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Five Hundred Years After

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In which our Heroes--Khaavren, Pel, Aerich and Tazendra--are reunited again a mere five centuries later...just in time for an uprising that threatens to destroy the Imperial Orb itself! This is the story of the conspiracy against the Empire that begins in the mean streets of Underside and flourishes in the courtly politics of the Palace where Khaavren has loyally served in In which our Heroes--Khaavren, Pel, Aerich and Tazendra--are reunited again a mere five centuries later...just in time for an uprising that threatens to destroy the Imperial Orb itself! This is the story of the conspiracy against the Empire that begins in the mean streets of Underside and flourishes in the courtly politics of the Palace where Khaavren has loyally served in the Guards this past half-millennium. It is the tale of the Dragonlord Adron's overweening schemes, of his brilliant daughter Aliers, and the eldritch Sethra Lavode. And it is the tale of four boon companions, of love, and of revenge...a tale from the history of Dragaera, of the events that changed the world!


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In which our Heroes--Khaavren, Pel, Aerich and Tazendra--are reunited again a mere five centuries later...just in time for an uprising that threatens to destroy the Imperial Orb itself! This is the story of the conspiracy against the Empire that begins in the mean streets of Underside and flourishes in the courtly politics of the Palace where Khaavren has loyally served in In which our Heroes--Khaavren, Pel, Aerich and Tazendra--are reunited again a mere five centuries later...just in time for an uprising that threatens to destroy the Imperial Orb itself! This is the story of the conspiracy against the Empire that begins in the mean streets of Underside and flourishes in the courtly politics of the Palace where Khaavren has loyally served in the Guards this past half-millennium. It is the tale of the Dragonlord Adron's overweening schemes, of his brilliant daughter Aliers, and the eldritch Sethra Lavode. And it is the tale of four boon companions, of love, and of revenge...a tale from the history of Dragaera, of the events that changed the world!

30 review for Five Hundred Years After

  1. 5 out of 5

    Melissa McShane

    I'm upping my rating to five stars upon re-reading this sequel to The Phoenix Guards, mostly because this time I more fully appreciated Brust's genius in fitting his invented history of the Dragaeran Empire to the framework of Dumas' novels. Where The Phoenix Guards was a wild, carefree romp of an adventure, this book has a more composed pace and is more serious in its plot. There's still action and swordplay and revenge, but the background is the end of the reign of the Phoenix Emperor and the I'm upping my rating to five stars upon re-reading this sequel to The Phoenix Guards, mostly because this time I more fully appreciated Brust's genius in fitting his invented history of the Dragaeran Empire to the framework of Dumas' novels. Where The Phoenix Guards was a wild, carefree romp of an adventure, this book has a more composed pace and is more serious in its plot. There's still action and swordplay and revenge, but the background is the end of the reign of the Phoenix Emperor and the plotting and revolution that surround it. More familiar characters appear: not only our friends Khaavren, Aerich, Tazendra, and Pel, but people from the Vlad Taltos novels. I adored the relationship between Sethra Lavode and Aliera e'Kieron (and their constant state of nearly dueling each other); I was excited to meet the mysterious assassin Mario, whose name is famous in Vlad's time; and of course there's Adron e'Kieron, Aliera's father and putative savior of the Empire. Brust is so good at bringing characters to life with only a few words it always astonishes me. Even the very minor characters have personality. But, of course, it's the main characters I care about most. Khaavren, five hundred years older than in the first book (obviously) has changed in ways that make perfect sense; he's no longer the hothead he was, but has responsibilities and cares, particularly in how he guards the Emperor (who the reader knows isn't particularly worthy of Khaavren's care). I was sad at first when it turned out the four friends weren't close anymore, but that changes quickly, and Brust does a fantastic job of putting them all in positions where they are occasionally at odds and more often working together. I wish I'd read Dumas' book Twenty Years After to know in what ways this book parallels that one. But I don't really care, because what interests me is the story of the events leading to Adron's Disaster and the Interregnum, and this book delivers. It left me eager to continue on to the third book (which is three volumes, as per Dumas again) even though I've read it before.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Robin Hobb

