Copied from Steven Brust 14:49, 14 Jul 2005 (UTC), with updates from 20:57, 20 July 2006

A portrait of the author in 2006.

Steven Karl Zoltán Brust (born November 23, 1955) is an American fantasy and science fiction author of Hungarian descent. He was a member of the writers' group The Scribblies, which included Nate Bucklin, Emma Bull, Kara Dalkey, Pamela Dean, Will Shetterly, and Patricia Wrede, and also belongs to the Pre-Joycean Fellowship.

He is best known for his novels about the assassin Vlad Taltos. His novels have been translated into German, Russian, Polish, Dutch, Czech, French and Hebrew, as of 2006. Agyar in particular has two different French translations. Most of his short stories are in shared-world universes. These include Emma Bull's and Will Shetterley's Liavek, Robert Asprin's Thieves' World, Neil Gaiman's Sandman and Terri Windling's Borderland Series.

The Dragaeran booksEdit

The Taltos series is set on another world (possibly another planet), in an empire mostly inhabited by the Dragaerans, who are humanoid but have such differences as greatly-extended lifespans, and heights averaging about 7 feet. Referred to as "elfs" by some humans, they refer to themselves as "human". Vlad Taltos is one of the human minority (known by Dragaerans as "Easterners") and practices the human art of witchcraft ("táltos" is Hungarian for a kind of supernatural person in folklore). Though human, he is a citizen of the empire because his social-climber father paid a lot of money to be adopted into one of the Dragaeran Great Houses. The only Great House that sells memberships this way is, not coincidentally, also the one that maintains a criminal organization, which Vlad joins. Despite being a human and a criminal, Vlad has a number of high-ranking Dragaeran friends, and often gets caught up in important events.

Brust has written eleven novels in the series, which is proposed to run to nineteen novels - one named for each of the Great Houses, one named for Vlad himself, and a final novel which Brust has said will be titled The Last Contract. The first three novels resemble private-eye detective stories, perhaps the closest being Raymond Chandler or Robert B. Parker's works. The later novels are more varied than the first three. Though they read like fantasy, there are hints at science-fictional explanations for some things.

Brust has also written another series set in Dragaera, but centuries before Vlad's time. As Dragaerans live for thousands of years, many characters appear in both series. It is partly an homage to Alexandre Dumas's novels about the Three Musketeers, and is five (or possibly three) volumes long, following the pattern of Dumas's series. The books are presented as historical novels written by Paarfi of Roundwood, a Dragaeran roughly contemporary with Vlad. Paarfi's old-fashioned, elaborate, and highly-verbose style is explicitly based on Dumas's. (For additional information see Narrators and Inconsistencies.)

There is a certain amount of variation in the writing style amongst the Taltos novels as well. Brust uses a different narrative approach in almost every novel in the series. Some of these approaches are more purely stylistic and, though enjoyable, have minor effects on the actual story-telling; some are profound and involve the point-of-view of characters whom the reader never expected to get to know so well.

Further, as the writing of the Taltos novels has spanned over two decades, they have been influenced by events in Steven Brust's own life. A fascination with the Mafia — subsequently brought into a somewhat shocking perspective by the murder of a friend — profoundly influenced his storylines, as did the breakup of his marriage.

Lastly, it should be noted that Brust has a decided knack for slipping absorbing mysteries into the minor details of his stories; mysteries that tend to fascinate his readers, once they notice them, and often form the kernel around which later books coalesce, even though their resolution still springs upon the reader unexpectedly when it finally comes.


The same character, usually a cute brown-eyed girl of about nine, appears as a motif in all of Brust's novels. In the Dragaeran books her name is Devera. She is the (future) daughter of another character and seems to be able to appear anywhere in time and space. In Brust's non-Dragaeran books she usually appears briefly, and it is not always obvious where she appears.


(partial - book-length works only)



Short storiesEdit

  • "An Act of Contrition" in Liavek (1985, edited by Emma Bull and Will Shetterly; Locus Poll Award, Best Anthology)
  • "An Act of Trust" in Liavek: The Players of Luck (1986, edited by Emma Bull and Will Shetterly)
  • "A Dream of Passion" in the convention chapbook for Ad Astra (1986)
  • "An Act of Mercy" in Liavek: Wizard's Row (1987, with Megan Lindholm; edited by Emma Bull and Will Shetterly)
  • "An Act of Love" in Liavek: Spells of Binding (1988, with Gregory Frost and Megan Lindholm; edited by Emma Bull and Will Shetterly)
  • "Csucskari" (Excerpt from The Sun, The Moon, and the Stars) in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: First Annual Collection (1988, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling)
  • "A Hot Night at Cheeky's" in Liavek: Festival Week (1990, edited by Emma Bull and Will Shetterly)
  • "Looking Forward: Excerpt from Athyra" in Amazing Stories, March 1993 (1993, edited by Kim Mohan)
  • "Attention Shoppers" in Xanadu (1993, edited by Jane Yolen)
  • "Drift" in Space Opera (1996, edited by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough)
  • "Valosag and Elet" in Sandman: Book of Dreams (1996, edited by Neil Gaiman and Edward E. Kramer)
  • "Calling Pittsburgh" in Lord of the Fantastic: Stories in Honor of Roger Zelazny (1998, edited by Martin H. Greenberg)
  • "When the Bow Breaks" in The Essential Bordertown (1998, edited by Terri Windling and Delia Sherman)
  • "The Man From Shemhaza" in Thieves' World: Enemies of Fortune (2004, edited by Lynn Abbey)
  • "The Man From Shemhaza" in Year's Best Fantasy 5 (2005, edited by David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer; story reprint)
  • "Klava with Honey" in Eeriecon Chapbook #4 for the convention Eeriecon (2005, via the Buffalo Fantasy League)
  • "Chapter One" in Eeriecon Chapbook #6 for the convention Eeriecon (2007, via the Buffalo Fantasy League)

External linksEdit