Thursday, September 20, 2007
When Dragons Rage
Late last night I finished re-reading When Dragons Rage by Michael Stackpole.
The on-going war with Chytrine has hit sometihng of a speedbump. Kedyn's Crow's secret has been revealed to the world and now his friends must save him from execution at the hands of the cowardly King Scrainwood. In the meantime, General Adrogans fights to liberate Okrannel from Chytrine's forces even as the northern empress's troops ravage the once mighty Fortress Draconis.
Even after those initial threats are resolved, things spin out of control. What will happen as Will Norrington and his band of friends are summoned to help a country under assault by Chytrine's forces? What will happen when Chytrine springs an unexpected trap on Adrogans? And can Prince Erlestoke make it south from Fortress Draconis with a precious fragment of the DragonCrown? Or will Chytrine claim that piece as well?
I could keep describing the plot, because there's a lot of layers to it. There's Kerrigan Reese, the Vilwan Adept who learns more and more about the nature of magick from a mysterious tutor. There is Isaura, Chytrine's daughter, who seems a bit conflicted about her mother's predations.
But there is one thing that I realized I haven't touched on, the thing that makes this book series so fascinating: the introduction of dragonels.
In The Dark Glory War, we're presented with a medieval society. Bows and arrows, swords and cavalry, all that sort of thing. Then, toward the end of the book, Chytrine introduces a new weapon that tips the balance of power. Stackpole calls it a dragonel. We know it better as a cannon.
A large part of the plot of this book is the introduction of gunpowder-based weapons into a world of sword and sorcery. How do people cope with this new technology? How do people react to dragonels and draconettes (black-powder rifles)?
Once agian, this reveals Stackpole's strength when it comes to world building. He creates a world with its own logic and then upends everything by introducing a new element.
So I've got one book left in the trilogy. I can't wait to read it again. And if you haven't read Stackpole before, go get his books. Trust me. It'll be worth it.