Guards page 30).

  71. On Cawti … to me, her position makes sense.

    Here’s a young woman with a solid (if sordid) career and a good friend, who falls in love, loses her only friend, loses her career, and has nothing to replace them with. Most likely, she has a hatred of Dragaerans as big as Vlad’s. With nothing else to do, it makes sense she would turn to radical politics.

    What *should* have happened would be if Vlad had taken her into his Organization, doing work similar to Kragar, and maybe some Work on the side. Cawti would have been happier, but the books would have been much duller.

    SKB, no slight to you, but a lot of people, myself included, don’t see why Cawti gets involved in radical politics. I finally got it my last read-through of the books.

  72. People change. For “whatever” reason, Cawti changed from a cold blooded killer to a political radical.

    I believe it was done very well. If nothing else, it was unexpected. Also, it also involves Vlad more personally into what happened with Tekla and Phoenix.

  73. Also consider this….during Teckla and Phoenix, Vlad and Cawti were barely on speaking terms….so I doubt things were very warm in the bedroom, so answer me this: just when was Vlad Norathar conceived? Could that have been the reason Cawti wanted to ‘change the world’? Perhaps she knew (but didn’t know how to tell Vlad) and looked around and decided she hated the idea of raising a child either in the Easterner’s Ghetto OR among Dragaerans (especially in the midst of the Organization), and then decided she was in a position to help do something about it….

    But an epiphany like that is something one has to experience….and she did try to get Vlad to examine his life and ‘get on the same page’….she was even gentle about it and Vlad was pretty obtuse about it….

    So, I can’t fault Cawti for the way things turned out, and strict adherence to ideals (even ones born of hate) is what has kept Vlad sane, so I can’t fault him either….and it did serve to get Vlad to examine his place in the world…

  74. Dan’l @ 69

    Oh don’t get me wrong, I totally get that we are getting the stories from Vlad’s POV with the exception of Athyra and partially Orca. The one point I hadn’t considered however, is the fact that Verra was screwing with Vlad’s head prior to the deterioration of his marriage.

    Still, I don’t discount Vlad’s reliability as a narrator because of either of the aforementioned points. The stories are told in the past tense and while we get some idea that Vlad is talking to a silver box of some sort (Perhaps to communicate his story to Vlad Norathar?) at some point after the events he describes in his life. My point is that there is some unstated period of time that passes and that the events we see through Vlad’s eyes are in retrospect with the benefit of the knowledge that his head was screwed with, for it is Vlad himself that gives us this revelation. Consequently, I think everything Vlad tells us should be taken at face value otherwise we are left questioning the veracity of everything else he has told us.

    Further, I think that Vlad comes off as introspective and certainly accountable as it relates to conveying the events leading the demise of his marriage. Ultimately I see the demise as being the result of Cawti’s failure to disclose her activities to her husband and then being hypocritically judgmental. Vlad for his part was stubborn and certainly insensitively dismissive of his wife’s new found passion.

    I am certainly interested in what transpires after the events of Dzur, given that Vlad has saved Cawti’s ass, yet again which adds more strain to their whole deal.

  75. Ran across what looks like jacket copy for Iorich at this link: http://en.risingshadow.net/index.php?option=com_library&Itemid=67&action=book&book_id=13830 (to remain unspoiled, do not click).

    Just wondering if it’s accurate.

  76. Somebody on ebay is going to get rich, I have to get an ARC if they arrive before I head to Afghanistan in November. Getting Amazon to send the HC edition is easy enough, but I’ll be visiting FOBs and kinda hard to track down.

  77. Oooh! That Iorich blurb sounds juicy!

    Having just finished a re-read of 500 Years After (I did not get my copy back, but bought another), I have been considering Aliera, her ambiguous connections to the Organization, and her complete and utter contempt for the law.

    I also realized that I don’t especially like Dragonlords (with the exception of Sethra Lavode, whom I like a great deal) and that I like Adron and Aliera less than most.

  78. Can you confirm the time period of this one? It seems obvious, but…

    And would people not want to be blurb-spoiled?

    Oh, and I noticed the flub on that blurb! It’s Adrilankha!

