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TIASSA by Steven Brust

TIASSA

By Steven Brust

Pub Date: April 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7653-1209-9
Publisher: Tor

Another outing for Vlad Taltos (Jhegaala, 2008, etc.) set in Brust's now-familiar world where humans are a despised minority, the rest being elf-like near-immortals who really talk and act as though they had thousands of years at their disposal.

The mysterious Blue Fox, a self-styled highwayman, approaches former assassin, current brothel-keeper and first-person narrator Vlad—Vlad has a small dragon-like jhereg with whom he shares a telepathic bond—to steal the silver MacGuffin of the title as a means to circumvent the system of money-marking recently instituted by the Empire. Vlad knows it's a scam but plays along, wondering who's really scamming who, and why. Thereafter, the narrative turns omniscient, as the Countess of Whitecrest finds a need to locate the tiassa so as to defend the Empire against an anticipated attack by deadly entities known as the Jenoine. Another scam, possibly, but again, who and why? In the third episode Khaavren, the countess's husband and captain of the Phoenix Guard, comes upon a severely wounded Vlad: he's been set upon by at least nine assailants and again, possibly, the tiassa may be the prime mover. The chief pleasures of reading Brust are the improbably well-mannered, patient, self-possessed, competent, armed-to-the-teeth characters, the edgy, ironic narrative voice and a precisely rendered world that often seems uninhabited except for the folks Brust chooses to introduce us to.

Enjoy the limpid, exquisite writing, even when, as here, nothing much actually happens.