Once, not so long ago,a warlock named Vond built an empire in the southern part of the Small Kingdoms. Vond is gone, but his empire survives under the rule of a seven-person Imperial Council and a young regent named Sterren.
The Empire of Vond was hardly trouble-free after Vond's departure. Its neighbors are understandably wary of further expansion, there are questions about how Vond's magic became so potent, and so on. Most of the World, though, doesn't care - Vond is off there in the southeastern corner of the World, far away from anywhere important.
But one day a dockworker named Emmis watches a Vondish ship arrive in Ethshar of the Spices and finds himself hired as native guide and aide to someone who claims to be Vond's ambassador plenipotentiary to the overlords of the Hegemony of the Three Ethshars.
But who is the Vondish ambassador, really, and what is his true business in Ethshar? And who has followed him to the city?
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Finally, an Ethshar audio book
I'd probably listen again as I pine, wishing for more books in the series to appear in audio. I've been reading Watt-Evans' Ethshar books for 20 years and about seven or eight years ago even emailed the author to ask if any audiobooks had been produced. He replied that as far as he knew, a few had been made as part of a "talking books" program for the blind but weren't available to purchase. I was elated to hear about this audio version, but there is some indication that due to complicated publishing rights issues this may be the only one in the series to become available.
Ethshar of the Spices. Although not anthropomorphized, the city still feels like a character.
He tried a little too hard to differentiate characters so the voices were a bit exaggerated and therefore sounded forced. Also, it's pointed out in the story that Emmis is relatively young so the gruff voice didn't really seem to fit. Didn't really bother me; it's just something I noticed.
If I had that much free time, yes.
Read all the Ethshar books. They're smart, funny, and entertaining. The worldbuilding and magic systems are very consistent and although there is a definite chronology and some connections between books, they don't have to be read in any particular order.