    Did you ever read The Three Musketeers? And did you then (as I did) go on to read all the sequels. Steven Brust and I share a deep love of Dumas. It's reflected in this book. Did you ever read The Three Musketeers? And did you then (as I did) go on to read all the sequels. Steven Brust and I share a deep love of Dumas. It's reflected in this book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chris Bauer

    "I have read Five Hundred Years After by Steven Brust. I understand you wish to hear of it." "I would like nothing more. Please tell me of it." "Yes. I shall give you my review now." "I am listening, Reviewer." I've been reading about the exploits of Vlad Taltos since I was in high school back in the late 80's. If anything, each book is more subtle and nuanced than one before it. Five Hundred Years After was written almost a decade ago but works well as a sequel to Phonenix Guards. While Vlad doesn' "I have read Five Hundred Years After by Steven Brust. I understand you wish to hear of it." "I would like nothing more. Please tell me of it." "Yes. I shall give you my review now." "I am listening, Reviewer." I've been reading about the exploits of Vlad Taltos since I was in high school back in the late 80's. If anything, each book is more subtle and nuanced than one before it. Five Hundred Years After was written almost a decade ago but works well as a sequel to Phonenix Guards. While Vlad doesn't make an appearance in this work, the look/feel/world-building elements are present and accounted for. Brust has an amazing talent for dialogue, misdirection and layering complex plot circles on top of themselves. The patterns of speech, tone and other factors make it worth studying just to see how he pulls off some of his tricks. If you have not yet read his work, you'd be doing yourself a favor by checking out any of his titles.

  4. 5 out of 5

    This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For

    Whether you like this book or not is very dependent on how much you can deal with a rather overwhelming parody joke. The following is an example of a typical piece of dialogue: "I have an idea!" "An idea?" "Yes, an idea." "And is it a good idea?" "I believe it is in fact a very splendid idea." "I would be ever so honored if you would share this idea with me." "Than I shall do so." "I cannot but wait." "I shall begin ahence." "As soon as you are ready." "Here then, is the idea..." This book was written in th Whether you like this book or not is very dependent on how much you can deal with a rather overwhelming parody joke. The following is an example of a typical piece of dialogue: "I have an idea!" "An idea?" "Yes, an idea." "And is it a good idea?" "I believe it is in fact a very splendid idea." "I would be ever so honored if you would share this idea with me." "Than I shall do so." "I cannot but wait." "I shall begin ahence." "As soon as you are ready." "Here then, is the idea..." This book was written in the "don't say anything in one sentence which you could say in fifteen" style. This is not to criticize, the author, however, since this was a very deliberate effort to parody the writing and style of Alexandre Dumas (I personally don't recall Dumas being so tedious, but it has been many years since I've read something of his). The title of the book, in fact, is a reference to the second of the Three Musketeer's novels ("20 Years After"), although the plot is not particularly related. It is in fact the written view of Adron's Disaster (for those familiar with the Taltos universe), told from the point of view (more of less) of the four characters first introduced in the The Phoenix Guards. If you can get past the...er...fullness of the dialogue, then you might enjoy this story, although I don't think it really holds up to the better Taltos novels. If the little sample I invented is already driving you nuts, than this is one series to definitely skip.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Genna

    Sort of like Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (though this book isn't anything like that one) or like The Series of Unfortunate Events (not like those either) I loved this book BECAUSE of the pedantic and fictional author. I loved every aside where the narrator would pause to explain to you that he wasn't going to waste your time by describing the horses to you because they weren't historically relevant, that other authors would try to fill pages with descriptions of horses' billowing manes or s Sort of like Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (though this book isn't anything like that one) or like The Series of Unfortunate Events (not like those either) I loved this book BECAUSE of the pedantic and fictional author. I loved every aside where the narrator would pause to explain to you that he wasn't going to waste your time by describing the horses to you because they weren't historically relevant, that other authors would try to fill pages with descriptions of horses' billowing manes or slender ankles or noble countenances but HE wouldn't stoop to such tactics. I loved how he went on for pages about all of the things about horses he wouldn't waste your time by explaining to you because HE, unlike those others, is a Serious Historian. And also, more than that, I loved that women are treated as equals to men. The random guard is as likely to be a woman as a man. The hot-headed warrior unmatched in duels could be of any gender. Women, in these books, are as motivated by honor as the men, and the men are as desirous of a good marriage as the women and that, in fantasy, is a rare and precious thing. And this book shows rather than tells, which is also a wonderful thing. (Note: The first book in this series is The Phoenix Guards. This is the second book.)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rich

