Forgotten Realms Wiki
Forgotten Realms Wiki

The Crystal Shard is the first book in the Icewind Dale trilogy by R.A. Salvatore. It was later reissued as book four of the Legend of Drizzt series.

Akar Kessel, a weak-willed apprentice mage sets in motion events leading to the rediscovery of the magical device, the Crystal Shard. But is it merely an inanimate device... or is it capable of directing the defeat of Ten-Towns?

Or have the barbarians already arranged for that themselves? Their brutal attack on the villages of Ten-Towns seals their fate, and that of the young barbarian Wulfgar. Left for dead, Wulfgar is rescued by the dwarf, Bruenor, in exchange for five years of service... and friendship. With the help of the dark elf, Drizzt, Bruenor reshapes Wulfgar into a warrior with both brawn and brains.

But is Wulfgar strong enough to reunite the barbarian tribes? Can an unorthodox dwarf and renegade dark elf persuade the people of Ten-Towns to put aside their petty differences in time to stave off the forces of the crystal shard?


The first part of the book introduces the cold land of Icewind Dale, the Ten-Towns, and the main characters: the drow ranger Drizzt Do'Urden, who has chosen to live in the surface world instead of in the evil and ruthless Underdark; the dwarf clan leader Bruenor Battlehammer, who was forced to abandon his home of Mithral Hall with his clan; and the halfling Regis, who settled down in Ten-Towns where he hopes that the eye of his ex-guildmaster couldn't reach him.

The three heroes will play a main role in the upcoming events. The barbarian tribes of the North, guided by the two kings Beorg and the ruthless Heafstaag, have united to bring destruction over Ten-Towns, counseled by the betrayer deBernezan. Only the efforts of the three heroes (with some help from Regis' magical gem) could persuade the leaders of Ten-Towns to join their forces against the common enemy, leading them to victory. This part ends with Bruenor who spares the life of a young barbarian called Wulfgar whom he had met in battle.

Meanwhile, in the Spine of the World, the wizard apprentice Akar Kessel is betrayed by some fellow wizards and left to die in the frozen land. He finds the lost relic known as Crenshinibon which gives him the power to survive and to build a tower; Cryshal-Tirith. The powerlusting relic "guides" the mind of the human through dreams toward greater goals, like the conquest of Ten-Towns. Kessel, with his new powers, began to gather allies.

The second part of the book begins five years after the battle against the barbarians and focuses mainly on the character of Wulfgar. His hard feelings against Bruenor, who forced him to live among the dwarves and work for him, are slowly replaced by affection and fondness. When the time came close for the barbarian to set out free once again from Bruenor's captivity, the dwarf forged for him the magical warhammer Aegis-fang and entrusted him to Drizzt for some last lessons.

In the meantime, Akar Kessel is joined by the demon Errtu, which desires the power of Crenshinibon more than anything else. The demon didn't want to act against the relic's will though, so it chose to serve Kessel. The wizard, his army now almost ready, made his first move. He sent a company of giants, instead of more reliable humans as suggested by Crenshinibon, to Kelvin's Cairn to set up a base in secrecy. The bloodlusting verbeeg giants became restless and instead of staying hidden in a cave they organized small raiding parties. One of the parties found and killed two dwarves of Bruenor's clan. Upon stumbling on the signs of the battle, Drizzt and Wulfgar became aware of the approaching storm. They tracked and destroyed the murderous raid party, but not before learning about the hidden base and the incoming reinforcements. Together with Bruenor they came up with a plan to face this new menace. Bruenor and his dwarves took care of the reinforcements while Drizzt and Wulfgar, with the aid of Guenhwyvar, wiped out the giants' base. In the process they became aware of the existence of Akar Kessel.

The third part of the book begins with the companions learning about Kessel's army by using Regis' gem to interrogate an orc who had survived the skirmishes. They also discovered that the barbarian tribe to which Wulfgar belonged had joined the wizard's forces.

