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The Lord of Castle Black (The Khaavren Romances #4)

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  2,236 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
Continuing the swashbuckling epic begun in The Paths of the Dead

Journeys! Intrigues! Sword fights! Young persons having adventures! Beloved older characters having adventures, too! Quests! Battles! Romance! Snappy dialogue! Extravagant food! And the missing heir to the Imperial Throne!
In the swashbuckling, extravagant manner of The Phoenix Guards, Five Hundred Years After,
Hardcover, 397 pages
Published August 1st 2003 by Tor Books
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Another notch in my belt towards rereading all of Brust's Dragaera novels. This latest was more of the same in the Viscount of Adrilankha series, and, in this instance, as usual, that's a very good thing.
Feb 24, 2015 Michael rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: epic-fantasy, 2015
I find this to be as good as the previous volume, but I still found it very enjoyable. I can't wait to see the end of this series!

Also, another short review/thoughts thing, since I once again liked the book.
***Dave Hill
Oct 13, 2011 ***Dave Hill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: text
REREAD (Oct 2014)

The book suffers from being the center volume of a trilogy, all rising action with no great climax. Still, it's far better than a kick in the head, and on reread (especially consecutively) reads better than it did the first time.



(Original review scale 1-3)

Summary: [2] This is the second volume of Brust’s The Viscount of Adrilankha Dumas pastiche. The Empire gets its legs underneath it, Morollan (the titular character) becomes involved in matters, a
Jan 03, 2009 thefourthvine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sff
I loved The Phoenix Guards and Five Hundred Years after, so I originally had great hopes for this series. Most of them have not been realized.

The earlier books worked because they had a tight focus - they were epic stories, yes, but they were told mostly through Khaavren - which is Brust's comfort zone (and skill level) as a writer. This series is sprawling and disorganized; if you're going to use a cast of thousands, you have to be able to structure your novels, and Brust doesn't know how to d
Dec 03, 2016 Aelvana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zerika has emerged with the Orb, thus ending the Interregnum---but not everyone wants the return of the Empire she represents. Kana, a Dragonlord, sees no need to stop his planned consolidation of the previous Empire's territory under his own banner. He has the troops, he's been building alliances, and he's laid thorough plans for the rest of his conquest. But Zerika is not without allies of her own: Khaavren and his friends, his son Piro and his friends, the ancient and powerful Sethra Lavode, ...more
Michael Coats
Aug 26, 2011 Michael Coats rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The empire restored, and Piro falls in love! But to the wrong person (in his father's opinion). More great action, and some good social commentary as well.

"What should I tell her?"

"Tell her?"

"You must have known girls before."

"Well, yes."

"And you must have known one with whom you desired to have conversation.'

"Oh, without doubt."

"What did you tell her?"

"That I should like to get to know her better."


"That I have never before met another with whom I could speak so freely."

"I must
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
2.5. Another re-read in preparation for Tiassa. This picked up a bit more, even the Morrolan sections. I thought it was more enjoyable than its immediate prequel, The Paths of the Dead. A word of warning: you will want to have the sequel, Sethra Lavode, immediately to hand when you finish this one.

Re-read again in January 2013. I read this and thought, man, you really need to have read Issola to get this, at a minimum. And then I went back and realized ... hey. This was published after Issola.
Mar 22, 2010 Maura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
So, when is Sethra Lavode coming out in paperback? :)

I adore Brust. While i won't go so far as to say he can do no wrong, i find the results of his less-rightness (eg Brokedown Palace) are still good enough to keep on my shelf and revisit from time to time. This book? Falls squarely in the "damn good stuff" category. it suffers a little from being the middle book of a trilogy -- or rather it suffers from my having read the first book in the trilogy over a year ago. details from the past escaped
C is for **censored**
The star rating given reflects my opinion within ‘the official goodreads rating system’. (Notice the two important words... OPINION and RATING)

1 star: Didn’t Like it
2 stars: It’s Okay
3 stars: Liked it
4 stars: Really Liked it
5 stars: It Was Amazing

I don’t really give a rat-fuck that there are some who think I ‘owe’ an explanation for my opinion. Nope, nada, and not sorry about it.

Sometimes I may add notes to explain what my opinions are based on, and sometimes I don’t. I do this for me, on my boo
Stuart Lutzenhiser
Jun 08, 2015 Stuart Lutzenhiser rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
When I first read these three books it was as they were published which was nearly a year or more between volumes. Even more than the Dumas' stories that these are loosely based on, these three volumes are clearly one continuous narrative that really suffers from being separated in reading time.
That is a long way of saying that I enjoyed this re-reading much more than the first time because I'm going straight through without pauses. The thrust of the work (all 3 really) is how the Interregnum en
I have increased the rating of this book after re-reading it. If the previous one did not satisfy me (The Paths of the Dead, in this one we recover the feeling of adventure, even if the main characters in the previous books take clearly a supporting role. The Dumas pastiche works very well, with sympathetic villains and a few despicable ones, fallible heroes, but heroes yet, and better rounded dialogue than others. It is still a very shallow book unless you are very interested in Brust imaginary ...more
Sep 02, 2008 Wayne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I think the hardest thing to get use to in this Durst story is the bombastic prose that is used.

This isn't Brust's normal writing voice of course, it seems he was trying to emulate the scholar that narrates the story as a tome of dragaeran history. Brust does such a great job at this that every character sounds like the the narrator.

