Sunday, August 3, 2014

ROAD OF THE PATRIARCH by R.A. Salvatore


Road of the Patriarch 
(Sellswords Trilogy #3)
by R.A. Salvatore

Pairing an intense, usually objective-driven character with a flamboyant, slightly reckless character leads to a lot of adventures that wouldn't otherwise happen, especially on the part of Artemis Entreri. I was intrigued by his character when he appeared in the Drizzt series as the noble dark elf's relentless adversary. What else was there to his character, I wondered. I was curious about the sort of past that would create a lone individual who prefers to identify himself with his weapon skills than other attributes. 

I'm not the only Artemis fangirl.
Credit: Yoski

Among the books in The Sellswords trilogy, this one is the juiciest in terms of getting to know Entreri's past. The novel begins with a teaser into his childhood but it doesn't resurface until the latter half of the novel. The first half focuses more on Jarlaxle's imperialistic antics, which drive the story forward but feel a bit pointless and cumbersome in Road of the Patriarch. Despite all the action scenes during Gareth's invasion of Entreri's "castle", I was actually pretty bored with this part and didn't really see how it was necessary, aside from Jarlaxle's pet project getting them kicked out of the land. However, it was cool to see Entreri face off against the well-intentioned King Gareth in a philosophical debate about righteous claims to kinghood. 

Entreri's decision to pursue his "ghosts" is an impulsive decision, influenced by the magical flute that Jarlaxle encourages him to play. My issue with the magical flute is that it's an obvious plot device to inject character development into a character that's tough as a rock. It felt a bit too artificial and easy, and I felt that since the catalyst for Entreri's emotional growth was a physical objected, the effects would only last so long before it was either taken away from him or smashed. 

I can understand the benefits of having a static character, and it looks like Salvatore wanted to keep Entreri from becoming a completely different person. A lot of readers like the character for the way he is--ruthless, smart, and with a potential for tenderness buried somewhere within. And granted, he's in his forties--by now, his personality and life views are set firmly as opposed to the way it'd be for a youth unsure of his role in the world. 


In the latter half of the novel, we get to see a closeup of Memnon, the town that Artemis grew up in. The descriptions of the unchanging state of poverty and ignorance in the town created a vivid image in my mind, as well as a sense of indignation at the religious cleric who exploited these qualities of the poor to take their gold in return for "prayers". The closure that Entreri pursued in his hometown ended in a satisfactory way for me. 


Ultimately, I thought this was a great conclusion to the trilogy. The imperialistic ventures into Gareth's realm weren't the most interesting to me because none of the minor characters were that eye catching besides Gareth and his moral dilemma. Jarlaxle's manipulative schemes make things a lot more interesting (and occasionally infuriatingly complicated) than they would be with Entreri's tendency to pursue objectives directly. I loved the exploration of Entreri's past and getting to know what he hides from. Jarlaxle and Entreri cross roads (separately) in R.A. Salvatore's newer series, the Neverwinter Saga

My rating:


Road of the Patriarch 
(Sellswords Trilogy #3)
by R.A. Salvatore
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