Review: The Vondish Ambassador

Posted: August 4, 2009 by in Books We Like (4/5 single_star) Meta: Lawrence Watt-Evans, Fantasy

Unlike Rome, the Empire of Vond was built in a day—well, nearly—as the Warlock Vond conquered countless smaller kingdoms, shocking the known world of Ethshar. Until he stopped suddenly and disappeared, that is. Emmis, a lone dockworker finds himself hired as the Empire’s Ambassador… suddenly caught in the political intrigue, mystery of Vond’s power, and schemes of vengeance that go with the job.

Lawrence Watt-Evans doesn’t get the notice and praise he deserves. Readers often know him from his recent ANNALS OF THE CHOSEN (Amazon) trilogy, though many readers don’t know him at all. If you are included in the latter category, we pity you. To understand the beauty of THE VONDISH AMBASSADOR, one first needs to understand the beauty of Watt-Evan’s Ethshar series, and his writing.

Ethshar could be Discworld’s younger, less goofy brother. The world contains about seven different magic systems, and currently encompasses fourteen books which can be read in nearly any order—making the series a gold mine of enjoyable experiences. The true beauty of the series, and Watt-Evans’ writing, is that the emphasis is all on the characters. Oh there’s an enjoyable setting, villains, magic, action, and romance enough for all you plebeian readers out there. But these characters are everyday people, without power, without control, and often without any grand goal but simply finding their purpose.

To understand the beauty of THE VONDISH AMBASSADOR, one first needs to understand the beauty of Watt-Evan’s Ethshar series, and his writing.

THE VONDISH AMBASSADOR and others in the Ethshar series may seem simple and dry for many readers. But the everyday nature of these stories transcend carbon copy epics, gross facsimiles of gritty fantasies, and the derivative drivel of the same old fantasy. It’s simple. Among all the overwrought layers of legends, and impossibly built up heroes, simple is refreshing and unique—and that’s what good fantasy is about.


  • Recommended Age: 13+
  • Language: None—though there may be euphemistic expletives
  • Violence: Present in small amounts, un-gratuitous and tame. This is primarily about suspense, mystery, and tension.
  • Sex: None

We Three Literary Kings have met Lawrence Watt-Evans, and affectionately refer to him as LWE…though he doesn’t know that… yet. LWE is extremely personable, and we think you should get to know him too.

Many of the Ethshar novels were written as weekly serials, paid for by weekly donations from his fans before being published. Learn more about Ethshar at:


  • Dan Smyth says:

    Tried one of the “Chosen” books, and the writing in it was so horrible that I dropped it after about ten pages or so. Just couldn't do it. Has he become much better since then? If not, I'm afraid that I'll probably just pass on this one too.

    • Perhaps give it a try from your local library to see.

      Personally, I think you should give any book more than 10 pages. If all books were judged on the first 10, great authors like Erikson, Bakker, etc. Would never get read. Those first 10 are particularly rough in Fantasy and SF. LWE is considered by some to be an acquired taste, but we dig him.

      I tend to give a book half its length before i say, “BAHHHHHH!” Then I throw it against the wall. Twice. Twilight only took 2 sentences before I knew it would make me vomit.

    • -Slamel- says:

      The writing in the “Chosen” series was purposefully extra simplistic. LWE chose to focus on the examination of the human condition, and such that is where the focus of his writing went. As for his examination therein, it is surprisingly insightful and accurate and made, for me, an enjoyable series with a few downfalls that I easily got over.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks for this, I loved the first 3 books and couldnt remember who the authior was, nor the names of the books.

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