Late last year I ran my eyes over the adventures of the famed fantasy icon Drizzt Do’Urden for the first time. Not by cracking open The Crystal Shard (the first printed Drizzt novel) or sitting down to Homeland (the first of The Legend of Drizzt novels chronologically), but by reading Timeless.
Timeless was the perfect place for a guy like me to start, as well. I went in blind to the three decades worth of tales and came out hungry for them all. Since then, I’ve consumed several of the Drizzt novels – starting from the very beginning.
Boundless, the newest installment, picks up right where Timeless left off and sustains the vibrant heartbeat of the saga. Familiar faces find themselves in new and thrilling narratives as Menzoberranzan’s matriarchal madness spills out of the Underdark and onto the surface – bringing demonic forces to bear upon The Forgotten Realms.
Zaknafein Stars, But A God is At Work
Boundless is largely a book about Drizzt’s dear old dad, Zaknafein. Newly and mysteriously resurrected, adrift in the world apart from the anchors that are his old friend Jarlaxle and his son Drizzt, Zaknafein is making every attempt to adjust to a life that is categorically different than the one that shaped him in Menzoberranzan.
Boundless‘s continued focus on Zaknafein makes him feel like a linchpin. The book is split, as was Timeless, between events of the past and the goings-on of the present; the former informing the latter. The devious machinations of drow matrons 300 years ago seem to be among the dominos that have fallen to lead the narrative to its current precipice.
Lloth, the goddess of the drow, seems almost desperate. It is easy to forget that a god is among the characters orchestrating the narrative as you read Boundless, but I think it is a critical mistake to do so. It would be the same as reading the Bible’s book of Esther and forgetting that there is a god at work in that story – even though he goes unmentioned. Harder, even, as Lloth is mentioned frequently!
The two are bound together; Zaknafein and Lloth. At least, if my reading of the Epilogue of Timeless is correct. There we got an idea of who raised Zaknafein, but not exactly why. That a relationship persists between the priestess who raised him and Lloth seems to surprise the priestess, anyway. What is Lloth up to? I suspect this will be revealed in the next book since this is being called a trilogy.
Questions continue to arise throughout Boundless, but that just means the next installment will be all the more satisfying.
Demons knock on the doors of Gauntylgrym and drow houses rise from the depths of Menzoberranzan – seemingly in cooperation with one another…It all reminds me of the quote from Ghostbusters:
Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together – mass hysteria!
I wouldn’t take my eyes off of Zaknafein or my mind off of Lloth in the plots to come! I don’t think you will be able to. Their plot is the plot. How exactly they come together remains to be seen!
More of What You’ve Come to Expect
Salvatore writes extremely consistently across his novels in The Forgotten Realms. Every book feels like the last, but each also has a certain character that gives it a unique pulse. 30+ Drizzt novels later, and you know what you’re getting into with each read: A well-engineered adventure full of detailed combat choreography, intrigue, and drama.
I’ve even come to love the little bits of Drizzt’s memoirs or reflections we’re treated to at the beginning of each section or part of the books. Drizzt’s little epistles read very differently than the body of the novels themselves, but offer super interesting reflections and philosophies. I could read a book of nothing but those and love every letter of it! What do you think, Mr. Salvatore?
I read more than a couple reviews that knocked Timeless for seeming incomplete or un-contained. I hope that lot gives Boundless a read. It is definitely a big story – no doubt about it. And it remains “to be continued.” It is complex, for sure, with a lot of moving parts. It can be hard to keep things straight at times. But it is also that scale, that scatteredness, that gives this particular story some extra weight, meat, and ultimately: impact on The Forgotten Realms.
Who knows? Maybe the third installment will shake up the status quo of the setting! It certainly feels like the story we’ve seen thus far could be that big – what, with all of Menzoberranzan mobilized, Gauntylgrym threatened, and at least one god making big plays.
Boundless is available for pre-order from Amazon here. It releases on September 10, 2019, and will definitely tickle the fancy of the Drizzt faithful.