bookrev: The Spine of the World by R. A. Salvatore
Book XII in the Legend of Drizzt
For once, the series leaves Drizzt behind, and focuses on Wulfgar’s troubles, his drinking and depression spawned from being the prisoner of the demo Urtuu. For a time he is a bouncer in a dive of a bar and becomes friend of the thief rouge Morik (whom dark elves under Jarlaxle’s control have told him to watch over Wulfgar). But he is seen by mates of the ship Sea Sprite, and that eventually leads Captain Deudermont to him. And pirates are stalking Deurdermont; this eventually implicated Wulfgar and Morik into a plot to kill the captain, and they are tortured and only released from the city of Luskan after Deudermont intervenes. Along the way one of the denizens of the bar who has eyes for Wulfgar’s part-time lady Delly steals his warhammer Aegis-fang, thus defining the depths to which Wulgar has plunged.
Exiled from Luskan, Wulfgar finds himself committing the same highwayman crimes that he user to kill giants and others for. He and Morik rob one carriage which holds Merelda, soon to be princess of a small kingdom, and trying to determine a way to hide he out-of-wedlock pregnancy from he future husband the king. She seizes the opportunity and blames Wulfgar, not realizing that he husband would send a wizard out to capture Wulfgar and bring him to trial.
The rest of the plot is better left to spoilers, but Wulfgar comes to his senses. Unfortunately, his coming to his senses and the ending of the story have a Disney-esque quality to them that is somewhat un-satisfying.
While I’m glad to see a story that strays away from the normal “Drizzt and Wulfgar kick everyone’s butt” plot, the ending, though it does certainly set up (I assume) many plot lines for the future is much too neat and tidy…all of the main characters make bad choices, but “it’s ok, everything turns out in the end”.
I’m quite interested to read the next one, Servant of the Shard, which should bring Jarlaxle, who is the most complex and unknown character of the series.