Salvatore, R.A. 1959-
Salvatore, R.A. 1959-
(Robert Anthony Salvatore)
Born 1959, in Leominster, MA; married; wife's name Diane; children: Bryan, Geno, Caitlin.
Education: Fitchburg State College, B.S., 1981, B.A., 1989. Hobbies and other interests: Softball, hockey, music (particularly Mozart).
Home—Leominster, MA. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Ballantine Publicity, 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.
Fantasy writer. Creator, with others, of game modules for "Fantasy Realms" computer game, TSR, 1999.
"FORGOTTEN REALMS" SERIES
The Crystal Shard (first volume of the "Icewind Dale" trilogy; also see below), TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1988.
Streams of Silver (second volume of the "Icewind Dale" trilogy; also see below), TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1989.
The Halfling's Gem (third volume of the "Icewind Dale" trilogy; also see below), TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1990.
Homeland (first volume of the "Dark Elf" trilogy; also see below), TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1990.
Exile (second volume of the "Dark Elf" trilogy; also see below), TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1990.
Sojourn (third volume of the "Dark Elf" trilogy; also see below), TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1991.
Canticle (first volume of the "Cleric Quintet"; also see below), TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1991.
In Sylvan Shadows (second volume of the "Cleric Quintet"; also see below), TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1992.
The Legacy (first volume of the "Legacy of the Drow" series; also see below), TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1992.
Night Masks (third volume of the "Cleric Quintet"; also see below), TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1992.
The Fallen Fortress (fourth volume of the "Cleric Quintet"; also see below), TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1993.
Starless Night (second volume of the "Legacy of the Drow" series; also see below), TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1993.
The Chaos Curse (fifth volume of the "Cleric Quintet"; also see below), TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1994.
Siege of Darkness (third volume of the "Legacy of the Drow" series; also see below), TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1994.
Passage to Dawn (fourth volume of the "Legacy of the Drow" series; also see below), TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1996.
The Dark Elf Trilogy (contains Homeland, Exile, and Sojourn), TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1998.
The Silent Blade, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1998.
The Spine of the World, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1999.
The Cleric Quintet (contains Canticle, In Sylvan Shadows, Night Masks, The Fallen Fortress, and The Chaos Curse), TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1999.
The Icewind Dale Trilogy (contains The Crystal Shard, Streams of Silver, and The Halfling's Gem), Wizards Publishing (Renton, WA), 2001.
Legacy of the Drow (contains The Legacy, Starless Night, Siege of Darkness, and Passage to Dawn), Wizards Publishing (Renton, WA), 2001.
The Thousand Orcs (first volume of the "Hunter's Blade" trilogy), Wizards of the Coast (Renton, WA), 2002.
The Lone Drow (second volume of the "Hunter's Blade trilogy), Wizards of the Coast (Renton, WA), 2003.
The Two Swords (third book of the "Hunter's Blade" trilogy), Wizards of the Coast (Renton, WA), 2004.
Siege of Darkness, Wizards of the Coast (Renton, WA), 2006.
"SPEARWIELDER'S TALE" SERIES
The Woods out Back, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1993.
The Dragon's Dagger, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1994.
Dragonslayer's Return, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1995.
Spearwielder's Tale, Ace Books (New York, NY), 2004.
"CRIMSON SHADOW" TRILOGY
The Sword of Bedwyr, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1995.
Luthien's Gamble, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1996.
The Dragon King, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1996.
"DEMON WARS" SERIES
The Demon Awakens, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 1997.
The Demon Spirit, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 1997.
The Demon Apostle, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 1999.
Mortalis, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 2000.
Ascendance, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 2001.
Transcendence, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Immortalis, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 2003.
"THE SELLSWORDS" SERIES
Servant of the Shard, Wizards Publishing (Renton, WA), 2000.
Promise of the Witch-King: The Sellswords, Book II, Wizards of the Coast (Renton, WA), 2006.
Road of the Patriarch, Wizards of the Coast (Renton, WA), 2006.
Echoes of the Fourth Magic, Roc (New York, NY), 1990.
The Witch's Daughter, Roc (New York, NY), 1991, updated edition, 1999.
Tarzan: The Epic Adventures (based on the character by Edgar Rice Burroughs), Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 1997.
The New Jedi Order: Vector Prime (part of "Star Wars" series), Del Rey Books (New York, NY), 1999.
Bastion of Darkness (part of "Chronicles of Ynis Aielle" series), Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 2000.
Sea of Swords, (first book in the "Paths of Darkness" series), Wizards Publishing (Renton, WA), 2001.
Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, Del Ray, 2002.
