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Adventures on Dragaera.
What is the Vlad Taltos series about?
Written by American fantasy and science fiction author Steven Brust, this long-running fantasy series is about a man named Vlad Taltos*, an assassin in the magical metropolis of Adrilankha.
Set in the world of Dragaera, the story follows wisecracking Vlad Taltos and his jhereg—a dragon-like companion— who share a telepathic link with him. Together, they are deadly and live tumultuous adventures, even when they are the ones who are hunted.
*táltos is Hungarian for a kind of supernatural person in folklore.
Brust has also written another series set in Dragaera, the Khaavren Romances. It takes place a thousand years before the birth of Vlad Taltos. Then, the Dragaeran Empire is a hotbed of intrigue, sorcery, intrigue, wild adventure, and intrigue. For those who would be heroes, it is a delightful time to be alive—and an easy place to die.
How to read the Vlad Taltos Books in Order?
There are two ways to read the Vlad Taltos series, the publication order (we look at it first) and the chronological order (available at the end of this article).
Reading the Vlad Taltos Books In publication order
- Jhereg – Vlad Taltos is a mobster and assassin in the magical metropolis of Adrilankha. A member of the Great House of Jhereg (named for the tiny dragon-like creatures native to Dragaera), Taltos is given the largest contract of his career but the job is even more complicated than he expects.
- Yendi – Vlad Taltos and his Jhereg learn how the love of a good woman can turn a cold-blooded killer into a real mean SOB…. Vlad tells the story of his early days in the House Jhereg, how he found himself in a Jhereg war, and how he fell in love with the wonderful woman, Yendi, who killed him.
- Teckla – Vladimir Taltos is a short-lived, short-statured Easterner (what we would call a human) in a world mostly populated by the long-lived, extremely tall Dragaerans. He is also an assassin and petty crime lord. His lifestyle and career require some difficult moral choices. When his wife Cawti joins an uprising of Easterners and peasant Dragaerans (the Teckla of the title), it causes a severe strain in their marriage, and Vlad begins to question those choices.
- Taltos – When a Dragaeran employee absconds with more than two thousand imperials, Lord Vlad Taltos, must follow him to Dzur Mountain and face Sethra Lavode, a dangerous vampire.
- Phoenix – Verra, Vlad’s patron goddess, hires him to assassinate a king whose country lies outside the Dragaeran Empire, resulting in increased tension between the two places. Meanwhile, the peasant Teckla and the human Easterners persevere in their fight for civil rights.
- Athyra – Vlad Taltos is very good at killing people. That, combined with two faithful companions and a talent for witchcraft, makes him an assassin par excellence. But lately his heart just hasn’t been in his work, so he decides to retire. Unfortunately, old enemies have scores to settle with Vlad. So much for retirement!
- Orca – With the help of his two jhereg, sorceror and former assassin-for-hire Vlad Taltos takes on the corrupt House of the Orca as he sets out to uncover a huge financial scandal.
- Dragon – Vlad Taltos and his smart-mouthed reptile familiar Loiosh find themselves in over their heads when they become caught in the middle of a war between two rival Dragonlords, in a witty fantasy adventure.
- Issola – Teldra wants Vlad Taltos’ help, because Morrolan and Aliera have disappeared, and according to Sethra Lavode, it looks like they may be in the hands of the Jenoine. Does he want to mess with them? The guys who made this place?
- Dzur – Vlad Taltos has always had to keep his wits about him. Long ago, he made a place for himself as a captain of the Jhereg, the noble house that runs the rackets in the great imperial city of Adrilankha. But love, revolution, betrayal, and revenge ensued, and for years now Vlad has been a man on the run, struggling to stay a step ahead of the Jhereg who would kill him without hesitation.
- Jhegaala – Fresh from the collapse of his marriage, and with the criminal Jhereg organization out to eliminate him, Vlad decides to hide out among his relatives in faraway Fenario. All he knows about them is that their family name is Merss and that they live in a papermaking industrial town called Burz. At first Burz isn’t such a bad place, though the paper mill reeks to high heaven. But the longer he stays there, the stranger it becomes…
- Iorich – House Jhereg is still hunting Vlad Taltos. There’s a big price on his head on Draegara City. Then he hears disturbing news. Aliera has been arrested by the Empire on a charge of practicing elder sorcery, a capital crime. It doesn’t make sense. It would be idiotic of Vlad to jump into this situation. Naturally, that’s exactly why he’s going to get completely involved…
- Tiassa – Once, Vlad Taltos knew his trade: he killed people for a living. That skill got him his foothold in House Jhereg, running the rackets for a chunk of urban Adrilankha. Later, things happened that left Vlad a changed man, on the run from the Jhereg and frequently involved in the affairs of Dragonlords, Empresses, and even Jenoine. Far more involved than the average human.
- Hawk – For years, Vlad Taltos has run from one end of the Empire to the other, avoiding the Jhereg assassins who pursue him. Now, finally, he’s back in the imperial capital where his family and friends are. He means to stay there this time. Whatever happens. And whatever it takes.
