cover image Hawk


Steven Brust. Tor, $24.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7653-2444-3

Brust's 14th Vlad Taltos fantasy novel (after Tiassa) is another taut, entertaining tale of the human assassin/witch and his life among the 17 clans of the Dragaerans. After a series of assassination attempts spoils Taltos's opportunity to visit his son, he decides he needs to find a way to keep the Jhereg assassins off his back for good. Remembering something that the Hawklord wizard Daymar once mentioned, he concocts a plan involving a new business opportunity that's potentially lucrative enough to buy off his pursuers. New readers could find better starting points, but longtime fans will enjoy a plethora of returning characters, with Vlad's former partner Kragar getting the largest page count (and some nice character development). Brust certainly delivers everything readers have come to expect: mouthwatering descriptions of food; snarky dialogue between Vlad and his familiar, Loiosh; and the occasional pop-culture reference (fans of the TV show Leverage have one to look forward to). But he never lets any of the trappings get in the way of his meticulous plotting and a narrative voice that's both rich and arch. (Oct.)