The Hunter's Blades Trilogy
||This article may require copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone, or spelling. (August 2013)|
The cover of The Thousand Orcs
|Preceded by||The Sellswords|
The Hunter's Blades Trilogy is a New York Times best-selling trilogy written by science fiction and fantasy author R.A. Salvatore. It follows on from the previous book, The Servant of the Shard and the other books of the Paths of Darkness series. It contains three books, The Thousand Orcs, The Lone Drow, and The Two Swords. The Two Swords was his 17th work concerning one of the most famous characters Salvatore has created, the drow, or dark elf, Drizzt Do'Urden. In this series, Drizzt takes a stand to stop the spread of chaos and war from an overambitious orc king across his adopted homeland. The series is followed by the installments in the Transitions series.
- The Thousand Orcs (2002)
- The Lone Drow (2003)
- The Two Swords (2004)
The Thousand Orcs
In The Thousand Orcs, the orc King Obould Many-Arrows, allied with a clan of frost giants, sends a massive army against the towns of the North. On the sidelines, four drow from the Underdark orchestrate events behind the scenes, playing each side against the other for their own advantage. Drizzt is separated from his friends during the siege at the town of Shallows. He witnesses the apparent death of the other Companions of the Hall, and turns his attention to slaughtering all of the orcs he can find, whilst reverting again to the Hunter.
The Lone Drow
In The Lone Drow, Drizzt Do'Urden is mourning what he believes to be the death of his closest friends. Drizzt only regains his sense of purpose after two elves (Tarathiel and Innovindil) and their two pegasi (Sunrise and Sunset) decide to help. The Dwarven druid Pikel Bouldershoulders loses his left arm at the elbow by a piece of slate thrown by a frost giant. Tarathiel, however, meets his demise at the hands of King Obould Many-Arrows. Meanwhile, the remaining Companions of the Hall, who survived the attack that Drizzt earlier witnessed, are fighting an increasingly desperate battle against Obould's forces.
The Two Swords
In The Two Swords, Obould's horde has pressed the Companions to the very gates of Mithral Hall, where Bruenor and his clan launch a desperate, last-ditch effort to push the orcs back. A desperate rescue attempt succeeds, with Drizzt and Innovindil rescuing the latter's pegasus, which Obould had captured and chained as a trophy, and Drizzt is unexpectedly reunited with the Companions that he long thought dead. The only major plot line to be tied up in this novel is the question of what Drizzt will do about his relationship with Catti-brie.
Other than that, The Two Swords resolves a few minor plot threads. Drizzt and the surface elf Innovindil bring their quest for the captured pegasus to a conclusion. A few more characters meet their demise in this novel. Ultimately, the novel keeps the major plot lines active for future novels, and introduces several more.
Literary significance and reception
The Thousand Orcs debuted on the New York Times bestseller list at number 11. Reviews were generally positive.Publishers Weekly described it as a "rousing tale of derring-do and harrowing escapes", although in doing so they acknowledged that it was a "light-hearted sword and sorcery novel", which gained some depth through Drizzt's philosophical ponderings about human frailties. Similarly, Paul Brink, writing for the School Library Journal, acknowledged the author's use of Drizzt to "reflect on issues of racial prejudice".
The Lone Drow debuted on the New York Times bestseller list at number 7. Staff Reviewer Tom Gafkjen from d20zines.com awarded the book a "B" grade. He praised the well-written combat sequences (a point that was also acknowledged by Jackie Cassada when she commented on the first novel in the series) but he did not enjoy the repetitious writing about the character Drizzt brooding over the death of a moon elf. He noted the exceptional writing although preferring the first book of the trilogy. A similarly mixed review came from Publishers Weekly - while mostly negative, the reviewers acknowledged that the novel did (occasionally) rise above the cliché, and that "a few characters do achieve some complexity". Cassada, on the other hand, seemed taken by the second novel in the trilogy, praising the "tense battles, vivid landscapes and memorable characters". The Lone Drow debuted at #7 on the New York Times Best Seller list in October 2003. Publishers Weekly felt that The Lone Drow was clichéd, but that some of the characters did achieve "some complexity". They singled out two characters for praise: Innovindel, an elf who talks "pensively" of her long life in contrast to the short lived humans, and Obould the orc king.
