Lyorn by Steven Brust: Thrilling Fantasy

Another Opening…Another Cataclysm?

Vlad Taltos is on the run. Again. This time from one of the most powerful forces in his world, the Left Hand, who are intent on ending his very lucrative career. Permanently.

He finds a hidey-hole in a theatre where the players are putting on a show that was banned centuries ago…and is trying to be shut down by the House that once literally killed to keep it from being played.

Vlad will take on a number of roles to save his own skin. And the skins of those he loves.

And along the way, he might find a part that was tailor-made for him.

One that he might not want…but was always his destiny.

In Lyorn, Stephen Brust continues his long tradition of creating intriguing and thrilling fantasy. One of the reasons I’ve always liked the series is the voice of the main character Vlad Taltos as Vlad works his way through mysteries and dilemmas, creating capers and solving problems. If you like shows like Leverage, for example, this is what the character feels like, a conman/thief and except for being set in the modern world, it’s set in a magical fantasy. Vlad Taltos as a character is a delight to read and he is why the story is so thrilling.

One of the elements I particularly appreciated in this book was Vlad’s sojourn in the theater watching the crew put on a musical. In addition, each chapter begins with a musical parody of a popular song. The fun is figuring out which song Brust is parodying and here, his talent as a musician shines. I will admit that one of the reasons I like this aspect is that I’m a student of music myself. But it adds a uniqueness to the story. 

I also love the way Vlad is involved in matters like the Cycle and with the gods, rather despite what he’d prefer. That involvement is at the crux of the story and I loved the way Brust resolved the narrative and showed Vlad’s decision. If you like caper-like books with intriguing characters, mysteries, musical parody and incredible magical realism, this book is for you. Even if you haven’t read the previous books, you can still follow along and enjoy the story. I think this is one of the best of Brust’s works.

Rating: 5 out of 5 songs

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