Contributor to Forgotten Realms Trilogy Devil's Due Publishing, 2006. The R.A. Salvatore Collection has been established at Fitchburg State College in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, containing the author's letters, manuscripts, and papers. His books have been translated into numerous foreign languages, including Greek, Turkish, Italian, Finnish, Croatian, Spanish, German, Yiddish, Russian, Polish, Czech, and French.
R.A. Salvatore has written many fantasy novels that typically appeal to a young adult audience, frequently using the legends of Robin Hood and the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien as his inspiration. Salvatore is especially known for his battle scenes, which are integral to much of his work. His "Forgotten Realms" novels are set in a world that is used in the Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game. Another series, the "Spearwielder's Tale," follows a man from this world into a "faerie" land. Salvatore, a prolific writer, has also penned a number of other novels outside of these series. Featuring well-rounded characters and unique plots, Salvatore's work often "reaches beyond the traditions of the genre to establish new standards," commented an essayist for the St. James Guide to Young Adult Writers, who added: "Readers continue to return to Salvatore novels since he is known for strong, perceptive prose and entertaining stories that speak to the emotions and the senses."
Salvatore's first novel, The Crystal Shard, was also his first in the "Forgotten Realms" sequence. The story revolves around a murderous apprentice who comes to power using the magical crystal shard named in the title. In a review for the Voice of Youth Advocates, Ruth Cline remarked: "There are many gruesome death scenes, violent battles, unexplained appearances of weird characters and coincidences in the plot." The book is perhaps most notable for introducing the character of the dark elf Drizzt, who takes center stage in some of the author's later works. "Young adult readers will find many qualities in Drizzt to identify with as the young hero struggles with moral and spiritual conflicts," noted the St. James Guide to Young Adult Writers contributor.
Drizzt appears in sub-trilogies made up of Streams of Silver, The Halfling's Gem, Homeland, Exile, Sojourn, and The Legacy. Born to a cruel race of subterranean dark elves and a powerful family, the House Do'Urden, Drizzt tries to break with the predatory behavior of his relations. The various tales tell of his attempts to hide his true feelings from his evil mother and siblings, and of his discovery of peace-loving elves, dwarves, and humans. In the bestseller The Legacy, Drizzt is hunted by his sister Vierna, an evil priestess who seeks to use him in her religious rituals. A Rapport reviewer called The Legacy "an adventure story with a heart …. Whether you've gamed in the ‘Forgotten Realms’ or not, you'll feel a great familiarity with its territory and a fondness for many of its inhabitants."
Also within the "Forgotten Realms" series is Salvatore's "Cleric Quintet," a five-volume series that follows the adventures of the priest Cadderly. Using his increasingly effective magical powers, Cadderly fights evil forces, including a living dead phenomenon called "Ghost." Leslie S.J. Farmer reviewed the third volume, Night Masks, in Kliatt, and commented that battles "dominate the story to the detriment of character development." Regarding the next Cleric entry, The Fallen Fortress, Farmer found it "not breathtaking wizardry, but … pleasantly entertaining." About The Chaos Curse, the fifth Cleric book, Farmer explained that it had "the tightest plot and clearest writing." She further noted that the "Cleric Quintet" took several years to write and concluded that the series "may prove to be a standard set within the fantasy genre."
Salvatore departed from the "Forgotten Realms" formula to create his "Spearwielder's Tale" series, beginning with The Woods out Back. In this tale, Englishman Gary Leger leads a humdrum life until he is kidnapped into a "Faerie" world by the leprechaun Mickey McMickey, who involves him in a quest to repair an ancient magical spear. Together with the elf Kelsey Gil-Ravadry, they are thwarted in this effort by the sorceress Ceridwen. A Publishers Weekly contributor found the story flawed, and stated that it "does not adequately explain for what purposes Kelsey wants the spear or why Ceridwen opposes him." Roland Green, writing in Booklist, called the author a "seasoned fantasist" but found no surprises "nor anything badly done." Voice of Youth Advocates reviewer Deborah L. Dubois enjoyed the book's "clever" premise and suggested that "adventure and fantasy fans will enjoy this tale and will look forward to further adventures."
With The Sword of Bedwyr, Salvatore inaugurated yet another fantasy series. The "Robin Hood-like" character of Luthien Bedwyr—"Crimson Shadow"—is an exiled nobleman who surreptitiously leads his people in a rebellion against the foreign power that has taken hold of Eriador, his homeland. A Library Journal reviewer called the novel "a fast-paced series opener." A Publishers Weekly critic noted that "Salvatore describes and choreographs battle scenes better than any other contemporary fantasist." Booklist reviewer Roland Green found the book to be "briskly paced, with touches of wry wit … easy to recommend."
