Saturday, November 1, 2008

Fortress Draconis (Dragoncrown War Cycle: Book 1) by Michael Stackpole

Mulluane | 3:05 PM | 4 Comments so far

In an age of treachery and peril, a young thief may be the prophesied savior ... or the betrayer of the world.

From Michael A. Stackpole, New York Times bestselling author and a master of epic fantasy, comes a stirring chronicle of magic, intrigue, passion, and the most unlikely of heroes...

Once one of the grandest of human cities, Yslin now has a dark heart known as the Dimandowns. And when Will, an orphaned young thief from the Dim, plots to prove himself to his master by stealing a prize from the exiled Elves who share the fetid slums, his theft of the strange artifact snares him in a web of prophecy.

It also brings him together with Kedyn’s Crow, a shadowy human warrior, and Resolute, a Vorquelf determined to redeem his long-lost island home. To them, Will could be the fulfillment of a long-held dream and the last chance the world has to save itself from Chytrine, the northern tyrant who would be empress of the world.

But their belief in Will finds few allies in a world torn by war and magick. Preoccupied with their own internecine struggles, the world’s leaders see Will as a pawn. Only Chytrine seems able to recognize Will’s destiny, and she sends her Dark Lancers to destroy him. For who better to destroy a hero than the ill-fated heroes of the previous generation, survivors of a failed war to exterminate Chytrine, now corrupted to her service?

Yet even as Will is tested, a new generation takes up arms where their predecessors failed. Alexia, princess of a dead nation, leads an army to oppose Chytrine. And the sorcerers of Vilwan have fashioned their own hero, Kerrigan Reese, bestowing upon him powers and abilities no human has held for centuries.

Together these heroes travel to the mysterious Fortress Draconis to stop Chytrine from stealing more fragments of the DragonCrown — a powerful artifact that, once in her control, will guarantee her dominion forever.  *Blurb Source: Spectra *
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Fortress Draconis (Dragoncrown War Cycle: Book 1) by Michael Stackpole

| Author: Michael A. Stackpole
| Genre: Epic Fantasy
| Content: Military, Dragons, Adult Themes
| ISBN-10:  0553578499
| ISBN-13: 9780553578492
| Publisher: Spectra  (October 29, 2002)
| Mass Market Paperback: 736
| Source: Personal copy
| Rating: 5 Stars
| Excerpt

♥ Mini Review ♥
25 years have passed since Tarrant Hawkins delivered Chytine's warning that she would be back, a warning that ended up labeling him as a traitor. Not that his warning was not true -- no, far from it -- but the ruling heads did not want to cause a panic so they in essence, killed the messenger. Tarrant takes the name Kedyn's Crow and goes underground to fight Chytrine with his friend Resolute at his side. For 25 years, the pair has damaged Chytrine in any way they could while searching for the last Norrington, the man named in prophecy to be the one who destroys Chytrine and redeems Vorquellyn.

Epic Fantasy Book Review by Mulluane

Will the Nimble is an orphan, thief and rogue. Raised in the Dimandowns, the dark underbelly of Yslin, Will strives to survive in a harsh and squalid environment using mainly his wits. That was until he conceived of a plan, a plan designed to impress his guardian and assure him of a status among thieves. This theft however catapults him into a life that he has only imagined and embroils him in a war. Fortunately, he will have Resolute and the Crow to guide him to his destiny.

Kerrigan Reese is the most powerful mage since the creation of the Dragon Crown. There are very few limits on his spell casting ability but he is also fat, spoiled and very sheltered. Kerrigan will also find himself thrust into a bloody war, a war that will shatter all his illusions and will either make him a man or destroy him.

Raised by the winged Gyrkyme, princess of a dead nation, warrior of unparalleled skill, Alexia has her own reasons for wanting to destroy Chytrine. Together these heroes will face an almost unstoppable force of pure evil while dealing with the prejudices and politics of their own allies. This will prove to be a difficult task and one where the outcome is by no means certain.

This book is in many ways completely different from the prequel. For one thing, the characterization is deeper. I felt a lot more connected to the players though not overly so. For another, the viewpoint is from multiple narrators so that also gives the story more depth. This is definitely an epic tale. I cannot begin to go into everything that happens in this book. There are plenty of twists, some unexpected surprises, and lots of detailed warfare. The characters do a lot of growing up, and maturing as they face trial after trial and to make things even more interesting, Chytrine is a much greater threat then in the previous story. There was less world building - that was pretty much covered in the prequel - though things have changed in 25 years and it was interesting to see the differences. Stackpole does showing well and in vivid detail. He also writes great dialog and incredibly detailed battle scenes. By comparison, his characterization is weak, this is more of a visual story of good verses evil then one with characters you can really care about.

The content is bloody, at times tragic and a bit more technical then I like with the mechanized inhabitants of Fortress Draconis plus the guns and cannons used as a part of the warfare. There was plenty of magic to balance things out though. More happens in this book then in some complete series I have read. The action moves at a fair clip and keeps you on your toes. The ending, while not totally unexpected, is a cliffhanger and you will most certainly want to pick up book two to find out what happens next. Which is what I am going to do now, meanwhile happy reading!

Series Summary
Other books in the series

Ratings, Reviews, Similar Reads, Buy Books, Affiliate Links

Librarything Rating 3.71/5

Amazon Rating 4.1 out of 5 stars
(33 Customer Reviews)

What Should I Read Next?
Podcast: Fortress Draconis: The Podcast

Kindle: No

Audible: No

Buy Book:
Amazon: US - Canada - UK
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Book review of Fortress Draconis (Dragoncrown War Cycle: Book 1) by Michael Stackpole - Reviewed by Mulluane - on November 01, 2008 - Rating: 5.0

Mulluane is a 56-year-old proud grandmother of 4, who is passionate about her pets, blogging, traditional fantasy, and tinkering with webdesign. She is obssesively photo shy but she uses an avatar that accurately represents her dreams. ♥ You can also find her on:

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  1. I met Mike Stackpole about 25 years ago at a Fantasy convention in Phoenix. I think I read one of his BattleTech novels back then.

  2. I'd love to meet an author, lol, any author! But health issues keep me pretty close to home. This is the first of his writings I've read and I'm impressed. He does military fantasy in a way that isn't boring and is, for me anyway, actually enlightening. I could do without the guns though :(

  3. I'll have to check this one out. I've been wanting to read something by Stackpole for a while. I know that he wrote one of the Star Wars books and I love his work on the Dragon Page Podcast. Thanks for the great review.


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