Swords of Eveningstar (Forgotten Realms: The Knights of Myth Drannor, Book 1)
by Ed Greenwood
Cover Artist: Matt Stewart
Review by Paul Haggerty
Wizards of the Coast Mass Market ISBN/ITEM#: 9780786942725
Date: 12 June 2007 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Editor's Note: We're rerunning our review of the hardcover edition, that originally run in our Augsut 2006 issue.
What starts out as a joke to teach a spoiled noble girl a necessary lesson in life, turns out to be the catalyst which propels four childhood friends on the beginnings of a lifetime of adventure. When Florin Falconhand comes across his friend, covered in stew after receiving the brunt of Lady Narantha Crownsilver's temper tantrum, he hatches a plot to teach the girl that a little respect for others, and the world around her just might serve her well. However, in the course of their contrived trip cross county, Florin ends up saving the life of the King, and thus is granted a charter to form an adventuring party, something he and his friends have dreamed about, but never thought they'd have enough money in order to buy. Unfortunately the first quest embarked upon, by order of the King himself, is to clean out a far off dungeon; a task that has led to the deaths of uncounted novice adventurers.
Swords of the Eveningstar is the start of a new trilogy, The Knights of Myth Drannor by Ed Greenwood, and set in the Dungeons and Dragons campaign world of the Forgotten Realms. But if you're not familiar with Fantasy Roleplaying Games, don't worry; you won't hear the dice rolling in the background. As the creator of the world, Ed has spent most of his time trying to come up with rules that reflect the concepts he's created, not the other way around. And a fertile imagination it is. You may need a score card to keep track of all the locations, organizations, characters, and the interconnected allegiances.
The four friends, destined to become the aforementioned Knights begin their careers overshadowed by plots and schemes of powers far greater than themselves. In fact, this is one of the problems I had with the book. Greenwood has been developing his world for so long that he has no problem throwing disparate elements together in rather confusing ways. And as with most first novels in a series, much of the plot is constrained by the need to get to know the characters, their personalities, relationships, and motivations. In fact, most of the book seems to revolve around keeping the characters surrounded by a whirlwind of complex events which they need to react to and grow from, but the true nature of which they will probably never understand themselves.
By the end of the book the main characters have committed acts and participated in schemes orchestrated by multiple warring agencies, and yet still have no idea that they were not acting of their own free will. Half the time they're charging from point A to point B, never knowing that the route has been laid out in advance to lead them from the nose by one faction or another. In a way it's a little disheartening, but then perhaps it's necessary to get them positioned for the roles fate has in store for them. After all, they need to become great and they need to become great quickly, if they're to survive the horrors the author has in store for them.