The Two Swords reached No. 5 on The Washington Post's bestseller list for the week ending October 24, 2004. It debuted on the New York Times bestseller list at No. 4 and at No. 1 on the Wall Street Journal Bestseller List in early November. Patrick Bergeron II from fantasybookspot.com found The Two Swords predictable and expected key sequences such as the character Drizzt "finding out that his friends had not fallen at Shallows". However he still enjoyed the story and characterization. The Two Swords peaked at #4 on the New York Times Best Seller list in 2004. It reached the top of the Wall Street Journal's hardcover bestseller list after only two weeks, a record for its publisher Wizards of the Coast. It also debuted at #4 on The New York Times's bestseller list and #2 on Publisher's Weekly bestseller list.
|Title||Author||ISBN||Publisher||US Release Date|
|The Thousand Orcs||R.A. Salvatore||ISBN 978-0-7869-2980-1||Wizards of the Coast||October 2002|
|The Lone Drow||R.A. Salvatore||ISBN 978-0-7869-3228-3||Wizards of the Coast||October 2003|
|The Two Swords||R.A. Salvatore||ISBN 978-0-7869-3790-5||Wizards of the Coast||October 2004|
|The Hunters Blades Trilogy - Collectors Edition (Hardcover)||R.A. Salvatore||ISBN 978-0-7869-4315-9||Wizards of the Coast||January 2007|
The first printing of The Thousand Orcs was 200,000 copies.
- Slavicsek, Bill; Rich Baker, Jeff Grubb (2006). Dungeons & Dragons For Dummies. For Dummies. p. 373. ISBN 978-0-7645-8459-6. Retrieved 2009-02-12.
- "BEST SELLERS: November 3, 2002". NYTimes.com. 2002-11-03. Retrieved 2008-04-14.
- Cannon, Peter; Zaleski, Jeff (2002). "The Thousand Orcs". Publishers Weekly 249 (40).
- Brink, Paul (2003). "The Thousand Orcs (Book)". School Library Journal 49 (2).
- "BEST SELLERS: November 16, 2003". NYTimes.com. 2003-11-16. Retrieved 2008-04-14.
- Cassada, Jackie (2002). "The Thousand Orcs (Book)". Library Journal 127 (19).
- Gafkjen, Tom (2004-11-22). "The Lone Drow Review". d20zine.com. Retrieved 2008-04-14.
- Cannon, Peter; Zaleski, Jeff (2003). "The Lone Drow: The Hunter's Blades Trilogy, Book II (Book)". Publishers Weekly 250 (35).
- Cassada, Jackie (2003). "The Lone Drow (Book)". Library Journal 128 (15).
- "The 'Two Swords' Debuts at #1 on the Wall Street Journal's Bestseller List; R.A. Salvatore's...". Business Wire. All Business. November 8, 2004. Retrieved 2009-01-09.[dead link]
- "The Lone Drow: the Hunter's Blades Trilogy, Book II". Publishers Weekly. September 1, 2003. Retrieved 2009-01-09.
- "Washington Area Bestsellers". The Washington Post. October 31, 2004. Retrieved June 17, 2013. – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
- "BEST SELLERS: November 7, 2004". NYTimes.com. 2004-11-07. Retrieved 2008-04-14.
- "The 'Two Swords' Debuts at #1 on the Wall Street Journal's Bestseller List; R.A. Salvatore's Classic Tale of Fantasy Triumphs on Bestseller Lists Nationwide". Business Wire. 2004-11-08. Retrieved 2008-04-14.
- Bergeron II, Patrick (2006-09-19). "The Two Swords". BookSpotCentral. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
- "R.A. Salvatore's The Orc King Makes Top 10 Rankings on Bestseller Lists: Publishers Weekly...". Business Wire. All Business. October 11, 2007. Retrieved 2009-01-09.[dead link]
- Kisor, Henry (September 1, 2002). "By any count, he's still pop fiction's King". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved June 9, 2013. – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
- Wizards of the Coast - The Thousand Orcs
- Wizards of the Coast - The Lone Drow
- Wizards of the Coast - The Two Swords
- The Two Swords book review at SFReader.com