30 Days of Books: Day Eighteen

Day 18 – Favorite beginning scene in a book

I don’t know if it’s because I read a lot of fantasy and science fiction, which require a lot of explanation before the action gets going (“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit” requires something before the drama, certainly), or if it’s because I’m grabbed by the language of a book first and therefore don’t remember the imagery of the scenes until I sink into it a bit, but I can’t recall the first scenes of…well, anything.

Except for the opening of The Phoenix Guards by Steven Brust. And while it’s partly the language that makes it memorable, it is indeed the scene I remember, and so it totally counts.

The Phoenix Guards opens with a young man out to seek his fortune, who has been traveling for several days, stopping at an inn, whereupon he is enlisted to assist in the preparations for a duel…

Yes, The Phoenix Guards is The Three Musketeers in a fantasy setting. And its sequel, Five Hundred Years Later, is Twenty Years After in a fantasy setting. And the three-volume end of the series, The Viscount of Adrilankha, is…yes, you get the point. Steven Brust did the whole bloody d’Artagnan Romances as a fantasy series. And it’s awesome.

If you’re intrigued, I actually recommend starting with the almost-entirely-unrelated Taltos, or perhaps Dragon or Jhereg. They’re set in the same universe, but significantly later than the Khaavren Romances, and give you a very different perspective on the world, one that can be valuable when Paarfi of Roundwood (the fictional author of the Khaavren Romances, which Steven Brust is translating for his English-speaking audience) gets into his third consecutive page of court manners. Also, there is nothing like knowing what they’re talking about when, halfway through The Phoenix Guards, Khaavren announces, “It’s okay! We’ll just take everyone to Adron e’Kieron’s place.”

About Jen Moore

I'm a recent library school graduate in Madison, Wisconsin, looking for a full-time professional job and trying to manage a fulfilling life in the meantime. Oh, and I read. A lot.

Posted on November 22, 2010, in Reviews, The Internet is a Social Movement and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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