Sunday, September 16, 2007

Fortress Draconis

It's a generation after the events of The Dark Glory War. The previous set of heroes that set out to oppose Chytrine, the evil queen of the north, have been turned to her side and serve as her generals. Now a new group of heroes must rise and oppose them lest the entire world be overrun with evil.

I just love Michael Stackpole books.

Fortress Draconis continues the struggle against Aurolani forces and expands on the world exponentially. Whereas The Dark Glory War focused solely on the adventures of Tarrant Hawkins, this book has a cast of dozens and many branches of the same story.

For example, there's the story of Will the Nimble, an orphan thief who is brought out of the ghetto known as the Dimandowns by a Vorquelf named Resolute and a man known simply as Kedyn's Crow and learns of his grander destiny, one that he simply cannot avoid. Then there's Kerrigan, the Vilwanese Adept, possibly the most powerful wizard alive, who desperately needs to mature as he leaves his island sanctuary. Add to the mix Princess Alyx and her Gyrkyme "sister" Perri, two warriors caught up in the struggle to free Alyx's home country. Throw in General Adrogans, a seemingly pompous military genius, overlay it all with political intrigue, and build it on a rich backstory with some very sharp wit, and you have an engaging read that will keep you rooting for the good guys to crush Chytrine.

My one gripe (and I brought this up in my review of The Dark Glory War) is that if you've read that book (and you almost have to), you know one of the "big secrets" in this book from the very beginning. The reveal on the last page is somewhat anticlimactic because of that. Maybe you could read Fortress Draconis first and then The Dark Glory War. It's hard to say.

But that's not to say that it completely ruins the story. There's no way it could. Once again, Stackpole creates a rich world that hangs together very well with engaging characters who are set on opposing their evil nemesis. You can't go wrong with an epic story like that.

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