    Book number two of my chronological rereading of Brust's books set in Dragaera as the four heroes of The Phoenix Guard return for more fast paced adventure. Barely a chapter passes without people taking passes at each other with swords in duels, battles or street fights. The swashbuckling and entertaining formally polite dialog from the first book is still there, but the some of the lightness and fun is missing this time around. I believe that this is because the bulk of the fun in the first boo Book number two of my chronological rereading of Brust's books set in Dragaera as the four heroes of The Phoenix Guard return for more fast paced adventure. Barely a chapter passes without people taking passes at each other with swords in duels, battles or street fights. The swashbuckling and entertaining formally polite dialog from the first book is still there, but the some of the lightness and fun is missing this time around. I believe that this is because the bulk of the fun in the first book was due to the camaraderie and banter between the four friends. In this book the friends aren't all together in a single place until very late in the novel. Also, the tone of the book seems darker as well, with the plot revolving around revenge, murders, rebellion and assassination. This doesn't mean that 500 Years After wasn't fun to read, but it does mean it was less fun than Guard. Regardless, it's vintage Brust, and it was a pleasure to revisit the novel.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Stig Edvartsen

    I loved this book as much as its predecessor. The book is brimful with love for Dumas, D'Artagnan and the three musketeers and pays homage to "Twenty Years After" by Dumas without copying the plot. There's nary a cardinal in sight. A good portion of the love is shown in the way Brust plays with the voice of the author, in this case personified in the historian Paarfi, a somewhat huffy and wordy historian who may be overstating his own terseness at some length. Brust's enthusiasm when he plays wi I loved this book as much as its predecessor. The book is brimful with love for Dumas, D'Artagnan and the three musketeers and pays homage to "Twenty Years After" by Dumas without copying the plot. There's nary a cardinal in sight. A good portion of the love is shown in the way Brust plays with the voice of the author, in this case personified in the historian Paarfi, a somewhat huffy and wordy historian who may be overstating his own terseness at some length. Brust's enthusiasm when he plays with the author's voice and with language makes this book, but the swashbuckling, intricate plotting and delightful asides ensures that this will become a book readers will come back to. Much to her dismay I repeatedly read potions of the book out loud to my significantly better and frequently interrupted half, making concentration hard when binge-watching Danish historical comedy. By way of apology I will ensure family-sharing is enabled on my kindle.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Chy

    " 'Don't tell them that I meant well.' " Oh, the layers! In just that one line! For a reader all caught up on the Vlad series, this is freaking gold. All of it. Caught up on even a little of the Vlad series, you know how this books ends, and who lives through it, but it is outstanding to see them leading up to it, and to see just how they live through it. Just...awesome (or, if you prefer, amazing) all the way through. " 'Don't tell them that I meant well.' " Oh, the layers! In just that one line! For a reader all caught up on the Vlad series, this is freaking gold. All of it. Caught up on even a little of the Vlad series, you know how this books ends, and who lives through it, but it is outstanding to see them leading up to it, and to see just how they live through it. Just...awesome (or, if you prefer, amazing) all the way through.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tasula

