Promise of the Witch-King: Homage to Leiber

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews R.A. Salvatore Promise of the Witch King Forgotten Realms Sellswords 2Promise of the Witch-King by R.A. Salvatore

Promise of the Witch-King is the second book in R.A. Salvatore’s Sellswords series, a spin-off/repackaging of his famous Drizz’t series. While the title may sound like a rip-off from Tolkien (and indeed, Dungeons & Dragons does name Lord of the Rings as one of its influences), Salvatore is actually paying homage to Fritz Leiber.

The novel follows the anti-hero adventures of Artemis Entreri, a mellowed-down assassin, and the dark elf Jarlaxle, an ambitious and enigmatic figure. Strangely enough, the series reminds me so much of The Adventures of Fafhrd and The Gray Mouser, and Entreri even has his own versions of Scalpel and Cat’s Claw, albeit a more sinister version. Of course the book seems like a modernized version of the pair as Entreri and Jarlaxle seem as anti-heroish as Leiber’s characters were during their era.

Salvatore takes his characters for a different ride as he tries his hand at a different area of Faerun — way different from his Icewind Dale stories. The novel also has elements of an “all-evil” party, despite their seemingly virtuous ends. As expected, lots of back-stabbing happens, and the friendship of the pair (which isn’t big to begin with) gets tested numerous times.

Much like the sword and sorcery fare of Leiber, Promise of the Witch-King is action-packed and adventurous. If you’re looking for depth, this isn’t the place to look for it. Fans of Salvatore will be glad to know he hasn’t lost his edge, and the adventures of these two anti-heroes is a refreshing breath of fresh air from his Drizz’t series.

FanLit thanks Charles Tan from Bibliophile Stalker for contributing this guest review.

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CHARLES TAN, one of our guest reviewers, is the owner of the blogs Bibliophile Stalker and Comic Quest. He also edits Philippine Speculative Fiction. You can read his fiction in that publication and in The Digest of Philippine Genre Stories. Charles has conducted interviews for The Nebula Awards and The Shirley Jackson Awards, as well as for online magazines such as SF Crowsnest and SFScope. He is a regular contributor to sites like SFF Audio and Comics Village.

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