Dark elf Jarlaxle and human assassin Artemis Entreri are back with more inane banter and ostentatious swordplay in this sequel to Servant of the Shard (2000).
Jarlaxle and Entreri are sent by their dragon masters to investigate a tower believed to be a construct of Zhengyi the Witch-King. In doing so, the duo destroy the tower and the magical tome that gave it birth. The dragons are not pleased, and send the pair to the wastelands of Vassa, where a new construct has been discovered, this one larger and more foreboding than the first. The two join with a diverse group of other adventurers—including the requisite turncoat—to storm the evil castle and destroy the source of its power. And if that sounds bland and bewildering . . . well, it is. The plot is a meandering mess strung together by numerous, lackluster battle sequences—plus clumsy prose and insufferable characters, all making for an adventure to miss.
A formulaic, trite and derivative swords-and-sorcery fantasy that reads like a novelized Dungeons & Dragons adventure.