Reviewing the sequel, Luthien's Gamble, a Publishers Weekly contributor stated that the "battle scenes are robust, but [Salvatore's] fantasy is dully derivative." Similarly, a Kirkus Reviews critic felt that the book is "aimed at readers who want maximum agitation with minimum cogitation." The St. James Guide to Young Adult Writers essayist, though, praised the inclusion of romantic complications involving Luthien and two young women who fight beside him, saying, "the resulting love-triangle adds a subplot of conflict for the young hero, bringing depth to the storyline yet never turning into romantic triviality." A Publishers Weekly reviewer called the trilogy's conclusion, The Dragon King, "pseudo-Tolkien" with "plenty of sound and fury but precious little fire." Booklist contributor Green, however, wrote that "Salvatore reliably delivers intelligent, fast-moving, entertaining fantasy."
The Demon Awakens gave Salvatore the opportunity to enter new territory: the world of the demon dactyl Bestesbulzibar. The dactyl leads an assault on Corona, where young Elbryan and his girlfriend, Pony, live. The pair are orphaned during the conflict, find a magical amethyst, and join in an answering attack on the dactyl. According to Booklist reviewer Green, this is Salvatore's "most ambitious book to date …. It is not superlatively original," but "it is certainly very readable." Elbryan and Pony defeat the dactyl in the follow-up The Demon Spirit, only to find in The Demon Apostle that the dactyl lives on in the form of a monk, Father Abbot Markwart. The latter "may be Salvatore's strongest fantasy to date," observed a Publishers Weekly critic, praising the author's development of characters and historical background in an action-filled story. Similarly, in a Library Journal review of this book, Jackie Cassada noted that "Salvatore excels in world-building and creating complex, introspective characters" who possess ample "wit and determination." In Mortalis, Pony is on her own, Elbryan having been killed, and she must seek to end a deadly plague caused by the demon dactyl. A Publishers Weekly commentator thought this entry "filled with far more angst than action," but it still provides "enough adventure … to keep it moving at a happy pace." Library Journal critic Cassada echoed her earlier complimentary words about Salvatore, pointing out his "skill at creating a richly complex world peopled with well-rounded characters."
In a second "Demon Wars" series, including Ascendence, Transcendence, and Immortalis, Pony and her enemy De'Unnero are again caught up in a series of power plays and intrigues. Pony now rules the land as the Baroness of Palmaris. She is a popular leader, overseeing an era of peaceful relations and domestic prosperity. Yet she faces a terrible challenge in an unexpected enemy: her own son, Avdrian, who was stolen from her and whom she thought dead. Secretly brought up by the elf lady Dasslerond, one of Pony's enemies, Avdrian is eventually manipulated into destroying his mother's rule and usurping her power. The trilogy's second book, Transcendence, focuses on Brynn Dharielle, a former schoolmate of Avdrian, and her struggle to free her native land of To-gai from invaders from Behren. She enlists the help of a dragon, Agradeleous, by promising it the treat of destroying Behrenese enclaves. Reviewing Transcendence, a Publishers Weekly writer commented that Salvatore's book has "a welcome bit of depth" thanks to the author's development of his characters' inner lives. Cassada, reviewing the novel for Library Journal, rated it a "strong" entry in the author's body of work. The trilogy concludes with Immortalis, which finds Avdrian seeking world dominion. Trying to stop him in this quest are Brynn and Pony. Cassada rated this as "Salvatore's best work yet" in her Library Journal review, praising the characters and plotting as "superb."
Salvatore revisits one of the Tolkienesque worlds he had created earlier in his "Hunter's Blade" trilogy, which includes The Thousand Orcs, The Lone Drow, and The Two Swords. In The Thousand Orcs the dark elf Drizzt Do'Urden must join forces with his friends to undermine a plot against human and dwarf settlements in the North, engineered by orc and frost giants. A subplot explores Drizzt's love for a human warrior, which is stymied by his realization that the children of a human and an elf would be treated as outcasts by both cultures. Paul Brink, reviewing the novel for School Library Journal, commented appreciatively on the "vivid detail" with which the fight scenes are depicted, while Cassada, writing again for Library Journal, enjoyed the "meticulously" drawn battles as well. The story continues in The Lone Drow, as Drizzt, separated from his comrades, battles alone to try to avenge his defeated friends and save the lives of those he can. A Publishers Weekly writer stated that the book's cast of unicorns, giants, elves, trolls, and other fantasy creatures is predictable, but noted that, nevertheless, the author is capable of rising "above cliché," and several characters show "some complexity."
Corona, the scene of the Demon Wars, is the setting for Salvatore's 2004 novel The Highwayman. It is a "serviceable, swift-moving tale of sword and sorcery," according to a Publishers Weekly reviewer, focusing on Bransen Garibond, an orphan living with the monks who were involved in the deaths of his parents. Eventually, Bransen becomes a charitable robber in the style of Robin Hood. The book is "vast fun," declared Roland Green in Booklist.
