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Years before the Demon Wars in the land of Corona, Bran Dynard, a monk of the Abelle religion, returns to his home from a far-off land, with a book of mystical knowledge and Sen Wi, his beautiful and mysterious wife. R.A. Salvatore's prelude to the Demon Wars Sagas The Highwayman is a stimulating ride into the early history of Corona and the vehicle is the creation a new, Drizzt-rivaling hero. Salvatore spins the tragic tale of an Abellican missionary who returns to Honce from the desert land Behr with wonders from the ancient Jhesta Tu monastery. At his side is his wife, a Jhesta Tu mystic. His dreams of uniting the teachings of the Jhesta Tu and "The Church of Blessed Abelle" are broken against the realities of bigotry and the young Abellican Church's struggle for political favor against the Druid-like Samhaists. But from their doomed union will rise a people's hero--the Highwayman.
This novel is, at its heart, an origin tale and Salvatore takes time to spin his hero's legend. Although the stirring set piece at the novel's launch will let readers know where he's going, discovering how he gets there is a thrill and a pleasure, making this one of Salvatore's most mature and deliberate novels. In the backdrop, fans of the Demon War Sagas will watch the emerging Abellican Church as it grows from virtual cult to the calcified institution of the later books. In all, this is a stimulating addition to the Corona universe. --Jeremy Pugh