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Linden Rathan is a mere 600 years old, the youngest of a race of weredragons known as Dragonlords. Linden is tall, powerful, quick, fireproof, and can read minds; his Rathan aspect is a huge red dragon. Because of their powers, Dragonlords are traditionally employed as judges and mediators among truehumans. So when a dispute concerning the Cassori throne arises, three Dragonlords attend: the pair-bonded ""soultwins"" Kief and Tarlna, and lonely Linden. Young Prince Rann is heir to the throne but, meantime, who will be regent? His brother, Prince Peridaen, or his uncle, Duke Beren? Advised by his steward, Kas Althume (actually a powerful mage with a hidden agenda), Peridaen urges the beautiful Lady Sherrine to beguile Linden and learn his weaknesses. Althume, Peridaen, and Sherrine are members of the Fraternity, a secret society dedicated to magic and power--but, unknown to the other two, Althume uses evil magic and blood sacrifice and seeks the destruction of the Dragonlords. To Beren's surprise, a document naming him as regent goes missing, then mysteriously reappears (it is, of course, a forgery). Sherrine, meanwhile, effortlessly seduces the willing Linden. But when stunning sea captain Maurynna encounters Linden, he's at once smitten by her eyes (they're different colors) and knows that she's his destined soultwin, a nascent dragon even though she clearly hasn't yet Changed and is unaware of her heritage. The Fraternity assumes that Sherrine is Linden's future mate and lays its plans accordingly: Althume is to sacrifice Prince Rann, use the power thereby gained to control Sherrine, then destroy the Dragonlords. A convincingly colorful welter of plots and stratagems set forth with confidence and finesse; but readers may well require more of a newcomer than cumbersome dragons and musty magicking.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1998
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Tor