February 9, 2010


Sojourn: The Dark Elf Trilogy, Part 3 (Forgotten Realms: The Legend of Drizzt, Book III)Title : Sojourn
Author : R.S. Salvatore
Reading Dates : 8 Feb - 14 Mar 2010

Book Summary of Sojourn.

Sojourn continues Drizzt Do'Urden's story after Exile, starting almost immediately after Drizzt arrives on the surface. After spending some months trying to survive on his own on the surface, Drizzt attempts to make contact with a human farming community in Maldobar only to have it end in disaster. With no common language and the evil reputation of the drows to overcome, Drizzt is faced with great difficulty to convince the humans of his friendly intentions. Especially with an unknown third party instigating the fights between Drizzt and the farming community.

Ulgulu, a barghest whelp who is intent on feeding on the humans in order to gain maturity and return to its own plane of existence, murders a human family and frames Drizzt for the crime. Upon discovering the bodies of the murdered Thistledowns, an angry Drizzt seeks out Ulgulu and kills the barghest whelp and its allies. The only survivor from Ulgulu's camp, Tephanis a quickling, seeks refuge with Caroak the winter wolf. This does not prevent the Thistledown family's neighbors from sending hunters after Drizzt in the mistaken belief that he is the murderer. In time, Drizzt's pursuers come to realize his innocence and end their pursuit. The only exception being the bounty hunter Roddy McGristle who has a personal grudge against Drizzt and is determined to kill the dark elf.

In an unexpected skirmish with orcs, Drizzt is saved by retired and famed ranger, Montolio DeBrouchee. Drizzt earns both Montolio's friendship and the orc king Graul's enmity due to the battle. Montolio takes in Drizzt and proceeds to teach him the language and survival skills necessary for the surface world.

When Drizzt's enemies learn of his whereabouts, they form an alliance in order to get rid of both Drizzt and Montolio. Drizzt and Montolio who were warned of the impending attack by one of Montolio's many animal companions successfully defends their home and drives of their enemies. Caroak is killed by Guenhwyvar while Tephanis is maimed by one of Montolio's traps in the battle. Having lost a number of his orc army, Graul decides that neither Drizzt nor Montolio worth the trouble. The only person still intent on taking Drizzt's life after the battle is Roddy McGristle. He leaves when tricked by Tephanis, who like Graul no longer wishes to have anything to do with Drizzt, into believing the drow was killed in the battle and also because he fears retribution by the old ranger's many powerful friends. In time Montolio passes away due to old age and Drizzt chooses to leave Montolio's grove to seek out his own place in the world.

6 years after the fight at Montolio's grove, McGristle realizes that he has been tricked by Tephanis when he hears of rumors of a drow with purple eyes and sets off after Drizzt again. Meanwhile, Drizzt who has been wandering from town to town seeking acceptance without success hears of Ten-Towns where rogues may find a home. When Drizzt arrives there, he is offered a position as a scout on the northern slopes of the mountains of Icewind Dale and a chance to proof himself as an ally.

The first friend he makes there is Cattie-Brie, the adopted 11-year old human daughter of Bruenor who is King of the dwarven clan of Battlehammer. While Bruenor is at first suspicious of Drizzt, he changes his mind after observing Drizzt's actions and even helps him drive off Roddy McGristle. With this, Drizzt finally realizes that he has found the home he has been seeking.

Book Review of Sojourn.
The time taken to finish Sojourn is a good indication of my feelings on the story. Drizzt's tale of prejudice and acceptance is not badly written, just lacking any real excitement or purpose. We are not given much of a glimpse of the prejudice he is faced with or his adventures during the few years he wanders from place to place. Most of the tale is focused on his first year on the surface, from his first encounters with the human dwellers of the surface world and subsequent friendship with Montolio. There is not much time dedicated to his friendship with Cattie-Brie or Bruenor, who were his close companions in time to come. And after much time is spent on showing Roddy's fanaticism with Drizzt, it feels too simple to have him simply leave because he fears Bruenor. For a man who is willing to use every dirty trick he has to find and kill the dark elf even resorting to torture and intimidation, Roddy's capitulation is too hard to take. The best part of any Drizzt Do'Urden tale should be his battles with his enemies. It might have been nice if the battle for Mooshie's Grove and his encounter with the dragon Hephaestus could have been extended. In any case, Sojourn should be an interesting read for fans of Drizzt Do'Urden who would like to know more of his past.

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