The Reaver is book four of The Sundering: a world changing event, transforming the Forgotten Realms. Each book in the series is stand alone and only loosely tied together by the events transpiring across their pages. While the first three novels of the series focused on established characters like Drizzt Do’Urden, Erevis Cale, and the Brimstone Angels (Farideh and Havilar), this fourth installment introduces a treasure trove of brand new faces: Anton Marivaldi (reaver/pirate), Stedd Whitehorn (boy prophet of the god Lathander), and Umara Ankhlab (Thayan Red Wizard). Together, these unlikely comrades are used by author Richard Lee Byers to craft a classic, sword and sorcery tale.
As the story begins, Marivaldi and his crew are searching for a boy named Stedd Whitehead, who has a huge bounty out on him. This youth is rumored to be a prophet of Lathander, the Morninglord; a god believed to have been lost through time and whose demise helped unleash the endless rain that falls over the lands surrounding the Sea of Fallen Stars. A downpour that has killed the crops in the fields, caused the sea level to rise and flood low lying towns and docks, unleashed hunger and bitterness among the people, and resulted in large portions of the disheartened to turn to the worship of the dreadful goddess of the sea, Umberlee. And it is Umberlee’s chosen (an undead pirate named Evendur Highcastle) who wants Stedd Whitehorn so that he may sacrifice him to Umberlee.
But even as the gold loving reaver Marivaldi seeks this boy prophet, others are also looking for Stedd. Szass Tam, lich-lord of the Thayans, has his own minions scouring the Sea of Fallen Stars. Among the lich’s servants is Umara Ankhlab, who follows her vampiric master across the lands learning necromancy and magic while providing her teacher the blood to sustain him. While Umara finds her lot in life horrible, she holds onto the fact that this is her only avenue to rise above her mortal heritage and become someone of note in her undead ruled homeland.
And as for our Chosen of Lathander, young Stedd is a good hearted youth, too trusting in his belief in people’s altruistic motives, and determined to accomplish his god given task - proclaim the re-emergence of Lathander and announce that soon the endless rain will cease! A task that not only serves as the central plot of the adventure in The Reaver but also illustrates the true nature of the physical effects the Sundering is having on the whole world, as the gods via for power and the planet’s environment shifts in response to the powers unleashed upon it.
Naturally, the story begins when these forces all converge together, but that is just the start of the fun here. For soon, this tale of Lathander’s Chosen becomes filled with even more tension, as unlikely people become companions, sword fights and sorcerous duels ensue, gods and goddesses are unleashed, and good versus evil eventually meet in a climactic clash for all the marbles.
If you relish a fine sword and sorcery novel then The Reaver is just what you have been looking for. It might be traditional fantasy faire, but it still enjoyable, fueled by its fast-paced story and swash-buckling fun, and it even provides a reader with a message of hope and redemption.
Great addition to The Sundering saga!
I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.