    loved Phoenix Guards and this sequel

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jefferson

    There's not much else to say, except: I loved this book. I loved the previous book, The Phoenix Guards, of which this is the sequel. I loved the wordplay, I loved the character development, I loved the narrative interjections, and I loved the attention to detail in the story itself. The only thing I did NOT love was that I had a busy work schedule that kept me from reading this as quickly as I would have liked. Five Hundred Years After is the kind of novel that you can only get in a long series w There's not much else to say, except: I loved this book. I loved the previous book, The Phoenix Guards, of which this is the sequel. I loved the wordplay, I loved the character development, I loved the narrative interjections, and I loved the attention to detail in the story itself. The only thing I did NOT love was that I had a busy work schedule that kept me from reading this as quickly as I would have liked. Five Hundred Years After is the kind of novel that you can only get in a long series with an author who is both a great stylist and unafraid to take narrative risks... because the whole premise of this book is built on style and a narrative risk. The style: an homage to Alexandre Dumas, with description and dialogue appropriate to a mid-19th century romance. This could get tedious, but Brust avoids that by 1) having the narrator step in with humor whenever things start to drag, and 2) never condescending to parody the style. Brust might make jokes at the characters' (and the narrator's) expense, he might make jokes at the READERS' expense, but he never, never makes fun of the style itself. It is easy to be arch, clever, and twee when playing with style, but Brust's love of the style is genuine and that sincerity elevates the novel above pastiche. Narrative Risk: The Phoenix Guards is loosely based on The Three Musketeers, and Five Hundred Years After is even more loosely based on the sequel, Twenty Years After (so I'm told... I didn't know Three Musketeers had a sequel until now!) This is a historical fiction novel set in the fantasy world of Dragaera. Jo Walton points out (in her excellent book of essays, What Makes This Book So Great) that a writer of historical fiction assumes certain knowledge of events, and the reader expects certain plot points to occur: a novel set during American Revolution, for example, would almost certainly involve George Washington, Ben Franklin, and a trip to Philadelphia in major or minor points. But here, the "big event," Adron's Disaster and the events leading up to it, are unknown unless you have read Brust's OTHER series set in Dragaera, the Vlad Taltos novels, and even then it is referred to obliquely, as an event in the distant past. So: a novel that is a sequel to a novel, both an homage to another novel and its sequel, about a fictional historical event that you would know nothing about unless you read another 14 book series. *whew* And yet... it works, and works grandly. Returning to the heroes from the first book, Pel, Tazendra, Aerich, and of course Khaavren, was a pleasure. The plot, a series of conspiracies and rebellions in the corrupt reign of a foolish emperor, was engaging. The ending, culminating in the aforementioned Adron's Disaster, was satisfying. And the door is left cracked for the next three (!!!) novels in this sub-series. One more thing, as if all that wasn't enough to cement my affection for this book: apparently Paarvi, the Dragaeran author of The Phoenix Guards and Five Hundred Years After, has been stung by criticism that his first novel was not historically accurate. As the narrator, he takes great pains to point out, in increasingly plaintive and bitter asides, his methods and reasons for presenting the historical facts in this fashion. He even goes as far as to point out when he is leaving information out that he was not able to confirm, i.e. (and I'm paraphrasing here) "The reader may notice that the fate of the runaway horses is not made plain. The author was unable to discover what, in fact, became of them, nor do they have any further bearing on the activities of our friends." What fun!!!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Aelvana

    Despite the promising beginnings of friendship, Khaavren is the only one of his four comrades left in the Phoenix Guard. He's been alone for hundreds of years, growing quieter, but still strongly committed to his duty. The Empire has been suffering from the neglect (and foolishness) of the Emperor, but as conspiracies threaten to unravel the kingdom, Khaavren determines to do what he must to protect his king and his country. Even if it does set him at odds with old friends. This was more interest Despite the promising beginnings of friendship, Khaavren is the only one of his four comrades left in the Phoenix Guard. He's been alone for hundreds of years, growing quieter, but still strongly committed to his duty. The Empire has been suffering from the neglect (and foolishness) of the Emperor, but as conspiracies threaten to unravel the kingdom, Khaavren determines to do what he must to protect his king and his country. Even if it does set him at odds with old friends. This was more interesting to me than The Phoenix Guards. Knowing the end from the beginning---that Adron's Disaster is the focus of the book---lends a certain tragedy to the whole affair. This is echoed in Khaavren himself, who started The Phoenix Guards by stumbling into a set of fast friends, but who starts this one alone. He alone remained in the Phoenix Guards, he alone has found neither friend nor spouse nor obsession to replace them, and he has tempered his original enthusiasm with almost a melancholy devotion to his duty. Even when the circumstances bring him back together with his old friends, his duties hold them apart. Khaavren's job is to carry out the will of an Emperor whose decisions are increasingly worsening the situation instead of improving it. Although he's also influential enough, in his own way, to push for better courses of actions when he can. This is also funny on a number of levels. For one, the assassination attempts against Khaavren. It's a continual source of frustration to the powers that want him dead, and an amusing experience for the reader, who can see how little Khaavren expects any of them, yet how perfectly the situations work out in his favor. I also thought it was fun how he meets Daro, and what attracts him to her (she gets fired). All in all, this book covers an interesting period of history in the Dragaeran Empire, one referenced a number of times in the Vlad books, but would stand alone just fine. I rate this book Recommended. See my reviews and more at https://offtheshelfreviews.wordpress....

