R. A. Salvatore

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R. A. Salvatore
Salvatore in 2006
Salvatore in 2006
BornRobert Anthony Salvatore
(1959-01-20) January 20, 1959 (age 63)
Leominster, Massachusetts, United States
GenreFantasy, science fiction
Notable worksForgotten Realms
The DemonWars Saga
SpouseDiane Salvatore

Robert Anthony Salvatore (born January 20, 1959) is an American author best known for The DemonWars Saga;[1] and The Legend of Drizzt, for which he created the popular character Drizzt Do'Urden; and Vector Prime, the first novel in the Star Wars: The New Jedi Order series. He has sold more than 15 million copies of his books in the United States alone[2] and twenty-two of his titles have been New York Times best-sellers.[2][3]

Early life and education[edit]

Salvatore at a book signing in 2008

Salvatore was born in Leominster, Massachusetts, the youngest of a family of seven. A graduate of Leominster High School, Salvatore has credited his high school English teacher with being instrumental in his development as a writer. During his time at Fitchburg State College, he became interested in fantasy after reading J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, given to him as a Christmas gift.[4] He developed an interest in fantasy and other literature, promptly changing his major from computer science to journalism.[5] He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications/Media from Fitchburg.[6] He earned this degree in 1981 and later a Bachelor of Arts in English.[5] Before taking up writing full-time, he worked as a bouncer.[7] He attributes his fierce and vividly described battle scenes to his experience as a bouncer.[8][9]

In the fall of 1997, his letters, manuscripts, and other professional papers were donated to the R. A. Salvatore collection at his alma mater, Fitchburg State College in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.[5]


In 1982, he started writing more seriously, developing a manuscript he titled Echoes of the Fourth Magic.[10] He created the setting of Ynis Aielle for the novel, writing it in longhand by candlelight.[11] In an interview with comic book website Project Fanboy, Salvatore said he landed the deal for his first book when, after finishing the script for Echoes of the Fourth Magic in early 1987, he sent the work to TSR and several other publishers. TSR was looking for an author to write the second book in the Forgotten Realms line and asked Salvatore to audition. In July 1987, Salvatore won the spot to write the book.[12] His first published novel was The Crystal Shard from TSR in 1988.[5][13]: 19  The first hardcover novel from TSR was Salvatore's The Legacy (1992).[13]: 19  After Passage to Dawn (1996), the management at TSR chose a new author to write stories about Drizzt; Mark Anthony completed the Drizzt novel The Shores of Dusk by the time Wizards of the Coast acquired TSR, but rather than publish that one Wizards instead brought Salvatore back to write novels about Drizzt, beginning with The Silent Blade (1998).[13]: 283  The Silent Blade won the Origins Award that year.[5] Salvatore went on to publish several series of books in the Forgotten Realms campaign world, while lately his popularity surged due to his Demon Wars sagas and his two Star Wars books.

One of his most popular characters is Drizzt Do'Urden, a drow, or dark elf, portrayed against the stereotypes of his race, who defies a nation of evil enemies with his swordsmanship and courage. He abandons the Underdark, a barren land of unmarked and limitless tunnels where deadly creatures continually lurk. His journey for freedom leads him to the surface where he faces discrimination at every turn because of his dark heritage. Drizzt stumbles along in a harsh world until he finally comes upon friends who understand the kindness of his heart. Together, they fight for justice against sinister enemies who dare to disrupt the peace of Drizzt's newfound homeland.

In 1999, Salvatore was tasked with writing Vector Prime, the first novel in the Star Wars: The New Jedi Order series. Vector Prime was extremely controversial among Star Wars fans because its plot included the death of Chewbacca, making the Wookiee the first major character from the original trilogy to be permanently killed off in the Star Wars expanded universe novels. Salvatore was ordered by Lucasfilm Ltd. to kill off the character. Many fans thought that Salvatore himself had made this decision, but it was actually Randy Stradley, the then-editor at Dark Horse Comics.[14] After Disney bought the rights to Star Wars in 2012 and decided in 2014 to declare all Expanded Universe works released before 2014 non-canon, the killing off of Chewbacca was cited as a major reason why they revoked the canonical status of so many works.[15] In February 2008, Devil's Due Publishing published Spooks, a comic book about a U.S. government anti-paranormal investigator/task force created by Larry Hama and Salvatore. Hama created the military characters and plots, and Salvatore covered the monster characters.[16]

