Daniel Dern on Steven Brust’s LYORN: A Non-Plot-Spoiler Shortie

Review by Daniel Dern: LYORN is the seventeenth novel of a planned nineteen by Steven Brust — which can, according to author, be read in any order: in the order written/published, or according to their internal chronology, or as-you-please. Brust said in the notes for The Book of Jhereg, “I made every effort to write them so that they could be read in any order.” I recommend the first of these methods, as much as possible.

Note that Brust has another half dozen or so novels in the same universe — the Dragaeran world, with many of the same characters, I dunno what if any mega-reading-order is, if any, best.

In Steven Brust’s fantasy series about Vlad (short for Vladimir) Taltos (pronounced tal-tosh), “a short-statured, short-lived human in an Empire of tall, long-lived Dragaerans,” (per https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Brust#The_Dragaeran_books.)

On page seven I came upon this:

(Stop reading here if you’d rather be surprised!)

I am the very model of a Fourteenth Cycle dramaturge

I can tell an epic from a canticle or from a dirge.

In Landza and in Ekrasen I’ve studied all the references

And if you give me time I will expound upon many preferences….

In fact, when I know what is meant by Prop and by Enunciate

And when I know the difference between Punctual and Punctuate…

(typos mine)

And on page 61:

Seventy-six catapults led the big assault

With a hundred and ten trebuchets at the rear.

There were files and files

Of assorted fighting styles

Axes, sword, halbert, pike, and spear.

There’s also, I believe, a (non-song) two-line dialogue reference/homage/allusion to an exchange from Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. I could be wrong.

One opportunistic turn-of-phrase I don’t believe I found in this book (which would be the right one of the series for it to occur in, would be, channeling one’s inner Ogden Nash (typically located somewhere between the gehenna and duodenum), would have been a reference to a Lyorn’s Lyornesse.

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8 thoughts on “Daniel Dern on Steven Brust’s LYORN: A Non-Plot-Spoiler Shortie

  1. I have not yet read Lyorn. But I started reading Brust by borrowing Jhegaala from the library after stumbling on a reading order online(basically publication oreder) and SKZB stating basically the Dragaeran Saga can’t be read in chronogical order unless you slice your books up(or bookmark ’em) since the chronology bounces between books and even parts of books. LOL ????

    I enjoyed ’em enough to borrow every book through to whichever was previous to Lyorn(I even had bought a copy of The Phoenix Guards in paperback without realising/reading it, it was in my parents’ house while i worked and lived elsewhere about 1 hours travel away, more or less?)

    It’s taken too long(though I only started reading around 2016/2017) and I forgot most of the details from the earliest books. But I did complete the Vorkosigan Saga, Riftwar Saga, Elderlings Saga, the 3 Riverside and the Nightrunners (but not the prequels).

    I await the release of Doors of Stone, Gentleman Bastards and Song of Ice and Fire books, Dresden Files and Reacher(?). I think I’m too burned out to try new books(I did start Claire North and Ada Palmer(completed) based on Filers’ recs(or Making Light comments/posts by Dr. Palmer).

    Maybe I will try reading Lyorn(and the rest of SKZB’s Dragaera books) in the coming days/months/years.

  2. @MixMat: “I think I’m too burned out to try new books…”

    Try Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers Of London series. Do read them (the books) in order. (The comics you can probably reader a little later, if need be.)

  3. I think the finest novel that he did without question is The Brokedown Palace, it’s the only stand-alone novel set in Vlad Taltos universe. That it takes place in an ancient, crumbling palace is perfect. And the characters? Oh so wonderful.

  4. I’ll agree on Brokedown Palace. And it also has a nice link to The Phoenix Guard as a bonus.

  5. I greatly enjoyed Lyorn, which is set in a theater, and every single chapter introduction is a song from the musical that the theater is rehearsing…. and is a brilliant filk of a song from a real-world musical, ranging from Guys and Dolls to Buffy the Musical. It becomes a sort of fun puzzle; can you guess the tune this goes to? I got most of them, defeated only by two musicals I have not seen, and one that I saw too many years ago….

  6. Cassy, is there/have you found a tunes list somewhere? I saw some IDd on DreamCafe comments. (I recognized probably 1 out of 3 or 4)

  7. @Daniel Dern,

    Lyorn Song Titles: (ROT-13):

    Cebybthr: Zbqrea Znwbe-Trareny sebz Cvengrf bs Cramnapr
    Puncgre 1: Zl Snibevgr Guvatf sebz Gur Fbhaq bs Zhfvp
    Puncgre 2: Pnonerg sebz Pnonerg
    Puncgre 3: Fhaevfr, Fhafrg sebz Svqqyre ba gur Ebbs
    Puncgre 4: Friragl-Fvk Gebzobarf sebz Gur Zhfvp Zna
    Puncgre 5: Trr Bssvpre Xehcxr! sebz Jrfg Fvqr Fgbel
    Puncgre 6: Fnir gur Pvgl sebz Ebtref: Gur Zhfvpny
    Puncgre 7: Uryyb Qbyyl sebz Uryyb Qbyyl
    Puncgre 8: Cvaonyy Jvmneq sebz Gbzzl
    Puncgre 9: Tbvat Guebhtu Gur Zbgvbaf sebz Ohssl Gur Inzcver Fynlre (zhfvpny rcvfbqr)
    Puncgre 10: Funyy Jr Qnapr sebz Gur Xvat naq V
    Puncgre 11: N Ohfury naq n Crpx sebz Thlf naq Qbyyf
    Puncgre 12: Ubg Cngbbgvr sebz Gur Ebpxl Ubeebe Cvpgher Fubj
    Puncgre 13: Jung Pbzrf Arkg? sebz Unzvygba
    Puncgre 14: Vs V bayl unq n Oenva sebz Gur Jvmneq Bs Bm
    Puncgre 15: Gur Sybjref Gung Oybbz Va gur Fcevat sebz Gur Zvxnqb
    Puncgre 16: Gurer’f Ab Ohfvarff Yvxr Fubj Ohfvarff sebz Naavr Trg Lbhe Tha
    Puncgre 17: Ntr bs Ndhnevhf sebz Unve
    Rcvybthr: Pnyy gur Haqrefghql (V Pna’g Tb Ba Gbavtug) sebz Fyvatf naq Neebjf

    The list I cribbed this from had links to youtube videos for each song; if you google them you can find them online.

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