Daughter of the Drow

The first book in the Starlight & Shadows trilogy introduces Liriel, the daughter of Menzoberranzan’s archmage Gromph Baenre. Her immersion into the drow culture of treachery and murder came at the age of five, when Gromph ordered the death of her mother so that he could take possession of the magically-gifted child. Liriel was a surviver, and she did her best to become what was expected of her.  Now the equivalent of a human teenager, she is drow to the core: devious, ambitious, driven. Yet something remains from those years as her mother’s adored child–a certain restlessness, a longing for something she can’t quite define.

Unlike most noble drow females, Liriel was trained in the arts of magic rather than raised as a future priestess. She had all the advantages her father’s wealth and position offered, as well as a rare degree of freedom to pursue her own interests. And the two things Liriel loved most were magic and  exploring. The little-known tunnels of the Underdark, underground lakes filled with voracious fish, the lair of a two-headed deep dragon–no place in the Underdark was too remote or dangerous for the adventurous young girl.  When the Matron Mother of House Baenre decreed that Gromph’s daughter must enter Arach Tinilith to train as a priestess of Lolth, Liriel’s days of freedom seemed destined to end.

Then a drow merchant with an agenda of his own gives Liriel books about the surface world. She is, as he anticipated, immediately seized by a longing to explore the lands of light.  But at the time, no drow magic could endure the light of the sun. When Liriel finds a way to take her innate drow magic and her wizard’s spells to the surface, she slips away from the priestess academy. But many enemies and challengers follow her. Some want to possess her secret, others simply want her dead.  When she makes an alliance with one of her rivals–Fyodor, a young berserker warrior from the land of Rashemen–she begins an adventure far greater than any she’d ever imagined.


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Purchase the book:

Ebook version:
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Print version:

Both the hardcover and paperback are out of print, but you can find copies at Amazon at the following link:

Daughter of the Drow (Forgotten Realms: Starlight and Shadows, Book 1)

Starlight & Shadows Gift Set:

Currently out of print. Click on the image to check Amazon for available copies:

Daughter of the Drow, Audiobook 




More info:

Liriel’s Bibliography:

Here’s a list, in Realms-time chronological order, of the short fiction and novels featuring Liriel:

“Rite of Blood,” a novella originally published in the anthology Realms of the Drow and reprinted in the collection Best of the Realms Book III: The Stories of Elaine Cunningham. This is a coming of age story that takes place when Liriel is the equivalent of a very young human teenager.

Daughter of the Drow (novel, book 1 of the Starlight & Shadows trilogy.) The prelude of this novel starts when Liriel is five years old, but the main events occur during the year 1362 DR.

“The Direct Approach,” a sort story originally published in Realms of Magic and reprinted in Best of the Realms III, takes place directly after the events of Daughter of the Drow.

Tangled Webs, (novel, book 2 of the Starlight & Shadows trilogy).  1362 DR.

Windwalker, (novel, book 3 of the Starlight & Shadows trilogy).  1362 DR.

“Answered Prayers” is a short story written for the Best of the Realms III collection. It takes place ten years after the events of Windwalker.


Cover Art:

The cover art for the paperback reprints was painted by Todd Lockwood.  To see more of his illustrations, visit his artist website.   Here’s a link to the art for Daughter of the Drow, with a few words from Todd about the symbolism and storytelling in the art.

7 thoughts on “Daughter of the Drow

  1. I have to admit, this is my favorite drow book ever. The way the characters are written are just so perfect. I got so drawn into this book when I bought it back in the day and just couldn’t set it down.

  2. Just had to read the book all over again, and then the next two, of Liriel. My most favorite drow female ever.
    Thanks again, Elain Cunningham for penning her stories.

  3. I’d love to see a follow up series to the trilogy. ‘Fate’ went to an awful lot of trouble to bring Liriel to Rashemen. There must be reason for her presence there, plus she’s very young, she’s got a ton of life left before her. I was hoping for a child, but that never happened.

    1. Hi, Trey. I’ve often thought of revisiting Liriel’s story. As you say, she was very young at the end of WINDWALKER. In drow terms, she was about the equivalent of of sixteen- or seventeen-year-old human. Even with the edition change and the 100-year time leap, she would still be very young.

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