    Official blurb or just fairly accurate?

    Steve, I’m excited!

  79. It takes place about four years after Dzur.

  80. Four years after Dzur?? Oooh I hope a certain someone has woken up now! The blurb is making me want it NOW.

    But I’m a bit confused on the “Dragaera City” thing. Isn’t that now a big pool of non-stuff?

  81. Yeah, it should be Adrilankha. I suppose I should mention that to someone.

  82. @75, 76. What is it actually on the cover? It doesn’t seem to mesh with what an iorich is (either a winged river-dwelling reptile or the image from Jhegaala). After the stunning Jhegaala cover, it seems a bit plain (though it would take a lot to out-do Jhegaala’s art).

  83. Really looking forward to getting the next Vlad novel. I am very happy it takes place after Dzur. Appreciate the sneak peek @ 75.

  84. I wonder what Hadassah means and how it is pronounced. Very similar “Hadsa” – in Hindi, Punjabi or even Urdu means Accident. I wonder if the similarity is ACCIDENTAL!!!!!

  85. First and foremost, Steve, your books are well-written and highly enjoyable, and I found your imitation of Dumas’ style in the Khaavren Romances to be extremely stylish. But enough of the tedious ass kissing, which I’m sure you get tired of. I was wondering if I might pose a question…having read and re-read the Taltos novels several times, and in varying chronological orders, are the remaining books liable to deal with upcoming events from here on out? Or is it possible that you will once again be delving into past matters, perhaps taking us back even into the days of Kieron?

    No matter if you don’t know yet or don’t feel like answering. You keep writin’ ’em, I’ll keep readin’ ’em! Can’t wait for January. Best wishes.

  86. Chris B: I don’t know. I have some idea, but a lot is still vague.

  87. I hate to bother you, but how goes Hadassah/Three Asses/Eyeglasses/Tiassa?

  88. Slower than I’d like. I’m rewriting a middle section, which I’m hope will get me unstuck.

  89. Thank you for the update and good luck getting unstuck.

  90. It took me like 5 minutes to scroll back to find this topic.

    So… I’ve started re-reading the Taltos books in prep for the new one.

    I had a question… not sure if you’ve answered it before.

    When Vlad and Morrolan are in the Paths of the Dead and get into the scrape with the Dragons and Vlad kills a bunch, Morrolan says something like… “You never learn, do you?”

    Just curious if Morrolan knows of Vlad’s soul and it’s history with him being whatever he was and if so, if it was a comment about that?

    It just struck me as slightly odd. You never learn, I mean, they didn’t really know each other that long at that point. And Morrolan doesn’t strike me as someone that would say something like that and not mean exactly what he said.

    Any plans to hear more about Vlad’s ancient history with Aleria and Sethra and all that? It’s always sorta fascinated me and there’s very little info in the books about it.

    I know that’s because Vlad doesn’t want to know about it… but if you don’t learn your history you’re bound to repeat it. Isn’t that what they always say?

  91. I really enjoyed it when you used to post regular updates about your novels and other upcoming projects on your blog.

    🙂

  92. Just finished what could become an annual tradition: re-reading Dzur and the tantalizing descriptions of dinner at Valabar’s, with attendent philosophical discourse so skillfully interwoven. Just the thing to contend with a mean tryptophan hangover.

    A good writer can tell a compelling tale with lots of adventure and derring-do and enrapt the reader. A very good writer can give such lavish detail about the setting to enchant the reader into smelling, tasting, and feeling the world, as well as seeing and hearing it. A great writer can take the simple elegance of a fine meal and translate it into a metaphor for deeply moving emotional and psychological motivations in such a way as to convey meaning in every bite and swallow.

    One of the things I love most about the way you write is the food. Maybe it’s the Cranberry-Fig Compote talking, but I find myself leafing through your books and lingering on the excellent scenes revolving around the food and wine. I love the wit, the occasional wisdom, and the well-turned, beautifully timed humor, but by gods I look forward to the next meal at least as much as the next fight, if not more-so. I’m sure it’s been mentioned a dozen times already, but a few more novels and you could augment your retirement with a Drageran cook-book (with substitutions for kethna, etc.). Hell, a couple more books set in Valabar’s, and you’d have plenty of material — and I’d buy it in hardback.

