The sixth book of the Vlad Taltos series. The book was published in 1993 by Ace Books, and is told in the third person, mostly from the perspective of Savn. There are also minor interludes told from Rocza's perspective.

Athyra and Orca are in print as "The Book of Athyra".

Steven Brust's nickname for this book is "Urethra".

The name "Savn" was apparently an acronym for "Still Another Vlad Novel".

Hamlet QuotesEdit

After a number of readers noted quotations from this book that appeared to be allusions to famous lines from the Shakespeare play Hamlet Brust has confirmed on his blog that there are nine such quotes scattered through the novel; one in each odd-numbered chapter. The following have been identified thus far (with thanks to Mark Mandell for originally compiling this list):

Chapter 1Edit

Savn glanced back at him, but still wasn't certain if he were joking. "It's easy to tell the difference," he said, "When you make the seedblocks and leave them in the coolhouse in barrels, the true, true salad flax will melt--"

     [Ath 10, Chap. 1; BoAth 15]

Hamlet: O, that this too too solid flesh would melt Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!

      [Hamlet, I.ii.131]

(Thanks to Linda G. for the citation.)

Chapter 3Edit


Savn, in response to Vlad's question of whether he has actually seen the Baron (Loraan) in person:

"Certainly. Twice, in fact. He came through here with his retainers, in a big coach, with silver everywhere, and six horses, and a big Athyra embossed in--"

    [Ath, ch 3]

With this:

Osric: The king, sir, hath wagered with him six Barbary horses: against the which he has imponed, as I take it, six French rapiers and poniards, with their assigns, as girdle, hangers, and so: three of the carriages, in faith, are very dear to fancy, very responsive to the hilts, most delicate carriages, and of very liberal conceit.

     [Hamlet V.ii]

Chapter 7Edit

The drink was provided quickly. She smiled her thanks and sipped from whatever she'd been given, nodded approval, and poured some of the liquid over the mouthpiece of the the long black flute. "What's she doing?" whispered Savn. Vlad shrugged. "It must be good for it. She wouldn't wreck her own reed."

     [Ath 93, Chap. 7]

Ophelia: ...But, good my brother, Do not, as some ungracious pastors do, Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven; Whiles, like a puff'd and reckless libertine, Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads, And recks not his own rede. [i.e., does not take his own advice]

      [Hamlet, I.iii.46-51]

(Thanks to Jerry Friedman.)

Chapter 9Edit

The small jhereg was staring at Savn, as if waiting to hear a report of his examination. "The seam itself is but shallow," he said, imitating Master Wag's tones, "yet his scar will go from his knee to his ankle..."

     [Ath 111 (omnibus), Chap. 9]

Hamlet: A dream itself is but a shadow.

     [Hamlet, II.ii]

(Jon Lincicum.)

Chapter 11Edit

"Yes," said the Master, "You may season the cheese. You must not put another Scallion on it."

     [Ath 129(omnibus), Chap. 11]

Polonius: Faith, no; as you may season it in the charge. You must not put another scandal on him

     [Hamlet, II.i]

(Jon Lincicum.)

Chapter 13Edit

[Fird:] "Apples. Apple's the thing. Where with to--"

     [Ath 169, Chap. **]

Hamlet: ... The Play's the thing, Wherein Ile catch the Conscience of the King.

     [Hamlet, II.ii]

(Alexx Kay. Jerry Friedman observed: I suppose that in Fird's bizarre dialect, "apples" is pronounced "ap-plez".)