Steven Brust: The Jhereg Series
- A very dear friend fought tooth-and-nail to get me to read the Jhereg Series by Steven Brust, but once I finally acquiesced I was hooked! I started reading right before Dragon was published and I have eagerly awaited each novel ever since.
- Every time a new book comes out - I plan ahead. I read all of the previous books again so the intricate plots are fresh in my mind, then settle back to read the latest one. Ahhhhh!
In Brust's world of Dragaera, there are two major species: Easterners and Dragaerans. Dragaerans are an elf-like species who live thousands of years. Easterns are a more real-world human population with a life-span of approximately 100 years and have more human-like characteristics... like facial hair. Both species call themselves "humans"; however, Dragaerans consider Easterners something less than human.
There are 17 Houses in the Dragaeran Empire (essentially individual 'races') each named after a species of animal in Dragaera. Each House has it's own uniform/color-scheme and its own distinct personality. The House of the Jhereg is the only one that admits Easterners. It is the House of criminal enterprises, much like the mafia.
In Dragaera there exists witchcraft (primarily utilized by Easterners), sorcery (which relies on the presence of the Orb), and then the illegal and volatile Elder Sorcery. The main character in this series, Vlad Taltos, plays with them all.
"Klava is a popular Dragaeran form of caffeine intake. It is produced by putting coffee through a filter of eggshells, woodchips, and vanilla beans; reheating to almost boiling; and then pouring through a cloth to remove oils. It is much smoother and less bitter than coffee." The Lyorn Records
The Books of Dragaera
Steve Brust Books ** In Story Chronological Order
- PRE-VLAD NOVELS:
- The Khaavren Romances
- • The Phoenix Guards
- • Five Hundred Years After
- The Viscount of Adrilankha
- • The Paths of the Dead
- • The Lord of Castle Black
- • Sethra Lavode
TO BE PUBLISHED:
Brust has stated that he plans to write one Vlad novel per house,
plus a final book to be called The Final Contract.
• The Last Contract
Vlad is your regular, every day kinda guy. "He is a fencer, an outstanding witch, a mediocre sorcerer, and a gifted but dangerously incompetent elder sorcerer." Oh, and he's an assassin.
Vlad was raised in Andrilankha working in his father's restaurant. His father was so concerned about being a member of society that he saved up his money and purchased his family membership in the House of Jhereg. All the while Vlad is being bullied by local Dragaerans and is not worried at all about fitting in with Dragarean society. After his father died, Vlad sold the restaurant and started working as a local enforcer to give him plenty of opportunity to beat up Dragaerans. Soon Vlad was running his own territory.
His grandfather, Noish-pa, taught him the Eastern practices that Vlad's father shunned. Vlad learned Eastern sword fighting, witchcraft, and the ritual that would bring him a sarcastic side-kick and familiar, Loiosh (an actual Jhereg). Vlad has a knack for getting himself wrapped up in the complex schemes and plots of the Empire which causes endless inconvenience and the occasional beating. Fortunately, he has inexplicably befriended several major players in the other Houses. They help him dismantle various dangerous situations (and save his butt).
Why do we like Vlad? Even though we does "work" (assassinations), Vlad maintains a sense of fairness and honor, is loyal and protective of those he cares about, and he is wildly sarcastic and hilarious!
"Dzur and Me"
A Jhereg Fan documents his trip to the bookstore to get Dzur right after it was released in hardback!
JHEREG - 1st in the Vlad Series
The books recount the adventures of the wisecracking hired killer Vlad, a human on a planet mainly inhabited by the long-lived, extremely tall sorcerers known as the Dragaerans. One of the most powerful bosses in the Jhereg--Dragaera's premier criminal organization--hires Vlad, one of their guild members, to assassinate Mellar, who stole millions from the Jhereg leadership and fled. Unfortunately, this thief turns out to be protected in a way that makes it difficult for Vlad to do his job without gaining the permanent enmity of a friend.
Devera is a little brown haired girl who shows up in almost all, if not all, of Steven Brust's books.
"...a small girl-child with big brown eyes looks at me and smiles..." - Jhereg
YENDI - 2nd in the Vlad Series
Assassin and petty crimelord Vladimir Taltos engages in a territory dispute with another crimelord. Investigation reveals that the bloody turf battle has wider implications than he could ever have imagined. Meanwhile, during the course of the dispute, Vlad is killed, and then falls in love with the woman who assassinated him (yes, in that order).