    As to the comments about chronology, I think it’s a beautiful set-up. A firmly-established chronology unecessarily binds the hands of the author, and being able to go back and fill in detail about an established character’s backstory that enhances your understanding of them is not only artistically pleasant, it keeps you from writing yourself into a corner. Always room to write about that one time Vlad . . . and cool stuff ensues.

    I feel your pain about Tiassa. I’m 38 chaps into a 41 chapter book, and I’ve hit a wall and have to back up before I can end it. Frustrating. I’m ready to move on. I know how it ends, already, so my curiosity is satisfied, but now I’ve got to write all of those pesky words. And then the rewrite.

    Back to Valabar’s . . .

  93. I can remember telling my friend who introduced me to Vlad a few years ago something like: ” Look what this guy did! He sold me a world where killing isn’t that bad, I bought it, and now he’s making me deal with the fact that maybe killing is that bad.” I was only a few books into the series at the time.

    By now I’ve read and re-read all the books in the series and tonight I found myself discussing, with the same friend, the changes that the events of Jhegaala and Athyra wrought in Vlad’s character. During the discussion I remembered my early impressions that I described above and I wondered this: Was it intentional? Did you convince us to abandon our moral compass so that we could experience with Vlad the difficulties and complexities of being confronted with moral choices?

    Whether this is what you intended or not, it’s good stuff.

  94. Chad: Thanks. I’d love to claim I planned it from the beginning, but the fact is, it wasn’t until TECKLA that I even realized (or maybe admitted to myself) that I was writing a series. So, no, you’re just going through the same process as reader that I went through as writer.

  95. I doubt you remember, and I’m not so naive to think I’ve been the only one to approach you with a pitch for a story, but….

    Over a decade ago I started putting together ideas, an outline, and wrote half a draft for a new Vlad story….I havent touched it in about a decade. Somewhere in there I pitched the vague notion to you and was politely told to write my own stuff.

    Chad talking about the changes in Vlad in Athyra and Jhegaala brought it to mind….

    The first story I read was Phoenix, the year it hit the shelves. I read it and realized there were others…so I found Yendi in the local library. Loved it as much as I did Phoenix. Shortly after I had the money to purchase the first 5 books. Jhereg had always been my favorite, until you wrote Orca….I loved the dual viewpoint and the chance to really get to know Kiera, finally! Then you wrote Issola and I had a new favorite. I think I liked those 2 best because we got to really spend time with characters that were always in the background before…I hope you’ll write a few more of those…anyhow I digress…

    The first 2 or 3 times I read Athyra, I hated it….and I still at that time had not gotten over the way things turned out for Vlad at the end of Phoenix…but Athyra I hated, mainly because I hadnt yet grasped the continuity and development of Vlad as a dynamic individual. In fact, it is because of that turn in Vlad’s life that I began the story I was writing for him — Vlad’s triumphant return do Adrilahnka, still hunted, and no longer an assassin, but something different — and once again in the undesired position of having the means and moral responsibility to save an Empire he hates (from his wife, no less.)

    After I found this forum I re-read Athyra and was like “Ohhhh!” Yes, now I get it.

    And so I second Chad’s position: Whether by intention or accident, I’m thrilled at the journey you’ve led us on with Vlad, still thrilled. I think I’ll be sad whenever we — you the author, and we the avid fans — whenever we do finally reach the end of his journey.

  96. This is off the topic of spoilers but on the topic of Vlad eventually coming to the end of his journey, as we all must:

    Someone told me that you, skzb, have appreciated Robert Parker’s work. I had an interesting experienced when I heard about Mr. Parker’s death. I didn’t know Rober Parker, but I felt like I knew Spenser, Susan, and Hawk, and more recently Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch. It made me sad to think that Spenser and Hawk won’t be going on any more adventures, and especially that Virgil and Hitch didn’t complete their journey back to Appaloosa.

    I hope I’m not being wrong in mourning Robert’s creations more than I was able to mourn the man himself. But it’s a testimony to him that he was able to create characters that I cared about.

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