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Monday, August 30, 2021

Review: The Reaver by Richard Lee Byers

The Reaver is a standalone book by Richard Lee Byers set in the Forgotten Realms during the events of The Sundering, when the cosmology got smacked around and gods were reborn and many changes brought by the Spellplague were brought back.

The Reaver is technically book four of The Sundering book series, but they’re all effectively standalone, though one character from The Reaver makes a cameo in the fifth book, The Sentinel by Troy Denning. And technically Stedd first appeared in book 3, The Adversary, but that was just a small introduction to him. The whole Sundering series is one of the few Forgotten Realms books you’ll find at Barnes and Noble these days.

The Reaver introduces us to some pirates of the Sea of Fallen Stars somewhere near the city of Teziir on the Dragon Coast. The Inner Sea has been wracked with endless storms in this time of upheaval. Our main characters are Anton Marivaldi who is a “renowned reaver with a insatiable thirst for bounty who, when it comes to a choice between two evils, always chooses the one he’s never tried” as the back of the book tells us. He is originally from Turmish

“When the tempest is born,

As Storm-tossed waters rise uncaring,

The promised hope still shines.

And the Reaver beholds 

The Dawn-born chosen’s gaze,

Transforming the darkness into light”

So prophesied Elliandreth of Orishaar in the days of the First Sundering aeons before.

Evendur Highcastle, is an undead pirate captain, and chosen of Umberlee, who is the Queen of the Depths, evil sea goddess often fittingly called The Bitch Queen, funnily enough, who is after a perpetual tempest to cover the seas. 

“[V]ying with high castle for the hearts and minds of the people is Stedd Whitehorn, a little boy and the chosen of a god thought lost to time: Lathander, the Morninglord”, the god of the Dawn.

Umara Ankhlab is a red wizard of Thay, in service to a vampire and sent as sent by the undead ruler of Thay, the lich Szass Tam. 

The year is 1486 DR, so just a few years before most fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons adventures. Byers really makes the setting come to life, and it was interesting following someone of a more wicked bend. When finally getting a grasp of the situation in chapter one, Byers throws a wrench in.

We have pirates, vampires, chosen of the gods (alive and dead), sea monsters, gangs, and celestials, 

Byers writing is nice though often over my head, he utilizes many words I’ve never heard before, in all his works. These words aren’t literary or archaic generally either, just very particular. 

An interesting relationship develops in the book, one I wasn’t expecting. I always appreciate an unlikely friendship. While the story itself is good I was largely not drawn in and left disappointed by that. I found it Acceptable. I leave it up to you to decide if you may like it.


You can track my current progress here.

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