It’s nearing the Celebration of the Great Dragon in the land of Andora. Having endured “many long years of famine and plague without respite,” the people of Andora are pleased to enjoy days of wine, stories and dancing. All is not well, however; the diabolical Lord Jarden threatens this time of peace. Having created an alliance with a race of surly reptilian creatures known as the Draccen, the question becomes who, if anyone, will be able to stop the dark lord. Fortunately for the old knight known as Sala, a group of sacred scrolls contains prophecies that will help to stop Jarden. Unfortunately, Sala can’t read them. He needs the help of slave girl Tahari. Since Tahari has her own slavery-related problems, the future of Andora hinges on a number of dangerous, complicated schemes of escape, battle and self-reliance. If the plot sounds complicated, it is. Mixed into such circumstances are flying arrows, thrusting swords, clever elves, drunken townspeople and magic. Multifaceted, though not impossible to follow, the novel shines when setting grand, fantastical scenes, such as a guarded city of sleeping Draccen who awaken to create a surge of chaos. Slowed by dialogue that states and occasionally restates the obvious (e.g., “Come, my friend, you been through much the last few days”), the novel can feel lengthy even for fans used to epic tales. Though the main conflict is a straightforward quest of good against evil, the story proffers rewards in the guise of a swerving narrative of courage.
An epic, sometimes-redundant fantasy; grand in scale and complex in its telling.