Homeland, by R.A. Salvatore
Homeland, by R.A. Salvatore is the first book in The Legend of Drizzt series which, as of this writing, numbers 33 works, including 7 graphic novels and 5 omnibuses. It is also the first book in the The Dark Elf Trilogy. Although it was published after the second trilogy in the series (The Icewind Dale Trilogy), The Dark Elf Trilogy is actually a prequel to it. This is because of its main character,
Without a doubt one of the most beloved fantasy characters, particularly among Dungeons and Dragons fans, Drizzt was initially created as a supporting character in The Crystal Shard, the first book of The Icewind Dale Trilogy. Salvatore himself liked him so much that he allowed him to take over the main role in the book, and soon became so popular that TSR asked him to give Drizzt his own trilogy. Thus, The Dark Elf Trilogy begins …
Drizzt is a Drow (dark elf) and an outcast, one of the extremely rare good and moral drow. The drow are an evil subrace of elves, that live in the great subterranean expanse of the Underdark. The entire rotten and corrupted society is divided into great houses, that permanently try to destroy each other in order to climb higher up in Lolth favor, their evil deity, also known as The Spider Queen. Each house is ruled by a Matron Mother and her daughters, and although some males are respected for their talents, in battle or as wizards, they are regarded and treated (and for the most part actually are) as inferior beings. Each House is also a miniature of the entire drow society, with a Matron’s daughters continually plotting to overthrow their mothers and rule as heads of their Houses.
Homeland follows Drizzt, from the moment he is born, growing up. We get to see the way young drow males are educated to obey their female counterparts, the way their future occupations are chosen to benefit the political and military status of their Houses, and the way they are brainwashed in the drow ways, notably by inducing a deep hatred for any non-drow race, especially surface dwellers, among which the Elves are the first.
There are two things Salvatore is appreciated mostly for: character development and battle scenes. And let me tell you, you will not be disappointed. Drizzt’s inner turmoil, as he starts to realize all that is bad in the Drow society is wonderfully described, and you get to feel his pains and loneliness, as he starts out as a naive boy and gradually starts to wonder if he is the only one that finds their ways wrong.
As for the battle scenes, they are absolutely superb! Intricately detailed, action-packed, they give your imagination very little work to do in visualizing them, and can only be compared to actual movie scenes. Salvatore is a very “visual” writer, and he is able to make his characters and places come to life easily. The drow city of Menzoberranzan is marvelous in its darkness and cold colors, and we are immediately immersed in its tensioned atmosphere.
All in all, I absolutely loved the entire trilogy, and Homeland probably most of all. I highly recommend you read it, I found it very hard to let go once I started it.