The Phoenix Guards – 101 Uses for Tables

“Well,” said Khaavren, “I have learned, at any rate, that one ought to be careful with whom one gambles.”

“I have learned that Dragonlords are not pleased when their diction is brought under such intense scrutiny.”

“And I,” said Tazendra, “have learned that tables have far more uses than I should have dreamed.”

-The Phoenix Guards

I’ve been recently reading this great book called The Phoenix Guards by Steven Burst. I’ve been introduced to Mr. Burst’s works a few years ago when I started reading his Vlad Taltos novels. If you’ve never heard of them, and you are a fan of fantasy works. You owe it to yourself to stop reading this blog immediately and pick them up right now. Now The Phoenix Guards actually takes place a few thousand years before the Vlad adventures and has nothing to do with the merry assassin outside of the setting, but the characters in this book are just as superb as Vlad himself.

The scene: a bar fight has turned ugly. Tazendra and her three friends are standing in front of a bunch of angry pissed off drunk guys with swords that want to lob their heads off that lie between them and the exit. Oh, and Tazendra’s sword is currently stuck in a wooden table that refuses to be freed. The obvious course of action is to try to fight your way out and beat a hasty retreat, and that is exactly what the group attempts to do. Tazendra however has no intention of leaving without her sword, and promptly proceeds to use the table as a batting ram while trying to free her blade. Her friends join in pushing the table and covering her, and what results is a rather amazing counteratta- no “table attack” as Burst puts it that shatters the poor attacking drunks. Now eventually the sword is freed from the table, and just in time, as the table has been pushed to the wall and the group is getting flanked. But never let it be said that one should underestimate the power of a table, especially when pushed rather dramatically.

This is just one awesome moment in the book. The truth is, there are lots more awesome moments in the book that take place before and after. I’d hate to spoil them all though. Suffice to say, if you want to read a book that is full of awesome, then you should read The Phoenix Guards.

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