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This page is about the book Jhereg. For the House of the Jhereg, see Jhereg. For the animal, see Jhereg (animal).
Jhereg Cover

Jhereg Cover

This book chronicles the events of a particularly difficult assassination attempt by Vlad Taltos on a Jhereg traitor with a devious mind and a long memory.

See also Meta:Jhereg (book).

Plot Outline[]

The introduction begins with Vlad Taltos, age sixteen, alone in the jungles west of Adrilankha. Here he is performing witchcraft, but this is no ordinary spell. It is time for young Vlad to acquire his familiar...

The story then jumps ahead many years. We meet an older, more experienced Vlad; minor Jhereg boss, husband, and assassin. Vlad has just been approached by one of the biggest bosses in the criminal Organization for which he works: The Demon.

On meeting with The Demon, Vlad learns a shocking secret. The Jhereg Council has been betrayed by a former council member named Mellar, who has stolen nine million Imperials in council funds, and vanished without a trace. Immediately, Vlad understands the significance of this. Anyone who steals from the Jhereg must be dealt with swiftly, or else every petty thief out there will try it for himself.

The Demon hires Vlad to deal with Mellar, and quickly. Mellar's theft has crippled the operations of the Jhereg, and he must be found dead before the fact of the theft becomes apparent. Vlad is ready to refuse, especially because of the time limit (which an experienced assassin like Mario would never accept), but for 65,000 Imperials, he cannot resist, and he takes the job.

The first step is finding where Mellar has gone. With the help of Daymar, Kiera, and his wife Cawti, Vlad uses witchcraft to divine where the traitor has fled. Before long, he gets his answer, but it does not make things any easier. Mellar has gone to Castle Black, where he cannot be assassinated by the Jhereg without starting another Dragon-Jhereg War. This would be devastating to both houses, and it's especially difficult for Vlad, since he is good friends with the Lord of Castle Black, Morrolan e'Drien.

Since Mellar is a guest in Morrolan's home, Morrolan will not allow Vlad to complete his task, unless Mellar leaves of his own free will.

After another meeting with the Demon, Vlad is nearly killed by henchmen of the Jhereg Council, who now want Vlad out of the way so that his friendship with Morrolan does not compromise their attempts to remove Mellar. Vlad survives, but the Jhereg do manage to kill Morrolan--the first step in their plan to kill Mellar without starting a Dragon-Jhereg war. Vlad, however, figures out the plot in time, and with Aliera's help, they are able to revivify Morrolan.

This still leaves Vlad no closer to his goal. However, in an ensuing assassination attempt by the Jhereg—this time directed at Mellar, despite the danger of starting a war—Vlad discovers that all is not as it seems.

Mellar is a crossbreed. His scheme is actually to use the Jhereg, the Dragons, and the Dzur in an elaborate plot for revenge, destroying the three houses from which he is descended. This realization puts a different light on things. Mellar will never leave Castle Black willingly. He must be forced.

Vlad ultimately devises an elaborate plan of his own, which involves Aliera, Kiera, Daymar, Cawti, Loiosh, and a pair of morganti daggers. He deceives Mellar into believing he has destroyed Aliera's soul, violating his obligations as a guest. Vlad then arranges to be disguised as one of Mellar's bodyguards, so that when he teleports away, Vlad will be right there to finish him.

With the help of a wild jhereg named Rocza, Vlad succeeds.

Now back in the graces of the Jhereg, as well as 65,000 Imperials richer, Vlad contemplates buying a castle for Cawti.

Role of the House[]

Vlad acts as a thoroughgoing Jhereg gangster.

Major Characters[]

Great Scenes[]

  • Meeting with the Demon
  • Vlad learns how genetic heritage interacts with reincarnation of the soul
  • Playing with amorphia
  • Daymar trips the alarm. "What teleport blocks?"
  • Taking out Mellar

Favorite Quotes[]

(all copyrights Steven Brust, quotes for review and enjoyment only)

"No matter how subtle the wizard, a knife between the shoulder blades will seriously cramp his style."

"I wonder how genetic heritage interacts with reincarnation of the soul."


"You forget, Vlad—this is a Great Weapon. Her body is back in Castle Black, and her soul is here, where we can get at it whenever we want it."

"Finally, someone who appreciates me."

"Finally, you do a day's work."

"Two dead teckla on your pillow."

Daymar was looking around him with an expression of mild interest on his face. My receptionist was looking unhappy about putting his weapons away.

"He broke right through our teleport blocks like they weren't even there! He—"

"I know. But it's all right. Never mind."

They stood for a moment, then shrugged and left, casting glances as Daymar, who was now looking bewildered.

"Did you have teleport blocks up?" he said. "I didn't notice any."

A thought, then, came into my mind and set up housekeeping. "I accept," it said.

Just what I need, I remember thinking, another wiseass jhereg.

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