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Monday, January 10, 2022

Review: Elminster in Myth Drannor by Ed Greenwood

This is book two of the open-ended Elminster series by Ed Greenwood, published in 1997. The first book was Elminster: The Making of a Mage, you can read my review for that here.

Part 1, Human, it is the Year of the Chosen, 240 DR, when we meet young Elminster again. This is the same year the first book ended. He is waylaid by brigands on the Skuldask Road, so he is nearest Berdusk and a little farther from Elturel. At the time, the road cut through forest land. 

He needs to get to Cormanthor but he has to survive the way first. He is pursued by an unknown enemy with capable magic at his disposal. He does find a way that may make. Easier to enter the city, but it may just assure his death. Equipped with a an elven lore gem, a kiira, young El makes his way through the forest

A little slow it parts, it’s still a nice introduction but at the end of part one I was almost completely clueless on where the story would go next. Elminster shows his charm to the elves of Cormanthor, which helps him survive and in some ways thrive. The Srinshee is a character that appears at the end, and she was a little more eccentric than I was expecting. But this is Greenwood, I shouldn’t be so surprised. 

Part 2, Armathor, an elven word that refers to knighthood I believe. 

You may have realized I kept on referring to the city as Cormanthor, which was its name before the mythal was raised, and it became Myth Drannor. The history of this event had already been well established when this book released and the back of the book even mentions it. We get to experience the history first hand in the story.

Mythanthar, an elf who thinks he can emulate magical barriers elves have around their persons to cover the whole city is ridiculed by most at court. Mythal’s have existed before this one and I believe the elves of Cormanthor at this time mostly think them fanciful. 

There are epigraphs from two in world books:  The High History of Faerûnian Archmages Mighty,  written by Antarn the Sage and published in 1366 DR and Silver Blades and Summer Nights: An Informal but true History of Cormanthor, written by Shalheira Talandren, High Elven bard of Summerstar and published in the Year of the Harp (I couldn’t find what year that was in Dalereckoning)

In Greenwood Forgotten Realms fashion many people don’t have a care for their state of undress. You’ll also see plenty of mage battles and even learn how to sexually please an elf; yep.

Elves are just as, or maybe more stubborn and arrogant than humans, but it’s nice seeing them so upset about the elves leaving their Spring in Faerun. 

The way elven undead work is always fun. Baelnorn’s are a type of lich but good and generally acting as guardians of something. 

If you want references to things mentioned nowhere else, Greenwood is great for that and this book is no different.

House Dlardrageth is mentioned here, I believe they are a main focus of the Last Mythal series. And apparently Drannor was the name of a Cormanthyrn elf who married a dwarf. 

Anyway the story takes turns I wasn’t expecting. Elminster doesn’t always come out on top, and as expected he doesn’t have it easy regardless.

The Masked, Nacacia and the Lady Herald along with Eltagrim, Mythanthar, and the Srinshee were all interesting and fun characters that I’d even consider putting into my own dungeons and dragons games.

The story ends in 261 DR, 20 years after it begins. There are a few time jumps at the end that bring us to that time by the conclusion. I know the next Elminster book takes place centuries later. 


You can track my current progress here.

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