THE HIGHWAYMAN: A Novel of Corona
Bestseller Salvatore (The Lone Drow , etc.) returns to the world of Corona with this serviceable, swift-moving tale of sword and sorcery filled with workmanlike scenes of persecution, last-minute rescues and obligatory romances. Long before the Demon Wars, in "God's year 54," Bransen Garibond, an orphaned cripple living with the very monks who were instrumental in the deaths of his clerical father and foreign-born mother, discovers secrets of his past through a mystical book and the healing stones of "the Church of the Blessed Abelle." Soon he becomes a warrior and travels the roads of Corona with a mystical sword seeking retribution. Despite the predictable, episodic plot and a conventional "feel-good" ending, the author does a good job of depicting Corona geography and the amoral ruling class that lords it over a grim society where children may be kidnapped for their genitals and where death is the result of honesty. Fans of Salvatore's unadorned approach and broad caricatures of archetypal figures should be pleased with this carnival of treachery and medieval feudalism. A new Drizzt Do'Urden story, "The Dowry," is an added bonus. (On sale Mar. 16)
Forecast: A 125,000 printing and $100,000 ad/promo budget should ensure another bestseller for Salvatore. The striking jacket art, which shows the aftermath of a failed attack on a stagecoach, perfectly captures the novel's spirit of adventure.