  12. 5 out of 5

    Psychophant

    Brust continues the Three Musketeers pastiche in this book, a sequel that absolutely requires that you read the preceding book in the series. A bit like the book it was modeled after, Twenty years after, it is moodier and darker than its predecessor. However in my opinion Brust does not give enough "play time" to the characters we (readers) like, while spending too much time on the less likeable ones. That makes parts of the book a bit heavy going, and its size and its overblown language does not Brust continues the Three Musketeers pastiche in this book, a sequel that absolutely requires that you read the preceding book in the series. A bit like the book it was modeled after, Twenty years after, it is moodier and darker than its predecessor. However in my opinion Brust does not give enough "play time" to the characters we (readers) like, while spending too much time on the less likeable ones. That makes parts of the book a bit heavy going, and its size and its overblown language does not help. There are still moments of witty repartee and adventure, intrigue and emotion, but padded with the daily routine of secondary characters and guidebook descriptions. Maybe the main character's life has become dull, but there is no need to wallow so much in the dull parts. The book also presents some characters from the Taltos series in a different light, and what is presented here influences how they are presented in later Taltos books. Somehow I find this vision of poweful characters more believable.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    This is the follow up to the Pheonix Guards. It is an equally strong story in its own right but would lack emotional impact for readers who did not start the story at the begining. The series continues it's high heroisim and light plot with warmth humor and a genuine feeling of freindship amoung the "cast." This is the follow up to the Pheonix Guards. It is an equally strong story in its own right but would lack emotional impact for readers who did not start the story at the begining. The series continues it's high heroisim and light plot with warmth humor and a genuine feeling of freindship amoung the "cast."

  14. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    I loved The Phoenix Guards and Five Hundred Years After. I just was endlessly pleased with the ridiculous way they all spoke, and the way the "historian" constantly apologized for the story. One of my favorites of Steven Brust's, and I like them all. I loved The Phoenix Guards and Five Hundred Years After. I just was endlessly pleased with the ridiculous way they all spoke, and the way the "historian" constantly apologized for the story. One of my favorites of Steven Brust's, and I like them all.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Tollefson

    Third time reading this one and still excellent. There's nothing I don't like about it, and the little author interviewer the end is such fun, Brust interviewing Paarfi. I like Dumas, and so I smile at Paarfi's long windedness, which Brust manages to make perfectly serious while at the same time tongue in cheek. He really is quite brilliant. And all the while building characters who become so real I feel as if I have actually met them and know some quite intimately. Third time reading this one and still excellent. There's nothing I don't like about it, and the little author interviewer the end is such fun, Brust interviewing Paarfi. I like Dumas, and so I smile at Paarfi's long windedness, which Brust manages to make perfectly serious while at the same time tongue in cheek. He really is quite brilliant. And all the while building characters who become so real I feel as if I have actually met them and know some quite intimately.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Devon H.

