by Steven Brust
Edited by Teresa Neilsen Hayden
Cover Artist: Stephen Hickman
Review by Andrea Johnson
Tor Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765301475
Date: 08 July 2008 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Article /
Similar to Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, you certainly don't need to read the books in the order in which they were written, but it helps to start somewhere near the beginning so the reader has some background with the characters. For readers new to Brust's Vlad Taltos novels, although I highly suggest reading Jhegaala, I wouldn't suggest reading it first. A reader who is familiar with the Vlad Taltos novels will notice this one is titled after yet another family in the Empire, and will look for Brust's clues on how Vlad's experiences here might mirror that of a Jhegaala (the Family and the animal). From official release/information:
Book Description: Fresh from the collapse of his marriage, and with the criminal Jhereg organization out to eliminate him, Vlad decides to hide out among his relatives in faraway Fenario. All he knows about them is that their family name is Merss and that they live in a papermaking industrial town called Burz.
At first Burz isn't such a bad place, though the paper mill reeks to high heaven. But the longer he stays there, the stranger it becomes. No one will tell him where to find his relatives. Even stranger, when he mentions the name Merss, people think he's threatening them. The witches' coven that every Fenarian town and city should have is nowhere in evidence. And the Guild, which should be protecting the city's craftsmen and traders, is an oppressive, all-powerful organization, into which no tradesman would ever be admitted.
Then a terrible thing happens. In its wake, far from Draegara, without his usual organization working for him, Vlad is going to have to do his sleuthing amidst an alien people: his own.
(Source: Tor Books)