Another dark elf, or drow, is featured in "The Sellswords" series, beginning with Servant of the Shard. The second book in the sequence, Promise of the Witch-King: The Sellswords, Book II, finds drow Jarlaxle Baenre and his associate, Artemis Entreri, traveling on a quest to help some dragon sisters find a valuable, magical treasure. The story features a huge cast and lots of adventure, and will appeal to "lovers of all things elvish," stated a Publishers Weekly writer.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
St. James Guide to Fantasy Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.
St. James Guide to Young Adult Writers, 2nd edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1999.
Booklist, October 15, 1993, Roland Green, review of The Woods out Back, p. 422; August, 1994, Roland Green, review of The Dragon's Dagger, p. 2030; January 15, 1995, Roland Green, review of The Sword of Bedwyr, p. 901; October 1, 1996, Roland Green, review of The Dragon King, p. 326; May 1, 1997, Roland Green, review of The Demon Awakens, p. 1483; March 15, 1998, Roland Green, review of The Demon Spirit, p. 1207; March 1, 1999, Candace Smith, review of The Demon Apostle, p. 1161; March 15, 2004, Roland Green, review of The Highwayman, p. 1277; October 15, 2005, Roland Green, review of Promise of the Witch-King: The Sellswords, Book II, p. 37.
Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 1995, review of Luthien's Gamble, pp. 1673-1674; September 1, 1996, review of Dragon King, p. 1282; March 15, 1997, review of Demon Awakening, p. 423.
Kliatt, November, 1992, Leslie S.J. Farmer, review of Night Masks, p. 19; November, 1993, review of The Fallen Forest, p. 18; March, 1994, review of The Woods out Back, p. 20; November, 1994, Leslie S.J. Farmer, review of The Chaos Curse, p. 24; January, 1995, review of Dragon's Dagger, p. 19; November, 1995, review of Dragonslayer's Return, p. 20; March, 1997, Hugh M. Flick, Jr., review of Luthien's Gamble, p. 21.
Library Journal, November 15, 1993, Adam Paul Hunt, review of Starless Night, p. 118; December, 1994, Jackie Cassada, review of The Sword of Bedwyr, p. 139; April, 1997, Susan Hamburger, review of The Demon Awakens, p. 124; March 15, 1998, Jackie Cassada, review of The Demon Spirit, p. 99; March 15, 1999, Jackie Cassada, review of The Demon Apostle, p. 113; June 15, 2000, Jackie Cassada, review of Mortalis, p. 120; May 15, 2002, Jackie Cassada, review of Transcendence, p. 129; November 15, 2002, Jackie Cassada, review of The Thousand Orcs, p. 105; April 15, 2003, Jackie Cassada, review of Immortalis, p. 128; September 15, 2003, Jackie Cassada, review of The Lone Drow, p. 95.
Locus, April, 1990, review of The Halfling's Son, p. 39; November, 1993, Scott Winnett, review of The Woods out Back, pp. 56-57.
Publishers Weekly, June 28, 1993, review of Starless Night, p. 61; September 6, 1993, review of The Woods out Back, p. 88; January 2, 1995, review of The Sword of Bedwyr, p. 63; January 29, 1996, review of Luthien's Gamble, p. 88; October 12, 1996, review of The Dragon King, pp. 74-75; March 9, 1998, review of The Demon Spirit, p. 53; September 28, 1998, review of The Silent Blade, p. 78; February 22, 1999, review of The Demon Apostle, p. 70; June 5, 2000, review of Mortalis, p. 77; October 2, 2000, review of Servant of the Shard, p. 63; April 9, 2001, review of Ascendance, p. 55; October 15, 2001, review of Sea of Swords, p. 52; April 22, 2002, review of Transcendence, p. 55; April 21, 2003, review of Immortalis, p. 43; September 1, 2003, review of The Lone Drow, p. 68; March 1, 2004, review of The Highwayman, p. 54; September 5, 2005, review of Promise of the Witch-King, p. 39.
Rapport, Volume 17, 1992, review of The Legacy, p. 26.
School Library Journal, August, 2002, Carol DeAngelo, review of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, p. 223; February, 2003, Paul Brink, review of The Thousand Orcs, p. 173.
Voice of Youth Advocates, August, 1988, Ruth Cline, review of The Crystal Shard, p. 140; February, 1994, Deborah L. Dubois, review of The Woods out Back, p. 385; April, 1995, Dorothy M. Thompson, review of The Sword of Bedwyr, p. 39.
R.A. Salvatore Home Page,http://www.rasalvatore.com (May 1, 2006).