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

Phoenix Cover

The book chronicles the events leading up to and during the War of 243 and the Revolt of 244, by detailing the role Vlad (with his friends, family, Empress and goddess) played in the conflicts.

See also Meta:Phoenix (book).

Plot Outline[]

Under a sudden and unexpected attack, Vlad prays to his patron goddess Verra, and is amazed when his prayers are answered. He finds himself facing her in her Halls.

Verra has "work" for Vlad. With no explanations, she tells him that he must kill the king of Greenaere; a small island off Dragaera's west coast. Finding it difficult to refuse his goddess, Vlad agrees, and sets off for Greenaere.

The assassination is simplicity itself. Despite the fact that neither sorcery nor witchcraft seem to work on Greenaere, the palace is virtually unprotected, and with the aid of his familiar Loiosh, Vlad quickly takes out the king. Fleeing the scene of the crime, Vlad is followed by four of the king's guard, who attack him. Vlad kills all four, but is wounded in the process.

Meeting a strange drummer named Aibynn in the woods, Vlad is instructed to hide in a tree while the drummer covers for him. Unfortunately, the drummer's dreamgrass causes Vlad to fall from his perch, and he is captured.

Later Vlad awakens in a cell, where the officials of Greenaere try to force a confession from him and his "accomplice"—the drummer Aibynn. Vlad, unsure if Aibynn's earlier betrayal was intentional or not, suspects his presence may be a ploy to garner a confession. Despite this, when Aliera, Morrolan, and Cawti arrive (alerted by Loiosh who flew all the way home to raise the alarm), Vlad agrees to take Aibynn along.

Safely home again, Vlad now must confront the ongoing problems between himself and Cawti, as well as the fact that the Jhereg Organization is becoming more and more concerned with his involvement with Kelly and his group of rebels in South Adrilankha. Vlad is currently the "boss" of South Adrilankha, and his direct superior, Toronnan warns him that if the disturbances in the area persist, Vlad will find himself on the wrong end of the Jhereg Council.

Things heat up in the city, when Greenaere declares war on the Empire, for "unknown reasons" and form an alliance with Elde Island. The Imperial Army is mobilized to meet the threat, and Vlad shifts uncomfortably in his chair. The army recruiting also includes conscription of Teckla into the Imperial Navy, which further upsets the dissidents in South Adrilankha.

After a watchtower is destroyed in the Easterners' Ghetto, the leaders of Kelly's group, including Cawti, are arrested by the Empire. Using his influence, Vlad asks Morrolan to intercede on his wife's behalf. Morrolan tells him that Norathar, Cawti's former partner and the current Dragon Heir, has already done so, but Cawti has refused to be released—citing the conditions placed upon her parole.

Convinced the Jhereg are behind the arrest, Vlad confronts first Count Soffta, the Jhereg ambassador to the Empire, and then Boralinoi, a powerful council member. From this, Vlad learns that Boralinoi himself in fact destroyed the watchtower to precipitate the arrests, and that Cawti was in fact the primary target of this plot. Vlad escapes (barely) from Boralinoi's office, but now knows that the Jhereg have marked him for assassination.

Vlad receives an audience with the Empress, during which he convinces her to release Cawti with no conditions. Vlad is grateful that his wife is free, but Cawti is more determined than ever to win the freedom of her fellow revolutionaries.

Distraught and out of sorts, Vlad goes to visit his Noish-pa, which helps at least to settle his nerves. It is shortly after this, however, that events in South Adrilankha come to a head, due to the presence of the Phoenix Guard and the Press Gangs "recruiting" Easterners and Teckla for the war with Greenaere and Elde Island. The result is that Vlad finds himself in the midst of the Revolt of 244. Much of Adrilankha is in chaos, and the revolutionaries even lay siege, briefly, to the Imperial Palace.

Vlad's Noish-pa has his shop destroyed, and he agrees to flee with Vlad to Castle Black, where the two will be safe. Here, however, Vlad learns that Cawti has been re-arrested, this time charged with treason, and scheduled for execution.

Faced with no other alternatives, Vlad then does the unthinkable. He arranges a deal with Zerika to end the war, and testifies under the Orb against the Jhereg, implicating Boralinoi for his role in starting the revolt.

Having determined the cause of Greenaere's immunity to sorcery, Vlad develops a plan to return to Greenaere and force a peace with The Empire. With the help of Daymar, Aliera, Morrolan, Sethra Lavode, and Aibynn, Vlad succeeds in brokering a peaceful resolution to the conflict, after Zerika sends Boralinoi as a bargaining chip, claiming that he arranged for the killing of Greenaere's King. Vlad executes Boralinoi in the name of the King, and with Aibynn's help and Verra's intervention, everyone escapes Greenaere unharmed. (But not before Vlad gives Verra a piece of his mind.)

For his actions, Vlad is given an Imperial Title, Count Szurke, and given land in the northeast portion of The Empire, near his ancestral homeland of Fenario... But Vlad knows he will be unable to rest, as the Jhereg will now stop at nothing to kill him for his betrayal. He leaves home, giving Noish-pa custodianship of Szurke, Kragar his business interests, and Cawti all of his interests in South Adrilankha to deal with as she sees fit.

Vlad now finds himself on the run, homeless, and with only a pair of jhereg for companionship, but, in a way, his life has entered a whole new chapter, with far more potential than he has ever known.

Role of the House[]

Vlad finds himself admiring Zerika (and she him). As a Phoenix dies and is reborn, Vlad ends his old life and begins a new one.

Major Characters[]

Great Scenes[]

  • Verra contracts Vlad for some "work".
  • Vlad meets someone who really REALLY likes to drum
  • Concerning rumors of Eastern lovers...
  • Throwdown in the Throne Room
  • Oh, by the way, South Adrilankha is yours...

Favorite Quotes[]

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

Loiosh was stunned into silence. This does not happen every day.


"All right, Vladimir. But don't be distracted by shadows. Concentrate always on the target."


Classic Aibynn

"Excuse me..."

"What have you done?"

"I mean, for disturbing you."

"Ah. You haven't disturbed me."

"We are looking for a stranger. A dwarf."

"Try the mainland."

"We are tracking him. How long have you been here?"

"All my life."

"Today, you idiot!"

"At least."


Teldra and Noish-pa

Lady Teldra gave us a courtesy and said, "Lord Vladimir, we are so relieved that you are safe, and delighted that you will be staying with us. And you, sir, your grandson has spoken so much and so highly of you that we were nearly afraid to hope for the honor of your presence here someday. We are delighted that you have come, though sorry for the hardship that forced the journey on you. Please be welcome. I am Teldra."

She is, after all, of the House of the Issola.

He stared at her, his mouth opening and closing, and then his face lit up in a big grin and he said, "I like you." and, for the first time, I think I saw Lady Teldra actually touched.


"You mean I won't get sick anymore when I teleport? Noish-pa, my life is complete."

"No," he said. "It is not complete until you have given me a great grandchild. Don't forget that."


One of Vlad's best laid plans

I looked at the their dim faces, Morrolan e'Drien and Aliera e'Kieron, watched me patiently and expectantly. I said, "Now I lead us to the place that passes for a palace and negotiate as appropriate, and get out."

"In other words," said Aliera, "we're just going to improvise."

"You got it."

"Good plan," said Morrolan dryly.

"Thanks. It's one of my best."


Last lines

I began walking west.


Vlad Taltos
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