Paths of Darkness
Paths of Darkness is the New York Times best-selling series of novels chronicling adventures of the renegade drow elf character Drizzt Do'Urden written by R. A. Salvatore. It is the follow-up series to Legacy of the Drow and is followed up by The Hunter's Blades Trilogy, and also followed on from the Servant of the Shard in the Sellswords trilogy.
- The Silent Blade (1998)
- The Spine of the World (1999)
- Servant of the Shard (2000)*
- Sea of Swords (2001)
In The Silent Blade, Wulfgar, a mighty barbarian, tries to come to terms with his freedom from the Abyss, from the torturous clutches of the balor Errtu and fails, fleeing from his friends to the port city of Luskan. Confused and angry, he finds a job in The Cutlass, a local tavern, as a bouncer in return for a room and alcohol, which he has become dependent on to dull the pain of his six-year long entrapment in the Abyss. Many miles to the south Artemis Entreri returns to his hometown of Calimport, only to find that a lot of things have changed in his old thieves guild… and many more will change if he and his new drow sponsors have anything to do with it. Drizzt himself travels with the rest of his friends to see Cadderly Bonaduce who has said he will attempt to use his powers as the chosen of Deneir to destroy Crenshinibon. Drizzt and company are duped by Jarlaxle and his lieutenants who impersonate Cadderly and take the crystal shard for themselves.
In The Spine of the World, Wulfgar and his new friend, Morik the Rogue, are convicted of the attempted murder of Wulfgar's old companion Captain Deudermont, a crime they did not commit. Morik the Rogue is an unscrupulous human who comes along as a traveling and drinking companion to barbarian hero Wulfgar, and is a close, but not necessarily trusted, friend. Wulfgar's mighty warhammer Aegis Fang is stolen and sold to a notorious pirate. They narrowly avoid the horrors of Luskan's prisoner's carnival and set out to become bandits on the roads surrounding the city. They prove to not be very proficient at it, though, and soon become involved in the politics of a backwater town in which the peasant fiancé of the local lord bears an illegitimate child. Wulfgar is blamed, but is helped to escape, and adopts the baby girl as his own.
The Sea of Swords is the story of how Drizzt and his friends try and track down Wulfgar's magical hammer Aegis Fang. They stop Wulfgar's new wife Delly Curtie from being murdered in Waterdeep and are eventually reunited with Wulfgar himself with help from their old crewmate Robillard of the Sea Sprite. They track down the pirate Sheila Kree, the one who bought the hammer back in Luskan and who has now turned it into a symbol of her power. They discover her cohabiting in a cave complex with an ogre clan which she has bent to her will. There, Drizzt is faced by Ellifain, the elf child he saved when he was a part of a drow surface raid. She blames him for killing her mother; they fight and he unintentionally kills her, and with a little help from Morik the Rogue they succeed in taking back Wulfgar's weapon. Wulfgar then takes his family to Mithral Hall to live with his old friends.
Literary significance and reception
The Silent Blade debuted on the New York Times bestseller list at No. 32.
The Spine of the World debuted on the New York Times bestseller list at No. 25.
Servant of the Shard debuted on the New York Times bestseller list at No. 25.
Sea of Swords debuted on the New York Times bestseller list at No. 14. It was positively reviewed in Publishers Weekly, where it debuted at No. 10 on the hardcover bestsellers list. The reviewers described the novel as a "fast–moving fantasy adventure", although they acknowledged that the book, as the last in a sequence of four, was not for the uninitiated.
Matt Drake of RPGnet gave the series a 4 (out of 5) for style, stating that "Salvatore's chrome is starting to tarnish in a few spots, but he is still a great fantasy novelist." He gave it a 3 (out of 5) for substance, stating "With the exception of Spine of the World, these stories are a little predictable and trite."
- Kenson, Stephen (April 1999). "Profiles: Todd Lockwood". Dragon (Renton, Washington: Wizards of the Coast) (#258): 96.
- "BEST SELLERS: November 15, 1998". NYTimes.com. Retrieved 2008-05-16.
- "BEST SELLERS: October 10, 1999". NYTimes.com. Retrieved 2008-05-16.
- "BEST SELLERS: December 3, 2000". NYTimes.com. Retrieved 2008-05-16.
- "BEST SELLERS: November 18, 2001". NYTimes.com. November 18, 2001. Retrieved 2008-05-16.
- "Inside the Best Sellers", Chicago Sun-Times, November 18, 2001, retrieved June 18, 2013 – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
- Zaleski, Jeff; Cannon, Peter (2001). "Sea of Swords (Book)". Publishers Weekly 248 (42): 52.
- "REVIEW OF PATHS OF DARKNESS: May 3, 2006". rpg.net. Retrieved 2008-05-16.