After some people pointed out that The Parched Sea was little more than a rip off of Lawrence of Arabia, I was wondering whether the good people at TSR (as it was then) would take the same tact with this book and simply copy some pre-existing story and throw it into the Forgotten Realms. So, as I was reading it my mind was trying to come up with pop-culture equivalents to this book. So, what we have is a half-elf assassin and a magic-using companion who is regularly described as a dandy. It is also about a secret organisation known as the Harpers and they are attempting to track down an assassin who is killing off their members. So, taking the idea of a couple of cops, one straight, and the other rather eccentric, I immediately thought of this movie:
However, the since the Harpers are a secret organisation then equating them with the LAPD sort of didn't work. However, considering that it is about an assassin hunting down and killing members of this organisation, I considered that maybe they were copying this film:
Nope, doesn't work either.
Maybe we could go with this:
It sort of seems to work since the Harpers are a secret organisation, as is MI5, however the Harpers owe allegiance to no one where as MI5 owes allegiance to the Queen, and the Harpers seeks to fight for justice whereas MI5 simply fights for the interests of the British Empire. Still, close enough, especially since this book comes across with a lot more intrigue and mystery than many of the other Forgotten Realms (or even Dungeons & Dragons related books).
To be honest, I actually quite enjoyed it, and while it isn't in the league of Dostoyevski nor is it going to go down as a literary masterpiece in the same way as Madame Bouvery (nor would I suggest that Cunningham took the attitude of Flaubert in making sure that every sentence that she wrote was written to perfection) it is still a rather fun book to while away the time and to give one's mind a rest between the more serious books I tend to read.
To be honest, the mystery itself was pretty good, and it actually had a decent twist in it that I never actually expected. There is also a decent world changing plot (involving a magical gate that connects Faerun with the elven island of Evermeet that if discovered could seriously compromise the security of the later place), so I guess there is that James Bond element in it as well. However, what it doesn't have is the hidden superfortress and the armies of mooks that get mowed down in a machine gun fight at the end, but then again this is a fantasy novel so I guess machine guns probably wouldn't fit.