TECKLA - 3rd in the Vlad Series
Vladimir Taltos is a short-lived, short-statured Easterner (what we would call a human) in a world mostly populated by the long-lived, extremely tall Dragaerans. He is also an assassin and petty crimelord. His lifestyle and career require some difficult moral choices. When his wife Cawti joins an uprising of Easterners and peasant Dragaerans (the Teckla of the title), it causes a severe strain in their marriage, and Vlad begins to question those choices.
TALTOS - 4th in the Vlad Series
The planet Dragaera is ruled by the extremely tall, very long-lived sorcerers known as the Dragaerans. They are contemptuous of the shorter, short-lived Easterners--whom we would think of as humans. The Easterner Vladimir Taltos returns the Dragaerans' contempt with hatred. In fact, he became an assassin with the criminal Jhereg guild so that he could kill Dragaerans. That's why Vlad is so unhappy when the undead Dragaeran Enchantress Sethra Lavode coerces him into traveling to the Paths of the Dead in order to retrieve the soul of the heir to the throne.
Vlad Taltos and His Jhereg - by Silversaff
PHOENIX - 5th in the Vlad Series
Verra, Vlad's patron goddess, hires him to assassinate a king whose country lies outside the Dragaeran Empire, resulting in increased tension between the two places. Meanwhile, the peasant Teckla and the human Easterners persevere in their fight for civil rights. As Vlad's wife Cawti is a firm partisan of the movement, and Vlad is not, their marriage continues to suffer, causing Vlad to make some decisions that will change his life forever.
ATHYRA - 6th in the Vlad Series
ATHYRA is the first book after Vlad Taltos, cynical assassin-for-hire, quits the criminal organization known as the Jhereg, and thus represents new territory for the fantasy series. While the previous books were all narrated in the first person by Vlad, ATHYRA is told in the third person from the perspective of Savn, a peasant boy apprenticed as a physicker, or healer. Savn's life is pleasant and placid, until the enigmatic Easterner, Vlad Taltos, visits his village, bringing magic, mystery, and considerable mayhem.
ORCA - 7th in the Vlad Series
As this hardboiled fantasy opens, the ex-crimelord and ex-assassin is still attempting to evade the hired killers of the Jhereg, the criminal organization he quit in a rather spectacular fashion. Vlad is now traveling with a nearly catatonic young man, Savn, who got that way when he saved Vlad's life. In exchange for an old woman's sorcerous attempts to heal Savn, Vlad agrees to recover the deed to her house. Naturally, as per usual with matters involving Vlad, the situation is vastly more complicated than it first appears, with implications reaching to the highest levels of the Dragaeran Empire. The mysterious Kiera the Thief, Vlad's old friend, lends a hand in uncovering the plot, and, in the process, reveals more than one secret of her own.
DRAGON - 8th in the Vlad Series
Most of the action in DRAGON would merit its placement as the second book in the series timeline, between TALTOS and YENDI. However, the resolution of the plot takes place between YENDI and the following book in the timeline, JHEREG. When an important Dragaeran nobleman dies and one of his swords is subsequently stolen, it sets off a chain of events that results in war. Right in the middle of the action is our hero, the wisecracking assassin Vlad, who joins the army after the leader of the opposing forces personally annoys him.
ISSOLA - 9th in the Vlad Series
Ex-assassin Vladimir Taltos is still dodging the Jhereg, the criminal organization which has a hefty price on his head. He is driven out of hiding by the news that his friends Aliera and Morrolan are missing. In fact, they have been kidnapped by the mysterious, powerful beings known as the Jenoine, who hope to pressure Vlad into killing his patron goddess, Verra.
DZUR - 10th in the Vlad Series
For many years, he was a contented boss in the Jhereg, which ran the rackets in the imperial capital, Adrilankha. But after his wife got in trouble, and he got her out, he had a price on his head that kept him running for some time. Now he is sitting down to a meal at Valabar's, and Valabar's has the best food in the Dragarean Empire. But his ex needs help again. The Left Hand, a cabal of sorceresses without a boss, is taking over the Jhereg, which doesn't affect the reward for Vlad but does induce some erstwhile colleagues to want him to help them before they claim it. Also, a goddess is manipulating his memory, and the great weapon he carries is acting independently. It's adventure time again. Brust adds a charming twist this time. Vlad gets his meal, and each chapter's title and heading describe one delicacy at Valabar's.
JHEGAALA - 11th in the Vlad Series
In this immediate sequel to Phoenix (1990), Brust's series hero Vlad Taltos, fleeing the Jhereg, decides to look up kinfolk in a papermaking town in Fenario. Before he can do more than ask about them, however, they're murdered. Professional assassin Vlad is not going to stand for that, but, no longer part of an organization, he must do his own detecting in a strange land whose customs he doesn't know.