Once I came to realize this it was a little easier to read. I just simply translated speeches in voices that I felt were more endearing of the characters. Unfortunat
Jan 11, 2013 Ashley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As with "Paths of the Dead," the fourth installment of the Khaavren Romances is a story written like a history book. With detail to every rock that had ever been upturned in the history of the Dragaeran Empire, pre and post Interegnum, the reader is forced to flip through page after page of useless dialog, wherein the characters repeat the same things back and forth, turning one individuals statement into an question, and so on and so forth. However, this airy style of writing is continually bal ...more
Nov 26, 2010 Tasula rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
In this second of the Viscount of Andrilankha series, young Zerika emerges from the Paths of the Dead with the Imperial Orb, and gathers supporters to defend her from pretender Emperoror Kana, who is marching his tens of thousands of troops against her. But much of the book revolves around the titled Lord Morrolan, an elf raised in the East, and only newly aware of his heritage, the Empire, sorcery, etc. I love the characters, their amusing (although occasionally wearing) dialogue, and the world ...more
This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For
Stubborn masochism is the only explanation I can come up with for why I continue to read these. The stylistic joke of drawing out every sentence into 15 sentences has grown so overtired that a small number of the characters are themselves beginning to complain about it. If one ignores the style (virtually impossible, to be sure), the plot itself is fine if a bit deus-ex-machina for my taste. This is the middle part of the "third" book (or the fourth of six books depending on how you wish to coun ...more
I'm not sure if it's because I was used to the style by this book, or simply because more happens, but I found it easier to read than The Paths of The Dead. Glad I read it for the backstory on the Dragaerans, but I wouldn't recommend it for a casual reader.

Honestly, it took a long time to psyche myself up to read this after The Paths of The Dead, because I knew it was going to be a bit of a slog.
Apr 01, 2008 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The high points for me are Morrolan's character development and Pel's activities.

This book has more action than the first. That's great in some ways, but there's not much focus on the younger characters apart from one relationship subplot. That relationship leads to a surprise decision that seemed out of character, but I'll wait to see how it develops in the next book.

As always, I really enjoy the style of these.
Jan 02, 2012 Nathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The transition between the Phoenix Guards and the world of Taltos continues, with the recreation of the Empire, the return of the Orb and the tidying up of various problems.

Brust once again demonstrates his joy in language. Even when things are not happening, the dialogue sparkles, the descriptive text in the voice of Paarfi dances around and the action scenes are described in quite glorious pomposity. Great all round, really.

Rated M for battle violence. 4/5
Dec 28, 2007 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The fourth of five books in the "Khaavren Romances". It continues the story of the restoration of the Dragaerean empire after the Interregnum. It is slightly faster paced than the previous books and has a bit more wit. It develops a good deal of Morrolan's background and character. A good read if you are interested in Brust's Dragearean world, but otherwise not worth it.
Apr 03, 2009 Jane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Almost sounds like it should be a story about disgraced newspaper tycoon Conrad Black ... and it's almost as windy and pompous, but I've had a soft spot for Steven Brust since back when he was just an unknown sribbler from the midwest and he can still make me smile.
Mel Nevergold
Feb 09, 2012 Mel Nevergold rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All the character talk like a pair of snarky chicks in love with the same guy. Thankfully it's a fantasy novel and the constant fights that would break out if people on the street talked to each other that way, never occur.
Nov 05, 2016 Jaye rated it really liked it
This book continues the adventures of Khaavren and his friends, but also shows the origins of Morrolan, a character known to readers of the Vlad Taltos series, as well as detailing the end of the Interregnum and the rebirth of the Dragaeran Empire.
Much improved from the first book in the trilogy. It’s still overly verbose and self-indulgent, with pointless digressions and a lot of flab, but at least there’s an exciting story lurking under the excess. Worth wading through for fans of the series.
Mary Lauer
Feb 19, 2012 Mary Lauer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
End without a climax, since book #3 lies in the wings. I can't wait to see how all these threads are wrapped up!
Rachel Rogers
Aug 30, 2007 Rachel Rogers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it! Couldn't wait for more!
May 18, 2015 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good story, continuing to fill in the back story on the events and characters that feature in the Vladimir Taltos books but the story seems to almost drown in its own prose at times.
Dec 31, 2015 Cal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Paarfi of Roundwood is a hoot!
Apr 30, 2012 Alex rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I enjoy the faux-scholarly tone, but it's getting old.
DeAnna Knippling
A reread.


This one held up better for me than the first.
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Steven Karl Zoltán Brust (born November 23, 1955) is an American fantasy and science fiction author of Hungarian descent. He was a member of the writers' group The Scribblies, which included Emma Bull, Pamela Dean, Will Shetterly, Nate Bucklin, Kara Dalkey, and Patricia Wrede, and also belongs to the Pre-Joycean Fellowship.

(Photo by David Dyer-Bennet)
More about Steven Brust...

Other Books in the Series

The Khaavren Romances (5 books)
  • The Phoenix Guards (Khaavren Romances, #1)
  • Five Hundred Years After (Khaavren Romances, #2)
  • The Paths of the Dead (Khaavren Romances, #3: The Viscount of Adrilankha, #1)
  • Sethra Lavode (Khaavren Romances, #3: The Viscount of Adrilankha, #3)

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