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Iorich: Vlad Taltos    by Steven Brust order for
by Steven Brust
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2011 (2010)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Iorich follows Jhegaala as the twelfth in Steven Brust's engaging Dragaeran fantasy series starring smart alec Easterner (human) antihero Vlad Taltos, who operates in a realm where his kind form a despised minority. Non-human Dragaerans are organized into competing Houses, each with its own rules and characteristics.

Vlad, a legendary assassin, is partnered by jhereg Loiosh (a small, poisonous, and totally loyal reptile with a peculiar sense of humor) and the latter's mate Rocza. In Jhegaala, Vlad fled east in search of his maternal roots, House Jhereg assassins in hot pursuit.

As Iorich opens, Vlad learns that Aliera has been arrested for practicing elder sorcery - with the possibility of a death sentence. Though she has powerful friends - formidable Dragonlord Morrolan, Sethra the Necromancer, Dragon Heir Norathar and the Empress Zerika herself - no-one is acting on Aliera's behalf. In fact, it was the Empress who had her close friend arrested - it seems linked to the slaughter of peasants in the remote village of Tirma.

Though the imperial city of Adrilankha is not a safe place for Vlad, his jhereg watch for danger. He meets with the very proud Aliera (who refuses all help), the Empress, Morrolan, and Sethra, and begins to get a sense of what has led to this impasse. He also hires a lawyer, Perisil, for Aliera and manipulates her into accepting his services. And he visits his wife Cawti and his growing son, Vlad Norathar.

Vlad sniffs out a nasty plot, involving both the Right and Left Hands of the Jhereg, to manipulate Imperial politics. As always he saves the day - and his friend - but manages to get himself into trouble. Luckily he has a good advocate at hand in Perisil. I look forward to more of Vlad's adventures - and I'm in luck as Tiassa (number thirteen) was just released.

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