Sunday, May 02, 2010

Books: The Dragon of Despair

The Dragon of Despair
by Jane Lindskold
Copyright 2003
754 pages

This is the third book in Lindskold's Wolf series, the first being Through Wolf's Eye and Wolf's Head, Wolf's Heart.

The books center around Firekeeper, aka Lady Blysse, a feral child raised by "royal wolves" in a western and unexplored area of a new world settlement. She is about 16 and in book one she was returned to civilization to be exploited by a noble who tried to pass her off as the granddaughter of the king through a son who had split with his father and settled in the wild country.

Firekeeper has a magical talent in that she can speak to animals. This is fantasy without high magic; very little conjuring. But magical talents lay latent in the people. Some heal, some fight well, at least one controls minds. The people in all but one of four lands dislike magic and shy from it.

In book three, we find Firekeeper at odds with herself. Is she human or wolf? Does she stay to protect her wolf family from another encroaching settlement or do as the king asks and go to the east to stop a sorceress? In the end she goes east because the king agrees to stop the settlement and she trusts his word.

In the east, Firekeeper and her friends (she has a lot of friends; while the books are about Firekeeper, they are really ensemble books with many heroes. I was mostly interested in Firekeeper, however.) must face off against a land that doesn't like foreigners as well as the sorceress, who is from their own land.

The book is quite detailed and being very long there are many plots and descriptions. I would call this political fantasy as opposed to just straight fantasy as there is a lot of intrigue and political maneuvering in these tomes.

There are two other books in this series but I think it will be a while before I read those. Time to move on to something new. I did not dislike this book but I am somewhat ambivalent about it and while I would welcome the other books I am in no hurry to read them.

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