    Woooooooo boy what a whopper. We get our friends back for the plot leading up to, and including, Adron’s Disaster (in which a certain Jhereg gets out blame-free even though he arguably is half to blame) and the start of the Interregnum. Whomp whomp. A good story, though, and yep, that flowery language is back. Brust is cackling away, I’m sure.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Karly

    The enormity of this story coupled with the personal and very human focus on the characters quite possibly makes this my favorite of Brust’s works. While it builds toward what we’ve all known is the inevitable Disaster, it does so in a character-driven way that personalizes this “history” and makes the work so compelling.

  18. 4 out of 5

    C is for **censored**

    The star rating given reflects my opinion within ‘the official goodreads rating system’. (Notice the two important words... OPINION and RATING) 1 star: Didn’t Like it 2 stars: It’s Okay 3 stars: Liked it 4 stars: Really Liked it 5 stars: It Was Amazing I don’t really give a rat-fuck that there are some who think I ‘owe’ an explanation for my opinion. Nope, nada, and not sorry about it. Sometimes I may add notes to explain what my opinions are based on, and sometimes I don’t. I do this for me, on my boo The star rating given reflects my opinion within ‘the official goodreads rating system’. (Notice the two important words... OPINION and RATING) 1 star: Didn’t Like it 2 stars: It’s Okay 3 stars: Liked it 4 stars: Really Liked it 5 stars: It Was Amazing I don’t really give a rat-fuck that there are some who think I ‘owe’ an explanation for my opinion. Nope, nada, and not sorry about it. Sometimes I may add notes to explain what my opinions are based on, and sometimes I don’t. I do this for me, on my books, in my library and I don’t ‘owe’ any special snowflakes a thing. Fuck off if you don’t like it and stop reading my shit. Particularly given the ‘modifications’ to reader’s personal content going on (and outright censorship), unless particularly motivated I will not comment in detail. It would help if GR was forthcoming in the new ‘appropriate’ and would make a site-wide announcement delineating the new focus from a reader-centric site to one that is now for authors and selling.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    Brust returns to the players in the Phoenix Guards who have been apart for 500 years. Fate throws our four heroes together as they set out again to save the empire. This book follows them over the course of two weeks in which the events from 500 years earlier catch up to them and forces are in play that threaten to rip the empire apart and have dire personal consequences. As with the Phoenix Guard. Brust provides a unique way of speaking that at times can interfere with the storytelling but is mo Brust returns to the players in the Phoenix Guards who have been apart for 500 years. Fate throws our four heroes together as they set out again to save the empire. This book follows them over the course of two weeks in which the events from 500 years earlier catch up to them and forces are in play that threaten to rip the empire apart and have dire personal consequences. As with the Phoenix Guard. Brust provides a unique way of speaking that at times can interfere with the storytelling but is mostly just annoying. A little less character development than in the first book, Brust allows the events themselves to overshadow the people as they move through the plots and treacheries that arise. This book could have benefited from an extra 75 to 100 pages to flesh out the court intrigues, the motivations, and the internal conflicts of the characters - you've got to wonder at times why we (or the main characters) should really care what happens to the empire/

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stuart Lutzenhiser

    Modeled roughly on Dumas' Twenty Years After which deals with the Cromwell revolution and how this affected Charles I - this deals with all the events leading up to Adron's disaster (not much of a spoiler since there is a chapter called Adron's Disaster). So, an average person reading this will not be too surprised about the directions the book takes. The only downside of the book is really that since the plot is so focused on a concrete ending that the plot moves without much deviation towards Modeled roughly on Dumas' Twenty Years After which deals with the Cromwell revolution and how this affected Charles I - this deals with all the events leading up to Adron's disaster (not much of a spoiler since there is a chapter called Adron's Disaster). So, an average person reading this will not be too surprised about the directions the book takes. The only downside of the book is really that since the plot is so focused on a concrete ending that the plot moves without much deviation towards that end. Part of the enjoyment of Brust's retelling of Dumas are these deviations. As frustrating as they seem to be for some folks, these are part of what are the most enjoyable pieces to me. Great read if you like these Dumas' pastiches or if you like to see what happened before Vlad wandered onto the scene.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Shannon Appelcline