- Vallista – As long as the Jhereg have a price on his head, Vlad Taltos’s life is…messy. Meanwhile, for years, Vlad’s path has been repeatedly crossed by Devera. Now, Devera has appeared again to lead Vlad into a mysterious, seemingly empty manor overlooking the Great Sea. Inside this structure are corridors that double back on themselves, rooms that look out over other worlds, and – just maybe – answers to some of Vlad’s long-asked questions about his world and his place in it.
- Tsalmoth – Vlad Taltos is in love. With a former assassin who may just be better than he is at the Game. Women like this don’t come along every day and no way is he passing up a sure bet. So a wedding is being planned. Along with a shady deal gone wrong and a dead man who owes Vlad money. Setting up the first and trying to deal with the second is bad enough. And then bigger powers decide that Vlad is the perfect patsy to shake the power structure of the kingdom. More’s the pity that his soul is sent walkabout to do it. How might Vlad get his soul back and have any shot at a happy ending?
Reading the Khaavren Romances Books in Order
Also set in Dragaera, the Khaavren Romances is a spin-off series set centuries before Vlad’s time.
- The Phoenix Guards – Khaavren of the House of Tiassa is a son of landless nobility, possessor of a good sword and “tolerably well-acquainted with its use.” Along with three loyal friends, he enthusiastically seeks out danger and excitement. But in a realm renowned for repartee and betrayals, where power is as mutable as magic, a young man like Khaavren, newly come from the countryside, had best be wary. His life depends on it. And so does the future of Draegara.
- Five Hundred Years After – This is the story of the conspiracy against the Empire that begins in the mean streets of the Underside and flourishes in the courtly politics of the Palace where Khaavren has loyally served in the Guards this past half-millennium. It is the tale of the Dragonlord Adron’s overweening schemes, of his brilliant daughter Aliera, and of the eldritch Sethra Lavode. And it is the tale of four boon companions, of love, and of revenge…a tale from the history of Dragaera, of the events that changed the world.
- The Paths of the Dead – Two hundred years after Adron’s Disaster, in which Dragaera City was accidentally reduced to an ocean of chaos by an experiment in wizardry gone wrong, the Empire isn’t what it used to be. Deprived at a single blow of their Emperor, of the Orb that is the focus of the Empire’s power, of their capital city with its Impe-rial bureaucracy, and of a great many of their late fellow citizens, the surviving Dragaerans have been limping through a long Interregnum, bereft even of the simple magic and sorcery they were accustomed to using in everyday life. Now the descendants and successors of the great ad-venturers Khaavren, Pel, Aerich, and Tazendra are growing up in this seemingly diminished world, convinced, like their elders, that the age of adventures is over and nothing interesting will ever happen to them. They are, of course, wrong . . . .
- The Lord of Castle Black – The Interregnum is over. To everyone’s astonishment, Zerika, a very young Phoenix, has coolly emerged from the Paths of the Dead, carrying with her the Orb, which everyone had thought was lost in Adron’s Disaster. The Orb is the heart of the Dragaeran Empire, the source of all its magic–and the infallible sign that Zerika is the new Empress. But not everyone is happy to hear the news. It’s been 250 years since Adron’s Disaster, and power vacuums never stay that way for long. Kâna, a Dragonlord, has been expanding his holdings. He now controls almost half the area that was once the Empire — in effect, the Empire re-created, with himself on the throne
- Sethra Lavode – An ambitious Dragonlord means to rebuild the Empire in his own name. But unknown to him, the true heir, the Phoenix Zerika, has already retrieved the Imperial Orb from the Paths of the Dead. Sethra Lavode means to see Zerika on the throne. To do so will entail a climactic battle of sorcery and arms, told with all the swashbuckling flair for which Steven Brust is known.
- The Baron of Magister Valley – Reader, you will undoubtedly have had the misfortune of consuming the rotten fruit of fallacies that we—Paarfi of Roundwood (esteemed historian of House of Hawk and exquisite artisan of truths)—“borrow” our factual recount of Dragaeran history from some obscure fellow who goes by the name Al Dumas or some silly nomenclature of that nature. The salacious claims that The Baron of Magister Valley bears any resemblance to a certain nearly fictional narrative about an infamous count are unfounded. Our tale is that of a nobleman who is betrayed by those he trusted and subsequently imprisoned. After centuries of confinement, he contrives to escape and prepares to avenge himself against his betrayers.
Vlad Taltos: The Collected Editions
- The Book of Jhereg – Collects Jhereg, Yendi, and Teckla.
- The Book of Taltos – Collects Taltos and Phoenix.
- The Book of Athyra – Collects Athyra and Orca.
- The Book of Dragon – Collects Dragon and Issola.
- The Book of Dzur – Collects Dzur and Jhegaala.
Reading the Vlad Taltos Books In chronological order:
- Jhereg, prologue
- Dragon, main chapters
- Dragon, interludes
- Tiassa , section 1
- Jhereg, main chapters
- Tiassa , section 2
- Tiassa , section 3
This article was last updated on June 5, 2023.