Bunch, Chris. Knighthood of the Dragon.

London: Orbit Books, 2003

This is the middle volume of the “Dragonmaster” trilogy and the pace of the action, which opens only a few weeks after the climax of the first volume, never lets up for a minute. Hal Kailas, now Lord Kailas of Kalabas, Hero of Deraine, Defender of the Throne, is in charge of what constitutes Deraine’s air force in its long war with neighboring Roche.

Hal is a dragon flier, commander of as many other fliers as he can get trained, and he’d rather be on the back of his dragon than almost any place else in the world — with the exception of the bed of Lady Khiri Carstares, once his nurse as he recovered from the wounds of battle, and now his intended.

Hal is very much a leader-from-the-front, and this gets him captured early in the story and packed off to a Stalag-like prison-castle, which he finds it a definite challenge to escape from. But of course he does, and his first mission on his return is to free the rest of the prisoners. And then there’s the whole rest of the war to win, even though it’s taking a decade of his young life.

The author makes no bones about the bloodiness of war or the common fate of the dragon fliers, who assume early on that they won’t survive the war — think Sopwith pilots in World War I — but Hal is very much a Hero, no matter how reluctant. Even though all he can think about is a return to civilian life after the conflict ends. If it ever does.

This is an excellent series, with magic and wizards and dragons handled in a very matter-of-fact non-Tolkien way that makes them easy to accept. The characters on the Allied side are painted in depth, though the Bad Guys are somewhat cardboard. And given how this volume ends, I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Published in: on 9 November 2016 at 3:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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