Friday, June 9, 2017


It took Wizards of the Coast almost 1.5 years but the paperback version of Archmage, the first volume of the Homecoming trilogy by R.A. Salvatore, did come out eventually. I am not sure if the novel was worth the wait, though -- it is pretty much the same old stuff.

Then again, I have been continuing to read the series simply because I have been doing it for so long. I have not expected anything special from the legend of Drizzt for many years now. I feel the true magic of the Forgotten Realms -- at least when it comes to Salvatore -- was left in the times of the 2nd and 3rd edition of Dungeons & Dragons.

In Archmage we again return to Gauntlgrym. The dwarves of the Silver Marches, having won their war against the orcs, decide they want to take back the ancient dwarven city from the drow. An army of few thousand dwarves thus proceed to march to the Sword Coast and start the evidently long process to take back Gauntlgrym.

Bruenor is of course among them and so are Drizzt and Catti-brie. Regis and Wulfgar however leave to go visit the halfling's "mafia family" and are not seen again. Maybe they will show up in the next novel and become some side plot to the story. Or maybe they will get their own spin-off book. Wulfgar and Regis were kind of doing their own thing in the previous trilogy already when they got lost in the Underdark.

Archmage's titular character is Gromph Baenre, the centuries old wizard of Menzoberranzan. His discontent for always being oppressed by Lolth's priesthood no matter how powerful he is has made him vulnerable to exploitation. That plot element comes to a culmination in this novel and I wonder if things will ever return to the old for Gromph.

The appearance of Demogorgon did not have the shock value that was probably intended. While he is the (self-proclaimed) Prince of Demons and all and has cool lore attached to him, the way he looks makes him seem comical to me. I cannot take him seriously. Especially the mandrill heads are silly. I think demon-design should avoid being merely a mix of animal parts. I feel it shows a lack of imagination. I guess that was the way they did things back in '76 when Demogorgon first appeared in a D&D publication.

Another long-lasting thing in the series has been Tiago Baenre's unicorn scimitar, Lullaby. I had to check when the sword was even forged -- in Charon's Claw, evidently. That is whole 6 books back. Salvatore sure has been teasing with the thing for a while.

Tiago and Drizzt get to fight each other in actual melee combat in Archmage. Tiago even breaks (or was that Doum'wielle with Khazid'hea?) Drizzt's Twinkle -- not his Icingdeath like I had predicted. But Drizzt did give the fire ring to Catti-brie so I guess he needs Icingdeath's protection. Drizzt seems to be the better fighter but of course the duel gets interrupted and the waiting for the weapon upgrade continues. Surely it will end in this trilogy, though?

The next volume is titled Maestro. That can be no other than Jarlaxle.

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