I fell in love with the Drizzt books years ago after reading The Crystal Shard. One year I received Pools of Radiance as a gift and was hooked. I began seeking out as many novels set in the Forgotten Realms series as I could. After reading the first of R.A. Salvatore's Drizzt books, they were my favorite hands down. R.A. Salvatore has a special gift for bringing his characters to life, and that is what sets the Drizzt books apart from many other novels out there. The first appearance of Drizzt Do'Urden occurs in The Crystal Shard.
Reading the Drizzt Books in Order
The tales of Drizzt were recently cummulated into chronological order and released as one combined series called The Legend of Drizzt. The Dark Elf Trilogy was released as The Legend of Drizzt books 1-3. The Icewind Dale Trilogy makes up the next installment in The Legend of Drizzt, followed by the Legacy of the Drow series, the series and The Hunter's Blades Trilogy. The Transitions series and the Neverwinter Trilogy were later added.
In addition, Drizzt is featured in several short stories such as "The Dowry," "Dark Mirror", and "Comrades at Odds" which you can find in The Collected Stories: The Legend of Drizzt. This compilation provides a great deal of additional background information about various characters, and fills in many missing pieces and gaps.
All of the Drizzt novels have made the New York Times Best Seller list. Many of the drizzt books have also been adapted into graphic novels by Devils Due Publishing. Drizzt has even made an appearance in RPGs based on the Forgotten Realms setting, including Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone and the Baldur's Gate Series.
The Creation of Drizzt
R.A. Salvatore originally created Drizzt in July 1987 as a supporting character in the Icewind Dale Trilogy. However, after sending a manuscript to Mary Kirchoff (TSR's managing editor at the time), she explained to him that it should be changed so that it was based around the Forgotten Realms. A few years later, the first manuscript would become his novel entitled, "Echoes of the Fourth Magic". At that time, Darkwalker on Moonshae by Douglas Niles was the only novel written that was based on the Forgotten Realms.
Salvatore sent her a proposal for a sequel to Darkwalker, but Kichoff sent back a large map of the Forgotten Realms and told him she wanted a new story set in a different part of the Realms. Finally after two weeks of examination, Salvatore found a spot on the map that was not already designated for another project, and he located Icewind Dale there. According to Salvatore, the book was
"set on the Moonshae Isles, because at the time I thought that was the Realms. When I found out how big the Realms were, I moved the story a thousand miles to the north."
Drizzt Books are Born on a Whim
Salvatore created Drizzt on the spur of the moment. He was under pressure to create a companion for Wulfgar in the Icewind Dale series. Salvatore had sent an early version of The Crystal Shard (what would become his first published novel) to TSR, and one day Kirchoff called him. She was on her way to a marketing meeting concerning the book, and informed him that they could not use one of the characters. He asked for time to think, but she was already late for the meeting. Off the top of his head, Salvatore said he had a Dark Elf. Kirchoff was skeptical, but Salvatore convinced her it would be fine because he was just a sidekick. She asked his name, and he replied Drizzt Do'Urden. She asked if he could spell it, and he said "not a chance". Recalling Drizzt's creation in an interview, Salvatore said, "I don't know where it came from. I guess that Gary Gygax just did such an amazing job in creating the drow elves that something about them got stuck in the back of my head. Thank God!" Although many readers have assumed that Drizzt is based on one of the many Dungeons & Dragons role-playing campaigns that the author has played, this is not the case. Salvatore's main influences were classical literature and works of J. R. R. Tolkien. "I like to think of Drizzt as a cross between Daryth from Darkwalker on Moonshae and Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings." Salvatore calls Drizzt "the classic romantic hero—misunderstood, holding to a code of ideals even when the going gets tough, and getting no appreciation for it most of the time." Over a dozen novels following our altrusic hero, Drizzt Books are some of the most popular stories set in the Forgotten Realms.