The Reaver

the-reaver

“I surrender.”

“Well, it is the way of Lathander to give even knaves like you and me a second chance. The boy would want me to show mercy.”

“Yes.”

“So I’m glad he isn’t watching.”

-An unlucky foe and Anton Marivaldi

The Reaver is a swashbuckling break from the typical sword and sorcery novels set in the Forgotten Realms. The book centers on a Turmish pirate named Anton Marivaldi, a scourge of the Sea of Seven Stars, and an unlikely hero. He’s after a boy prophet of Lathander, a god thought dead in a land now ruled by Umberlee, the Queen of the Depths. Umberlee has placed a sizable bounty on the boy’s head, and Anton aims to cash in. But he’s not the only one after the prophet. When two Red Wizards show up, along with the chosen of Umberlee, things turn topsy turvy for Anton, and he finds himself switching sides in a deadly game between the gods of the depths and the dawn.

Most of the story is a pirate adventure. Anton, captain of his own pirate ship, kidnaps Stedd, the chosen of Lathander. That leads them on a long journey across land and sea as they deal with mutinous pirates, Red Wizards, sea monsters, sea battles and a zombie pirate lord. There are several sea engagements and most of the characters are pirates. However, there are escapades that delve into the forests of Gulthandor, spellplagued creatures, and an elf chosen who’s gone insane. Alongside Anton is a female mage who certainly holds her own and becomes a very interesting character. Toss in Stedd, a young boy dealing with childhood and the might of a god’s power being channeled through him as the deity’s chosen, and you get a full cast. It’s a nice mix that keeps things unpredictable and intriguing.

This being the first book I’ve read by Richard Lee Byers, I was impressed by how fun and entertaining the characters were. However they’re not as deep as the characters we’ve seen elsewhere in The Sundering series. Part of that is because the characters are new instead of previously established ones. The other part is because the story doesn’t dive into the characters that often. We get moments where Anton questions his motivations and actions, but it’s not a key focus of the story. Character perspectives are given in order to tell the story, but they’re used sparingly. There’s a minimalization of the characters’ introspections. Every now and then there’s an internal monologue where they question their motivations and their actions, but it’s not a constant focus. The end result is a story that centers on entertaining adventure and fun characters rather than a deep, thought provoking, heavily dramatized tale. It really is a swashbuckling, lighthearted adventure that anyone can pick up and enjoy.

While this may be the first book introducing Anton Marivaldi, it is the fourth book in The Sundering series. As such, The Reaver ties into some larger world building. The gods like Lathander and Umberlee are competing for control. Lathander himself is returning after a hundred year absence. There is also a great rain that is literally reshaping the land. The sea is growing larger, crops are being flooded out, and people are desperate for a break. Yet the rain is also healing the land by washing away the remnants of the spellplague. Throughout the story, there are hints of change and that something greater is at work.

For sword and sorcery fans looking to try out some pirate action, The Reaver is worth checking out. It’s got a cast of colorful characters, a varied swath of adventures, and provides a lot of upbeat entertainment. Overall, it’s a fun story. I give it a four out of five metal bikinis.

Posted By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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