Storm of the Dead
(Book 2), The Lady Penitent Series
Wizards of the Coast, 2007
Mass Market Paperback
FR Date: 1376-1377
Lisa Smedman’s second new book in the Lady Penitent Series, Storm of the Dead, continues transforming the world of the Forgotten Realms (FR). This series is a must read for any fan of the Drow race or the Forgotten Realms. Marked changes are apparent on the goddess Eilistraee, as the result of events that occurred in Smedman’s Sacrifice of the Widow. Fans who have not read Sacrifice of the Widow may be confused by these changes, even though Smedman gives a brief, one sentence reference explanation.
The two Drow goddesses, Loth and Eilistraee, mother and daughter, continue to play their game of sava, the multi-level, chess style, Faerûn game, when an unexpected guest arrives. The Drow goddess of vengeance and all things dead and undead, Kiaransalee, is insulted that Loth and Eilistraee would play sava without inviting her. Kiaransalee soon agrees to the terms of the game, (winner take all and the looser forfeits not only their worshipers but their life) and with a sweep of Loth’s hand, she is added to the board.
Each chapter begins in the familiar FR style, providing the “Year of…” and the DR date, allowing Faerûn historians to easily place these events into the Forgotten Realms timeline. Characters from the Sacrifice of the Widow continue to be manipulated by the goddesses playing their game. Qilué, Q’arlynd and Halisstra Marlarn, and Cavatina continue to struggle and adjust to the changes wrought by the goddesses while several new characters are introduced to fans. Kâras (assassin of the Dark Lady), Valdar (Cleric of Vhaeruan), Master Seldszar (head of the College of Divination), and Wendonai (a balor demon of the Abyss) are all put into play along with scores of Kiaransalee’s minions.
The story educates fans with information on Sshamath, a city ruled by the heads of various Arcane Colleges, and The Acropolis, Kiaransalee’s primary temple. Readers will focus on the stories of Q’arlynd, Halisstra, and Cavatina as they are affected by Kiaransalee’s entrance to the sava game.
Smedman’s Storm of the Dead, starts (and continues) to be action packed and ends with yet another “Oh My God, No Way!” experience. This book is a classic Forgotten Realms style story that offers in-depth insight into the Drow pantheon. Readers are quickly immersed in Faerûn and the Drow pantheon transformations as they follow designated and undecided heroes through this adventure. For Forgotten Realms fans, this book continues the story of the historical Drow pantheon changes. Dungeon and Dragons or other fantasy fans will feel right at home with the races, characters and combat, both melee and magical.
Reviewed by Brenda Cothern, August 2010.