    Whew! Brust's Khaavren Romances are certainly a different type of book. That's in large part due to the writing style, which can be an acquired taste. It feels pretty slow at first, with its long descriptions and its constant asides, but it gains some nice depth as you grow used to it. The characters are strong, though that's primarily Khaavren, Aliera, and Sethra. Three of the musketeers, Pel, Aerich, and Tazendra, sort of fade into the background, which is a shame. And the story? That's pretty a Whew! Brust's Khaavren Romances are certainly a different type of book. That's in large part due to the writing style, which can be an acquired taste. It feels pretty slow at first, with its long descriptions and its constant asides, but it gains some nice depth as you grow used to it. The characters are strong, though that's primarily Khaavren, Aliera, and Sethra. Three of the musketeers, Pel, Aerich, and Tazendra, sort of fade into the background, which is a shame. And the story? That's pretty amazing. It starts out like any other day, but as the novel proceeds, as the narrative increasingly gains weight, you realize this a really big story, and the end is amazing. This one takes some time and effort to read, but it's a pretty great prelude for the later Vlad Taltos novels, one that really fills in the history of the world while still telling an interesting story all its own.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Clay Kallam

    Steven Brust writes old-fashioned fantasies that are set in a world that is, well, fun. “Five Hundred Years After” (Orb, $15.99, 444 pages) further chronicles the past of the world in which the Vlad Taltos books are set, and is a follow-up to “The Phoenix Guard.” The style is purposefully ornate, and, as Alexander Dumas is one of Brust’s favorite authors, there’s more than a hint of “The Three Musketeers” – with of course the addition of magic and “humans” who live for a thousand years or more. G Steven Brust writes old-fashioned fantasies that are set in a world that is, well, fun. “Five Hundred Years After” (Orb, $15.99, 444 pages) further chronicles the past of the world in which the Vlad Taltos books are set, and is a follow-up to “The Phoenix Guard.” The style is purposefully ornate, and, as Alexander Dumas is one of Brust’s favorite authors, there’s more than a hint of “The Three Musketeers” – with of course the addition of magic and “humans” who live for a thousand years or more. Generally, I avoid reviewing reprints (this first came out in 1994), but Brust is a pleasure to read and his work is a pleasant counterpoint to the dystopias that rule the day in 21st century fantasy.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jaye

    As with the previous book in this series, I remember owning it. I don't remember the plot at all. Following in the mode of Dumas, this book rejoins our heroes five hundred years after the end of The Phoenix Guards. Khaavren is still an ensign in the Guard, whilst Pel has become a student of the Art of Discretion. Aerich and Tazendra have settled in a quiet life of country lord and vassal. All of that changes when forces begin to stir in an attempt to overthrow the Emperor. The plot thickens consi As with the previous book in this series, I remember owning it. I don't remember the plot at all. Following in the mode of Dumas, this book rejoins our heroes five hundred years after the end of The Phoenix Guards. Khaavren is still an ensign in the Guard, whilst Pel has become a student of the Art of Discretion. Aerich and Tazendra have settled in a quiet life of country lord and vassal. All of that changes when forces begin to stir in an attempt to overthrow the Emperor. The plot thickens considerably, leading to the Disaster which was only hinted at in the Vlad Taltos series.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ensiform

    The sequel to The Phoenix Guards. More of the same --- very funny, overly elaborate dialogue, intentionally portentous narration that works well to comedic effect, same great characterization and if anything an even more elaborate original plot. The apocalyptic ending was a true page-turner. I'm glad that Brust is choosing to keep the ex-Guardsmen more friendly (although they do all have different goals) than Dumas did his Musketeers in his first sequel. The romance adds a happy ending to an oth The sequel to The Phoenix Guards. More of the same --- very funny, overly elaborate dialogue, intentionally portentous narration that works well to comedic effect, same great characterization and if anything an even more elaborate original plot. The apocalyptic ending was a true page-turner. I'm glad that Brust is choosing to keep the ex-Guardsmen more friendly (although they do all have different goals) than Dumas did his Musketeers in his first sequel. The romance adds a happy ending to an otherwise altogether shocking and terrible end.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Clay Eshom

