first edition cover
|Series||The Vlad Taltos novels|
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
|Pages||288 pp (first edition, paperback)|
|ISBN||0-7653-4154-9 (first edition, paperback)|
Dzur has three meanings, all of which are linked to the fiction of Steven Brust:
- Dzur is one of the seventeen Great Houses of the people of the fictional planet of Dragaera, or to a member of that house (although such members are often also referred to as Dzurlords). The Cycle Poem of imperial succession, describing each of the different creatures and respective houses notes "Dzur stalks and blends with night".
- The dzur is an apex predator indigenous to Dragaera, appearing similar to a large black panther. It is the namesake of Dzur House.
- Dzur is the title of the tenth book of the Vlad Taltos series, originally published in 2006 by Tor Books. It takes place immediately after Issola. The novel was originally intended to be called Tiassa, after another Dragaeran House. The book entered the New York Times Bestseller list for Hardcover Fiction on August 22, 2006.
Members of the Great Houses are said to share personality traits with their namesake animals, thanks to genetic manipulations by the alien Jenoine. Dzur are courageous, mighty in single combat, and bound by personal honor.
While eating at Valabar's, Vlad is indirectly asked to help his ex-wife, Cawti, resolve a problem in South Andrilankha, the Easterners' Quarter. While investigating, Vlad determines that the Left Hand of the Jhereg, the sorceresses, are actually trying to muscle in on the territory. Inadvertently destroying the soul of one with his Great Weapon, Lady Teldra, Vlad is targeted by the Left Hand. To escape and resolve the situation, he must act like a Dzurlord, putting himself up against uneven odds in a battle he has little chance of winning, for what he thinks is right.
We are introduced to Mario Greymist, an assassin of great reputation who is also Aliera's lover. His reputation as the greatest of assassins was established by killing Emperor Tortaalik I, an event that helped cause the temporary dissolution of the empire. Mario makes himself available for hire, revealing that his contact and front man is none other than Vlad's long-time friend and former second-in-command Kragar.
We are also introduced to Telnan, the newest and possibly only member of the Lavodes in training. Telnan is young (for a Dragaeran) and uncommonly cheerful (for a Dzur). His conversation with Vlad helps to clarify the motivations behind a Dzurlord's behavior. He possesses, coincidentally, a Great Weapon: 'Loci for different levels of energy from various phases of existence'. He prefers to call it 'Nightslayer', because it sounds 'dangerous, and evil, and like that'.