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Dissolution: War of the Spider Queen, Book 1    by Richard Lee Byers order for
by Richard Lee Byers
Order:  USA  Can
Wizards of the Coast, 2003 (2002)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* *   Reviewed by Belle Dessler

This first novel in the Forgotten Realms War of the Spider Queen series sets the scene for an epic set of stories with genuine dungeons and dragons flare. Inspired by the ever-popular R. A. Salvatore, Dissolution plunges the reader into the murky yet intriguing world of dark elves.

With their homeland seemingly ready to implode from internal strife, the city of Menzoberranzan is in the hands of a few select dark elves. The matrons, usually able to keep the men in check, are losing control of their Houses as an alarming number of males abandon their homes to seek their destiny elsewhere. Are these disappearances simply a sign of discontent, or the beginning of a much more alarming situation for the entire dark elf race?

Pharaun, a dark elf wizard, and his sidekick Ryld are well-developed, appealing main characters. While this book is not for the faint of heart, it convincingly delves into the psyche of a race that's always been described as cruel, murderous and vicious in fantasy lore.

Richard Lee Byers takes the foundation laid out by R. A. Salvatore in previous novels and brings the drow to life. Though readers unfamiliar with the Forgotten Realms setting may find themselves confused by unfamiliar terminology, fans of the genre will find Dissolution hard to put down.

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