    Having read the series, I went back and retread them again, this is one of the few collections that I found worth having available at hand. The characters are interesting and sync well together. The bond built between them allows one to see into what a close relationship could be. The storyline follows a young man in his quest for glory, it entangles him with three others from different walks of life and then matches them against multiple villains over which they prove themselves. Unfortunately i Having read the series, I went back and retread them again, this is one of the few collections that I found worth having available at hand. The characters are interesting and sync well together. The bond built between them allows one to see into what a close relationship could be. The storyline follows a young man in his quest for glory, it entangles him with three others from different walks of life and then matches them against multiple villains over which they prove themselves. Unfortunately it is to the demise of several that proves a great sadness and in a sense relief for two who love but can never complete the cycle from friendship to love.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Another really good book in the Khaavren Romances series. The style is really growing on me, and I am finding myself thinking in it a little bit when I am not paying too much attention to what is happening (i.e. daydreaming). It is nice seeing what happened to cause something that affects everything that has happened during the course of the Vlad Taltos novels. So many things have been mentioned about it, but this is the first time that we have gotten to actually see it. Now to decide whether to s Another really good book in the Khaavren Romances series. The style is really growing on me, and I am finding myself thinking in it a little bit when I am not paying too much attention to what is happening (i.e. daydreaming). It is nice seeing what happened to cause something that affects everything that has happened during the course of the Vlad Taltos novels. So many things have been mentioned about it, but this is the first time that we have gotten to actually see it. Now to decide whether to start on the first part of the next book, or read something else.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Collin

    I love "Five Hundred Years After" every bit as much as I love the "Phoenix Guards", and this is in spite of the fact that I almost always skip past the "Greycat" plotline when I read this book. Even if I just stick with the chapters that cover the exploits of Khaavren, Pel, Tazendra and Aerich the story is completely enjoyable and satisfying. For Vlad fans: the legendary assassin Mario has a supporting role in this story, so there's the added bonus of seeing him in action. I love "Five Hundred Years After" every bit as much as I love the "Phoenix Guards", and this is in spite of the fact that I almost always skip past the "Greycat" plotline when I read this book. Even if I just stick with the chapters that cover the exploits of Khaavren, Pel, Tazendra and Aerich the story is completely enjoyable and satisfying. For Vlad fans: the legendary assassin Mario has a supporting role in this story, so there's the added bonus of seeing him in action.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Michael Coats

    More great writing. All the excitement and thrills of Dumas are wrapped in this tale. The ending is a given; Adron's disaster will destroy the capital, kill thousands, and leave the empire in shambles as the Interregnum begins. The journey to this ending is a wild ride. "Don't tell them that I meant well." More great writing. All the excitement and thrills of Dumas are wrapped in this tale. The ending is a given; Adron's disaster will destroy the capital, kill thousands, and leave the empire in shambles as the Interregnum begins. The journey to this ending is a wild ride. "Don't tell them that I meant well."

  29. 4 out of 5

    Paula

    This is a well-crafted parody/pastiche of the classic literary adventure, so perhaps it deserves a better rating. However, in comparison with Brust's Taltos books it suffers in readability and charm; reading it *five* years or so after, I find it difficult to immerse myself in the plot and characters. I recommend it for one read, maybe two. This is a well-crafted parody/pastiche of the classic literary adventure, so perhaps it deserves a better rating. However, in comparison with Brust's Taltos books it suffers in readability and charm; reading it *five* years or so after, I find it difficult to immerse myself in the plot and characters. I recommend it for one read, maybe two.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kristi Cramer

    How does one explain Five Hundred Years After? I wouldn't know where to start, but I can tell you I really enjoyed this book, and The Phoenix Guard (the events of which are 500 years prior to this book). I love the understated humor. I love the characters. I have to say, I love just about everything Steven Brust writes. How does one explain Five Hundred Years After? I wouldn't know where to start, but I can tell you I really enjoyed this book, and The Phoenix Guard (the events of which are 500 years prior to this book). I love the understated humor. I love the characters. I have to say, I love just about everything Steven Brust writes.

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