In 2010, Wizards of the Coast announced a new deal with Salvatore to write six more books featuring Drizzt the dark elf; the books were released between 2011 and 2016.[2]

Writing for video games[edit]

In addition to his novels, Salvatore wrote the story for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and PC video game Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone (2004), working with the design team at Stormfront Studios. The game was published by Atari and was nominated for awards by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences and BAFTA. CDS books commissioned him to edit a four book series based on the interactive online EverQuest game.[17] He also wrote the bot chat lines for the Quake III bots.

Salvatore was hired as creative director for upstart game developer 38 Studios, which was owned by former baseball player Curt Schilling. He wrote the dialogue and created a backstory spanning ten thousand years for the fantasy game Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, which was released in February 2012,[18] and sold over one million units.[19] However, three months later 38 Studios declared bankruptcy and ceased operations. The company laid off its entire staff, including Salvatore, with the $2 million fee for his services having never been paid.[20] Salvatore claimed he harbored no ill will toward Schilling in a 2014 interview with The Escapist. "Why would I sue Curt [for the $2 million]? Maybe he made a couple of bad business decisions ... [but] he didn't do anything nefarious, and he got wiped out. He's lying in the gutter and you want me to kick him in the head? Why would anyone do that?"[21]



  1. ^ Shippey, T. A. eds. Magill's Guide to Science Fiction and Fantasy vol I. Pasadena, California: Salem Press, 1996.
  2. ^ a b c Wizards of the Coast press release
  3. ^ Whitbrook, James (June 21, 2020). "How R.A. Salvatore Helped Bring Icewind Dale to Games Again for Dark Alliance". Gizmodo Australia. Gizmodo. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
  4. ^ Clute, John. And John Grant. The Encyclopedia of Fantasy. New York: ST. Martkin’s Press, 1997
  5. ^ a b c d e "R. A. Salvatore". Archived from the original on February 28, 2009.
  6. ^ Salvatore, R. A. (2007). "War and Peace". In Lowder, James (ed.). Hobby Games: The 100 Best. Green Ronin Publishing. pp. 356–358. ISBN 978-1-932442-96-0.
  7. ^ Clute, John. And John Grant. The Encyclopedia of Fantasy. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997. Publishers Weekly. May 17, 2004, Vol. 251 Issue 20, p23
  8. ^ "- YouTube". YouTube.
  9. ^ Pringle, David eds. St. James Guide to Fantasy Writers. Detroit, Michigan: St. James Press, 1996
  10. ^ Shippey, T. A. ed. Magill's Guide to Science Fiction and Fantasy vol II. Pasadena, California: Salem Press, 1996.
  11. ^ Varney, Allen (October 1998). "Profiles: R.A. Salvatore". Dragon. Renton, Washington: Wizards of the Coast (#252): 120.
  12. ^ "Project Fanboy Interview". Archived from the original on July 16, 2009. Retrieved July 7, 2008.
  13. ^ a b c Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
  14. ^ Randy Stradley on DarkHorse.com message boards
  15. ^ Whitbrook, James (January 15, 2018). "The Expanded Universe Story That Led to Lucasfilm Re-Writing Star Wars Canon". io9. Retrieved May 25, 2022.
  16. ^ "Devil's Due Publishing press release: "Special San Diego Comic-Con Announcement", July 36 2007". Archived from the original on March 5, 2009.
  17. ^ Raugust, Karen. "*The Expanding World of EverQuest". Publishers Weekly. May 17, 2004, Vol. 251 Issue 20, p23
  18. ^ "Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Review". February 3, 2012.
  19. ^ Yoon, Andrew (May 24, 2012). "Kingdoms of Amalur needed 3 million sales 'to break even,' RI governor says". Shacknews. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  20. ^ Bai, Matt (April 20, 2013). "Thrown for a Curve in Rhode Island". The New York Times. Retrieved January 6, 2015.
  21. ^ Craddock, David (October 15, 2014). "The Fall of 38 Studios, and DemonWars: More From R.A. Salvatore". The Escapist. Retrieved January 7, 2015.


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