Dragonlord of Mystara
Series: The Dragonlord Chronicles, #1
Author: Thorarinn Gunnarsson
Pursued across rugged mountain country by dragons until nearly dead from fatigue, the sorceress of unknown origin lived only long enough to give birth to her son.
Now, years later, the dragons have returned in fury to ravage the northern lands in search of the sorceress’ orphaned offspring.
Thelvyn Fox Eyes and his guardian, one-handed adventurer Sir George Kirbey, embark on a fantastic quest to unlock the secret of an elusive prophecy that will lead them to the legendary Dragonlord.
For if the dragons decide to go to war, only the Dragonlord can stop them ….
Rating: Interesting, Epic, Descriptive and Down-to-earth
I picked up Dragonlord for its title and its dragons. It’s not the deepest, most thought-provoking book in the world, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thelvyn is an orphan of strange and uncertain origins, from a strange race, raised among a hide-bound, arrogant people, and his experience with that is not brushed off. His difficulties simply from the fact that he is different, and his skills and weaknesses, the things he is good at and the things he struggles at, don’t match those of the Flaemish settlers among whom he is raised is not glossed over. Neither is the further difficulty of the fact that the Flaem refuse to give him the opportunity to learn or explore any of the skill-sets that appeal to him, because they basically don’t want to give anything to outsiders. So Thelvyn’s life in the village is one of mild, but not extreme, ostracism that never quite turns to hostility but definitely leaves him excludes, and makes his life one of far less interest than it needs to be, though he is generally treated well enough.
But as Thelvyn comes of age, the dragons who hounded his mother to her death appear again, not near the village where Thelvyn lives, but attacking Flaemish settlements and drawing nearer.
Sir George, an antique merchant/knight who has a home in the Flaemish village and has kept his wing over Thelvyn ever since only he was able to converse with Thelvyn’s mother before she died after giving birth to him, takes Thelvyn with him after Thelvyn comes of age. Along with them are George’s friends, a tall female Northlands warrier, named Solveig, a dwarf named Korinn, and a mage named Perrantin. They ride off on a quest to find out why the dragons are attacking the Flaem and see if there is anything they can do to stop them.
Dragonlord of Mystara stands out from many similar epic fantasies in its devotion to the details and experiences of everyday life and the different peoples they meet, though magic of course plays its role in how things turn out, with a mage like Perrantin and Sir George along! The care of horses is not completely neglected and is given a little more attention than it is in many fantasies. The various lifestyles and ways of earning a living of different people in different environments is acknowledged. A case in point is the Ethengar of the steppes and their sparse lifestyle and food. Or there are the dwarves’ strange funguses that they love to eat. Bits and pieces of politics and mysteries are interwoven with the story, and the cast of adventurers is interesting and unique.
The dragons of this book are also interesting and unique, with a nice spin on stories about dragons and how they might – or might not – reflect the reality. For an example: why do people think dragons are evil monsters? Because dragons are generally reclusive, and the only ones most people are likely to meet are the renegades! I liked these dragons – independent, ancient, magical, possessed of a variety of character traits.
Thelvyn’s character development is not very deep, but it’s definitely there. His reaction to discovering that he is part of an ancient Prophecy is genuine. He’s a young man, quiet, confused, searching for who he is, responsible, and adventurous. If you’re looking for a defiant hero who wants to challenge fate, don’t go for Thelvyn, but I enjoyed him.