Regis and Bruenor tried once again to persuade the leaders of Ten-Towns to join their forces, but this time the stubborn pride of some of them left all the settlements on their own. In the meantime Wulfgar, followed in secrecy by Drizzt, went to the hidden lair of the white dragon Ingeloakastimizilian. With the aid of the drow, he defeated the dragon. Then, while Drizzt returned to Ten-Towns, the barbarian traveled to his tribe. He challenged and defeated the leader, the ruthless Heafstaag, in a duel and took his place. He finally persuaded the tribe to join Ten-Towns against Kessel.

Meanwhile, the wizard's army was already on the move and many of the Ten-Towns were burnt or taken. The main settlement, Bryn Shander, was besieged and Kessel himself appeared right after the demon Errtu had raised a new Cryshal-Tirith not far from the human town.

Drizzt, aware of Errtu's presence, summoned the demon in a hidden place and learned from him of the existence of Crenshinibon before Errtu would become aware of the true nature of the drow. Drizzt was able to wound the demon and to banish it into the Abyss for a century. Cassius, the leader of Bryn Shander, decided to send Regis to meet Kessel. The halfling manages to buy the people of Ten-Towns some more time and to set some factions of Kessel's army against each other. Drizzt manages to sneak into Cryshal-Tirith. He is able to reach the tower's core and causes the entire structure to collapse to the ground. In the meantime all the people of Icewind Dale, the dwarves of Bruenor, the barbarians led by Wulfgar, the people of Bryn Shander and the survivors of the other nine towns, join together and are able to defeat Kessel's army. The wizard dies because the power of Crenshinibon caused a massive avalanche on Kelvin's Cairn, which buried both the wizard and the relic.

The book ends with Bruenor, Drizzt and Wulfgar leaving Icewind Dale on their quest to Mithral Hall, the ancient home of the dwarves, soon followed by Regis who looks for a means to escape Artemis Entreri's hunt.


AgorwalArtemis EntreriBruenor BattlehammerBeorgBiggrinBundoCassiusCatti-briedeBernezanDendybar the MottledDrizzt Do'UrdenDorim LugarDourgasEldelucErrtuFender MallotGlensatherGrockGuenhwyvarHaalfdaneHeafstaagIngeloakastimizilianJensin BrentKemp of TargosAkar KesselMorkai the RedMuldoonRegisRevjakSchermontTelshazz[2]TorgaWulfgar
Referenced only
Angaar the BraveBeorneBeornegarAl DimeneiraRaag DoningFellhammerUrgutha ForkaArgo GrimbladeHrothulf the StrongJorn the RedPasha Pook
knucklehead trouttundra widowmakerverbeegwater constrictorwhite dragonyeti
Referenced only
Battle of Bryn ShanderBattle of DaledropBattle of Icewind Dale
Aegis-fangCrenshinibonEntreri's daggerIcingdeathnewsbearerRegis' Gem
AbyssBremenBremen's RunBruenor's ClimbBryn ShanderCryshal-TirithDaledropEasthavenEvermeltHengorotIcewind DaleIcewind PassKelvin's CairnLac DinneshereLonelywoodMaer DualdonReghed GlacierSpine of the WorldTargosTen-TownsTermalaine
Tribe of the ElkTribe of the Wolf
Fishing rodGavel


Edition Pages ISBN-10 ISBN-13 Publisher Published Citation
Mass Market Paperback (Reprint) 384 0-7869-4246-0 978-0786942466 Wizards of the Coast 2007-01-09
Paperback 336 0-1401-1137-9 978-0140111378 Penguin Books 1988

The novel is also available as part of The Icewind Dale Trilogy Collector's Edition and The Icewind Dale Trilogy Gift Set.



See Also[]


  1. Eric L. Boyd, Ed Greenwood, Steven E. Schend (2000). Presenting...Seven Millennia of Realms Fiction. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2003-06-21. Retrieved on 2015-08-12.
  2. R.A. Salvatore (January 1988). The Crystal Shard. (TSR, Inc), p. 9. ISBN 0-88038-535-9.