I am sort of wondering about this book now because the more I think about it the more I realise that it is just the standard Dungeons and Dragons Forgotten Realms fantasy novel with nothing too deep about it. It was the first of the Drizzt Do'Urden novels (though it is number four in the series) and he went on to become a very famous Forgotten Realms character (and probably more preferred than Elminster) however the book is simply a fantasy novel and really goes little beyond that.
I believe (and it has been a long time since I read it) that some young magic user finds an artifact called the Crystal Shard that enables him to become really powerful and uses this artifact to raise up an army of humanoids to attack a region of the Realms known as the Ten Towns, which is located beyond a range of mountains known as Spine of the World in an area called Icewind Dale. Ironically this is the only of the Icewind Dale trilogy that is actually set entirely within Icewind Dale.
Like a number of the Dungeons and Dragons novels, this book brings together four characters, the aforementioned Drizzt, Wulfgar the Barbarian, a dwarf named Brunor Battlehammer, and a halfling name Cattie Brae (though she does not appear on the cover). Interestingly enough this group does not consist of any magic users (or Clerics) just warriors (though Drow are inherently magical, as it turns out the thing that seems to make Drizzt powerful is that he wields two powerful scimitars).
I have also noticed that when they do introduce these characters into the actual roleplaying products, they tend to make them incredibly powerful, however I suspect that that is because they tend to have the books set before any of the games can be run (and it would sort of upset the whole world if one were actually able to kill Drizzt when he was a kid). Still, when I was a lot younger, I did enjoy this series, but maybe it was because of the reason that everybody else liked the series, and that was because of Drizzt.