If you love reading rollicking, action-packed fantasy novels about pirates, wizards, cursed magical stones, and dark elves, then you need to feed that hunger for swashbuckling adventure tales by getting the latest collaboration by the father and son team of R.A & Geno Salvatore, The Sentinels: Stone of Tymora, Book III, from Wizards of the Coast LLC. It’s the third and last novel in the fast-paced “Stones of Tymora” trilogy, and a great conclusion to the series that ties up a lot of loose ends. Set your course; there be fun-filled seas directly ahead!
The three major characters of the entire series are back: Jaide, a beautiful elf; Maimum, the main teen male character; and the main teen female pirate, Joen, who travels with Maimum as they attempt to destroy the Stone of Tymora that Maimum has been entrusted with. The Stone of Tymora is supposed to grant luck to the person it chooses to carry it, but everything, as Maimum learns, has a cost connected to it, and destroying it is far easier said than done. The stone is also said to drain the luck of everyone else around the person who carries the Stone, as well as shorten his life span. If Maimum didn’t already have reasons to want the Stone of Tymora destroyed, then these two reasons would probably have made him want it anywhere else but in his possession. The Stone, as I mentioned, chooses who possesses it, rather than the other way around, and you can’t just give it away or try to “lose” it by burying it or throwing it into a deep lake, and Maimum feels it is his responsibility to deal with the stone himself.
Maimum discovers how to destroy the Stone of Tymora (after having to spend a year and a month at the wizard Malchor Harpell’s Tower of Twilight with Joen to learn “discipline” and hone his/their fighting skills), and he finds out there are actually two magical stones…and both need to be destroyed at the same time and place. The second is called the Stone of Beshaba, and it brings the holder bad luck. The Stone of Beshaba has not been seen for centuries, and its location is unknown, though Maimum suspects that it might be in the possession of goblins. Both stones are guarded by Sentinels that are thousands of years old and will do everything in their power to see that their stones are safe. To destroy the Stone of Tymora, they must not only find the Stone of Beshaba, but must also gather the two Sentinels in that same location. As if life was not complex enough already…..
As the novel opens, Maimum is telling the story about what happened to him to pirates who are holding him captive on an island. The captain of the pirates asks him to “tell us more of your story.” I liked this way to frame the events of the novel, and as I read it, there was the added suspense of wondering when the pirate captain might grow bored or weary of hearing Maimum’s tale and decide to have him killed. Though much of what I mentioned so far about the book’s plot occurs on land, the beginning of the first-person narrative with which Maimum entrances the pirates occurs out at sea.
The time Maimum spends with the pirates reminded me of the plot of an excellent graphic novel I read recently and reviewed here, The Unsinkable Walker Bean, by Aaron Renier, published by First Second. Walker Bean is younger, has an inventive sort of mind, and the cursed item he has is a talking skull. He, also, travels with pirates for a part of the graphic novel, and is attracted to a pirate girl who helps him. Other than that, there are not many more similarities, and I believe any that there are more than likely are just coincidental, but there were enough that made me think of Renier’s graphic novel as I read The Sentinels: Stone of Tymora, Book III.
The wizard Drizzt Do’Urden, who R.A. Salvatore has written about before in his series of novels called “The Legend of Drizzt,” is the one who tells Maimum to seek out the wizard Malchor Harpell. I found this interesting, also, that Salvatore references the title character of another of his series in this one. Also, another character who has played an important role in the “Stones of Tymora” series, Chrysaor, the blue-skinned pirate captain that Joen had previously served under while aboard the Lady Luck, makes an appearance again in this book, assisting them in locating Malchor Harpell.
The Sentinels: Stone of Tymora, Book III, is a great conclusion to the “Stone of Tymora” series that should appeal to anyone who loves swashbuckling fantasy novels involving pirates, wizards, and magical quests. I would recommend that you read the first two books in the trilogy first, though, The Stowaway and The Shadowmask. If you don’t, you may still enjoy reading The Sentinels, but it will probably take you longer to get into the book and become interested in it because it builds upon the first two books. This book is intended for young readers 9 and up. I hope the father and son team keep writing excellent novels, and I look forward to reading novels from both of them in the future.