This was another attempt at picking up classic D&D fiction, and it went much better this time. Although this book feels like a rushed, hacked-together, novel-length advertisement for the Forgotten Realms, that's only because that's EXACTLY what it is. I read this in The Annotated Elminster, which is interesting mostly for the lengthy, arrogant, rambling of Ed Greenwood after each book. In this case it said: "I was told to make a story about a Elminster, I had 2 weekends to write it, and he had to be all four classes so that nobody would feel left out". Ouch.
That said, the book was entertaining, if predictable, and explored D&D lore that is interesting. It rarely surprises, but it show a lot of potential from the author, and I'll continue the other books in this volume to see if he lives up to that potential. Moreover, it was basically exactly what I wanted: modern pulp fantasy. Easy, accessible, throwaway junk fantasy set in an existing world... but not so bad I cringe when I read it.
Bottom line: If you're in the right mood, or you're a fiend for D&D, this book can satisfy. It isn't going to challenge you, it will ask absolutely nothing from you, but it'll fill some time and entertain while it does it. There's something to be said for that.