While this isn't my favorite of Salvatore's Forgotten Realms series, it would rank close to the top. The Hunter's Blades trilogy is much darker than his previous books, with a pervasive feeling of loss and doom hanging over nearly the whole thing. All of the characters go through pretty extreme emotional turmoil, but Drizzt in particular has a rough time of it, reverting back to the Hunter and struggling with his belief that his friends are dead. Regis, Wulfgar, and Catie-Brie don't know where Drizzt is and are watching Bruenor slowly die through much of the trilogy. And everybody is in very desperate straights as a seemingly unstoppable orc horde grows and grows to where there doesn't seem any way the people of the North can hold back the tide.
This trilogy greatly expands (sometimes temporarily) the host of characters, and is really a character-driven story. New allies such as Banak Brawnanvil, Tred McKnuckles, Dagnabbit, and Nikwillig expand the scope of the story. Also, great new villains are introduced, including Proffit the troll, Gerti Orelsdottr, Tos'un, Ad'non, and of course Obould. We get much of the story told from their perspective, which is a fairly new strategy used by Salvatore.
The first book, The Thousand Orcs picks up right where 'SEA OF SWORDS' left off. The companions are reunited (with the addition of Delly Curtie and baby Colsen), and Bruenor and the gang are setting off for Mithril Hall where Bruenor will take up the kingship. Unbeknownst to them, a powerful leader has emerged in the orc tribes of the Spine of the World, uniting the orcs and allying with a band of frost giants and renegade drow. As Drizzt and Co. travel to Mithril Hall they encounter many signs of heavy orc activity and decide to patrol the region and warn its inhabitants of the danger. They also make a stop at Mirabar, a rival of Mithril Hall, to stir up trouble and remind Mirabar's dwarves of their heritage. The whole book comes down to a desperate situation with the Companions being trapped in the town of Shallows during a siege of overwhelming strength. The final battle takes up the majority of the second half of the book and is quite intense.
The Lone Drow picks up with the dwarves falling back to Keeper's Dale outside Mithril Hall and Drizzt believing that all of his friends were killed. During his broken-hearted rampages against the orcs, Drizzt encounters Tarathiel and Innovindil, who help bring him back to sanity and then aid him in disrupting the greenskin army. Some characters from Mirabar, introduced in the first book, were further developed here, particularly Torgar Hammerstriker, Shoudra Stargleam, and Nanfoodle. The orc king, Obould Many-Arrows, through blessings from his god and increased support from his kin, becomes a worthy foe for the powerful Companions.
My favorite book of the trilogy was The Two Swords, in which Drizzt and Obould finally face off and the dwarves of Mithril Hall defend their home against a determined press and link up with their allies. Wulfgar's new wife, Delly Curtie, plays a major role in this one, as do all of the old characters we love so much. Also, we get the reunion of the Companions that we've been looking forward to so long. One very pleasing thing about this book was the emotional (and physical) play between Innovindil and Drizzt, perhaps the first time that we see some weakness in our hero. While the ending isn't as conclusive as I had hoped, I'm sure Salvatore has great plans for the next trilogy, Transitions.
If you liked the other Drizzt books, you'll probably like this one too. Its not really any better or any worse, and doesn't change too much except for possibly becoming a little more mature, with some rather graphic scenes and a couple of uses of the word 'bitch'. I was extremely pleased with this trilogy and look forward to reading the next one.