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The Halfling's Gem (Forgotten Realms: The Icewind Dale Trilogy, Book 3) by R. a. Salvatore

The end of the second volume leads right into the third. As the companions escaped from Mithral Hall, Regis fell into the clutches of Artemis Entreri, the deadly assassin hired by the leader of the thieves’ guild in Calimport of whom Regis had run afoul. Furthermore, Entreri gained possession of the statuette that conjures the black panther Guenhwyvar, Drizzt’s faithful extra-planar companion. Saddened by the loss of Bruenor and now Regis, Drizzt and Wulfgar resolve to track down the assassin to his lair and rescue their friend, while Catti-Brie is grimly determined to finish Bruenor’s quest and retake Mithral Hall from the duergars.

After the excitement of volume two, there is a bit of a let-down. After all, the action doesn’t really pick up until Drizzt and Wulfgar near the end of their destination. After that, all hell breaks loose, literally. What follows is non-stop action. The party must survive an ambush in the city sewers, find an exit through the trap-filled thieves’ guild, and escape from an an astral plane filled with bloodthirsty demons. All the while, Drizzt is drawn inexorably toward a confrontation with Entreri, who’s his equal in every physical aspect and martial skill, yet is his polar opposite in spirit and morality. As expected, Drizzt’s duel with Entreri is the highlight of the story, though unfortunately it ends without a resolution. Drizzt’s emotional saga continues, as he struggles to be comfortable with his physical appearance, and succeeds in gaining a small measure of acceptance by the nobility of his actions. Yes, the dour ranger may be capable of even love, as the little confession from Catti-Brie seems to indicate. Die-hard Drizzt fans may not want to miss the moment he plants a wet kiss on Catti-Brie’s lips, though whether she is aware of it is unclear.

As serious as the story seems, RA Salvatore’s naming scheme may need a little more work. Many of the names are original, but some, like Wulfgar, Alustriel, Morkai, etc. come off as a little generic. Drizzt’s name for his scimitar, “Twinkle”, hardly befits a deadly weapon. I hope his nickname for Guenhwyvar isn’t “Pussycat”. My last complaint has to do with the “battle” for Mithral Hall. That’s just it, there is no battle. I had looked forward to seeing the combined forces of barbarians, dwarves, and wizards rout the despised duergars. Instead, the author seems to have run out of his page quota and only devotes a few brief passages to the party’s triumphant return to Mithral Hall. Somewhat disappointing, but I suppose by this time the book will already have fulfilled its purpose.

While this book doesn’t quite measure up to Streams of Silver, congratulations for putting this series under your belt. Now you can join Drizzt Do’Urden in his next exciting adventure, be it in Menzoberranzan or Faerun. If you don’t feel intrigued with Drizzt after having read this series, I’m a bearded gnome.

Originally posted March 13, 2003 on Amazon.com