From the author of Icefalcon’s Quest (1998), among others, a sequel to Dragonsbane. These are the further adventures of bespectacled, bookish dragon-slayer John Aversin, Thane of the Winterlands, and his wizardly wife, Jenny Waynest. When a dragon attacks the Winterlands, John must go alone to kill the creature, Jenny being preoccupied with subduing a powerful but untrained bandit wizard. But Ian, John’s 12-year-old mage-born son, follows his father, ready with his healing skills. Though John wounds the dragon, he is badly injured himself, but as Ian steps forward, a mysterious mage intervenes, enslaving the dragon by saving its life, and abducting Ian as John watches helplessly. Soon this mage, Caradoc, enslaves more dragons and wizards. After Jenny helps John recover, he floats off in a hot-air balloon to consult Morkeleb the Black, oldest and greatest of dragons. But Morkeleb, who loves Jenny and once transformed her into a dragon, isn’t interested—until the enslaved dragons and wizards, orchestrated by Caradoc, attack him. John, meanwhile, delving into ancient texts, learns that Caradoc has sold his soul to a demon; crucially, the souls of those Caradoc has enslaved are trapped within gemstones, not lost forever. Even with Morkeleb’s help, though, John and Jenny are no match for Caradoc’s demon-powered wizardry. Worse, when Jenny attempts to use her dragon-powers against demon-Caradoc, he drinks her magic and enslaves her too, forcing her to perform unspeakable acts while relishing her agony and revulsion. John, risking eternal torment, must get help from demons even more powerful than Caradoc’s masters, but he finds that his wizardly allies, the gnomes, refuse to help him fulfill his part of the bargain. Beautifully concise, adroitly plotted, inventive, and insightful: a wrenching affair that works its barbed pleasures ever deeper into the enthralled, horrified reader.