Far above the merciless Underdark, Drizzt Do'Urden fights to survive the elements of Toril's harsh surface. The drow begins a sojourn through a world entirely unlike his own--even as he evades the dark elves of his past.
Third volume of back-story for Drizzt Do’Urden, drow fighter extraordinaire. This is the volume that connects to the Icewind Dale novels which Salvatore wrote before the Dark Elf Trilogy.
Our hero makes the shift from living as an exile in the Underdark to an existence in the unfamiliar world above ground. While he wasn’t accepted in his birth society because of his sense of morality, he is now judged according to his racial background by those who he meets along the way. Can he find people who will acknowledge that he is not an evil drow? Will he finally find someone to call friend and assuage his life-long loneliness?
Once again, the plot is driven by fight sequences, something which Salvatore seems to prefer writing. There’s a lot of dark brooding, but not much real self-reflection by the characters. Perfect for the brooding teen, not so great for the non-brooding older woman. Still, the books are fun to read and short enough to be ideal for a quiet evening at the end of a work-week.
Book 276 of my Science Fiction & Fantasy reading project.
Beautiful, brilliant, and dangerous, Morn Hyland is an ex-police officer for the United Mining Companies--and the target of two ruthless, powerful men. One is the charismatic ore-pirate Nick Succorso, who sees Morn as booty wrested from his vicious rival, Angus Thermopyle. thermopyle once made the mistake of underestimating Morn and now he's about to pay the ultimate price. Both men think they can possess her, but Morn is no one's trophy--and no one's pawn.
Meanwhile, withing the borders of Forbidden Space, wait the Amnioin, an alien race capable of horrific atrocities. The Amnion want something unspeakable from humanity--and they will go to unthinkable lengths to get it.
Although this is the first series by Donaldson that I can stand to read, I still can’t say that I love it. I’m not sure that I even like it. There really isn’t one character that I can actually identify with—there are one or two that I’m interested in and want to know what happens to them, but I can’t say that I like them. Mind you, that’s not necessary for a novel but it does make it easier reading.
The aliens in this universe seem to take a cue from Octavia Butler’s Oankali in her Xenogenesis series. Donaldson’s Amnioin also seem to be rather echinoderm-like and are interested in acquiring humans for genetic purposes. Selling someone to the Amnioin is seen as the ultimate evil in human trafficking. But when there’s money to be made, you know that some human is going to try to make deals with them—and it’s rather like trying to make deals with the Fae. You need to watch your wording and make sure you know all of the ramifications before you sign on the dotted line.
If you’ve got any issues with rape scenes, you won’t have made it past the first book. That said, don’t expect that to stop in this book. Morn actually has to go to sick-bay at one point, to get repaired after particularly rough treatment by Nick Succorso. Donaldson doesn’t go into graphic detail, thankfully, but there are more than enough hints to be horrifying.
The cynicism evident in the book is a bit depressing too—everyone seems to be on the take somehow, even the police force that Morn used to belong to. She followed her parents into that occupation and had taken pride in their upstanding reputation—this is yet another thing that gets taken away from her, along with her personal agency.
Book 275 in my Science Fiction and Fantasy reading project.
The house next door, The Larches, has recently been taken by a stranger. To Caroline’s extreme annoyance, she has not been able to find out anything about him, except that he is a foreigner. The Intelligence Corps has proved a broken reed. Presumably the man has milk and vegetables and joints of meat and occasional whitings just like everybody else, but none of the people who make it their business to supply these things seem to have acquired any information. His name, apparently, is Mr Porrott— a name which conveys an odd feeling of unreality. The one thing we do know about him is that he is interested in the growing of vegetable marrows.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is an absolute classic, even among the other books of the Poirot series.
For one, this is the book that catapulted Christie from an average mystery writer to a being recognised as a driving force in the genre. It's her sixth book, and it is the first with a twist that is utterly memorable.
This is also the book where we meet Poirot in his attempted retirement. Attempted, because there is this pesky unexplained death that happens in the village of King's Abbot, which draws Poirot away from his garden. And quite rightly so!
Poirot is no gardener!
This is made very obvious right from the start where we get to watch something that is rare in the series - Poirot's being defeated and humiliated, by nothing more than the infamous vegetable marrow:
"I saw the chance to escape into the garden. I am rather fond of gardening. I was busily exterminating dandelion roots when a shout of warning sounded from close by and a heavy body whizzed by my ears and fell at my feet with a repellent squelch. It was a vegetable marrow!
I looked up angrily. Over the wall, to my left, there appeared a face. An egg-shaped head, partially covered with suspiciously black hair, two immense moustaches, and a pair of watchful eyes. It was our mysterious neighbour, Mr Porrott. He broke at once into fluent apologies.
“I demand of you a thousand pardons, monsieur. I am without defence. For some months now I cultivate the marrows. This morning suddenly I enrage myself with these marrows. I send them to promenade themselves— alas! not only mentally but physically. I seize the biggest. I hurl him over the wall. Monsieur, I am ashamed. I prostrate myself.”
Seriously, this is one of my favourite scenes in the whole series, and it is why I have re-read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd several times. Once you know the twist, it is hard to forget and makes a re-read somewhat pointless.
However, the scene in the vegetable patch is one that is funny every time.