IORICH - 12th in the Vlad Series
<House Jhereg, Dragaera's organized crime syndicate, is still hunting Vlad Taltos. There's a big price on his head on Draegara City. Then he hears disturbing news. Aliera--longtime friend, sometime ally--has been arrested by the Empire on a charge of practicing elder sorcery, a capital crime. It would be idiotic of Vlad to jump into this situation. He's a former Jhereg who betrayed the House. He's an Easterner--small, weak, short-lived. He's being searched for by the most remorseless killers in the world. Naturally, that's exactly why he's going to get completely involved...
The Vlad Collections - Some of those earlier books are difficult to find. Order the compilations - multiple books in one!
Contains the Books: Jhereg, Yendi, and Teckla
Contains the Books: Taltos and Phoenix
Contains the Books: Athyra and Orca
Search For Original Editions
Having a collection of all 12 original editions is an amazing feat for a Brust Fan. Missing any earlier editions? Check Here!
Life in Dragaera Pre-Vlad - The Khaavren Romances & The Viscount of Andrilankha
- Want to know how it all began? What life was like in Dragaera City pre-Adron's Disaster? Check out these prequels to the Vlad Stories!
This book does not involve Vlad Taltos, but it is set in the same world, Dragaera, 1000 years earlier, and shares the wit and exhuberance of the Taltos books. Khaavren, a young swordsman, sets out to join the Imperial Guards under the recently ascended Phoenix Emperor. On the way to the capital, he falls in with three other aspiring Guards, and they form an inseparable quartet of flashing blades and impeccable manners. Unwittingly, Khaavren and company are soon enmeshed in secret plots reaching from the Imperial Palace to the far borders of the empire, with only their skill, wits and blind luck to see them through.
As the title states, this swashbuckling sequel takes place five hundred years after the events of THE PHOENIX GUARDS, and features many of the same characters (who are of an extremely long-lived species). The Emperor, as is typical of his House, has become decadent, caring little, and understanding less, about affairs of state. There are those--some with the best intentions and others less so--who are working to hasten the imperial succession, with potentially disastrous effect. Khaavren, now Captain of the Guard, and his loyal friends Pel, Aerich, and Tazendra attempt to preserve the Dragaeran Empire against the coming chaos, encountering some old foes in the process.
This swashbuckling fantasy takes place a few hundred years subsequent to FIVE HUNDRED YEARS AFTER, and begins a new trilogy, THE VISCOUNT OF ADRILANKHA. Piro, the Viscount in question, is the son of Khaavren, hero of THE PHOENIX GUARDS and FIVE HUNDRED YEARS AFTER. At the conclusion of the latter book, the Emperor was assassinated and the Orb, both the source of sorcery and of imperial rule, vanished. The Dragaeran Empire is still without sorcery and a ruler. A warlord, the Dragonlord Duke of Kana, determines to become Emperor by right of conquest. Opposing him are Piro and sundry companions, who are charged with accompanying Zerika, the newly discovered rightful heir to the Dragaeran Throne on a dangerous quest to recover the Orb and thus assume imperial power.
Zerika, a noble of the House of the Phoenix, has returned the Orb to the Dragaeran Empire, restoring magic to the land. This act has also made Zerika empress, but in order to consolidate her rule, she must battle the conquering Dragonlord Kana. Fortunately, she has the heroes Khaavren, Pel, Aerich, Tazendra, and Khaavren's son Piro to defend her. Also, the adventures of Morrolan, known both to readers of the previous book and to fans of Brust's VLAD TALTOS series, continue. Raised as an Easterner, the Dragonlord has now been apprised of his true heritage, and is granted one of the Great Weapons, Blackwand.
In the concluding volume in the swashbuckling fantasy trilogy THE VISCOUNT OF ADRILANKHA, the Phoenix Empress Zerika must continue to defend the throne of Dragaera from a Dragonlord pretender, the Duke of Kana. She is aided by a stalwart group of defenders that will be familiar to readers of the previous books, including the ancient and powerful undead enchantress, Sethra Lavode.
You are an Athyra. "Athyra rules minds' interplay."
Athyra are great wizards, specialists in the unseen forces that rule the world. Masters of intricate puzzles, they look on the entire world as something to be solved.
The Sorceress in Green is an Athyra.
- Have you read any of the Dragaera novels? What do you think? What characters would you like to learn more about? What plots would you like to see? What issues addressed in future books?