Matt Simmons's Reviews > Teckla

Teckla by Steven Brust
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May 25, 12


I've been a big fan of Steven Brust since literally middle school. The world he creates here and in the Khaavren books is complex and enjoyable.

But to this book--of the three Taltos books I've read thus far, this if my favorite. Whereas the other two are rollicking, page-turning mobster novels that manage, somehow, to be more than just pulp (or, to perhaps be the best kind of pulp, in combining multiple genres of pulp with intoxicating writing that just blends into a smart, exceptionally well-wrought story), Teckla is an exploration of a man's trying to define loyalty. To what, or to whom, are we loyal? And why? Brust, whose politics are Old Left, sets up a class struggle here--but shows it to be incredibly messy, on both sides.

Vlad's psychological depth and evolution as a character continues, and I, like a lot of other Brust fans, am increasingly coming to think of Vlad as one of the great characters of fantasy literature. Real depth here, and some great storytelling. The out-of-kilter chronological order of the Taltos series makes this readable to anyone, not just those who have followed the series up to this point.

On the note of chronology--as a person who came to the later-written, but chronologically first, Khaavren books, I'm constantly amazed at how well-wrought Brust's world is. Characters from that series show up here, and knowing what Brust would do with them a decade later, and how he keeps everything tied together so neatly, well, that's just impressive, and reveals Brust to be a great creator of a complex and lovely fantasy world.
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