Dragons of a Lost Star, by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Don’t worry, Conundrum.  I’ll fix everything.
-Tasslehoff Burrfoot, not knowing that those are usually the last words that associates of kender ever hear.

Dragons of a Lost Star kicks off with the leader of the Dark Knights of Neraka catching up on current events; and a lot is going on:  the great dragon Beryl is attacking both the elven nation of Qualinesti and the Citadel of Light; and a thorn in his side, a mysterious young woman named Mina has brought down the magical shield protecting the elven nation of Silvanesti.  Strangely enough, because of his rather delicate balancing act between Beryl and the dragons Malystryx and Khellendros, and the fact that he fears that Mina wants his job, none of this really comes as good news to him.

At the Citadel, the priestess Goldmoon-mysteriously restored to youth, at least in body-follows dead souls to an uncertain destination.  In Qualinesti, the Queen-Mother Laurana, King Gilthas, and Marshal Medan of the Dark Knights attempt to find a way to save as many elves as possible from the wrath of Beryl, and possibly find a way to do her in as well.  In Silvanesti, the new King Silvanoshei deals with accepting the “friendly” invading army of Dark Knights led by Mina, with whom he has fallen in love.  And Palin Majere and Tasslehoff Burrfoot, escaping the attack at the Citadel, find themselves in the presence of a dark wizard that neither has seen for a long time.

Now, shake thoroughly, and you get a continent embroiled in conflict.  It’s not as far reaching at first glance as the War of the Lance, where armies where marching all over the place conquering anything they came across.  On the other hand, its much more of a holy war than the original War.  With the gods having gone MIA in Dragons of Summer Flame, a woman wielding god-given power in the name of her One God, it isn’t hard to see how she gains such a profound following…even as she tends to convert with the sword.  (Carrot and stick in religious warfare….)

There are subplots galore here as well.  Gerard uth Mondar finds himself in a bit of a pickle when he tries to deliver to the Solamnic Knights a cry for help from Qualinesti…mostly because he returns with the appearance of a Dark Knight; he also runs into a very different kind of knight and is defended by the last person he wants to be associated with.  Medan continues to act against the Dark Knights and Beryl, because of his love for Qualinesti and a certain elven woman, and prepares a last stand in the city of Qualinost.  And the leader of the Dark Knights, Morham Targonne, has his confrontation with Mina at last.

Mina remains the most fascinating character of this series, as she should be.  I’ll freely admit that I was wrong about certain guesses I had about her (I was close, but “close” only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and thermonuclear weapons), but that’s my own problem…I’ll keep my day job….  Mina continues to be an extremely complicated woman, seemingly beneficent at some points, healing the sick and raising the dead; at other points, though, she’s coldly manipulative and treacherous.

There’s a number of revelations in this book:  Mina’s true nature, the truth behind the One God, the truth behind the great dragon overlords, and the fall of…well, let’s not ruin things too much, eh?

Weis and Hickman never disappoint; Dragons of a Lost Star keeps the pace of the previous book, and the last eight pages of the book deliver a hell of a payoff!  While I wasn’t sure if this was actually going to work as a trilogy for most of the book (there seemed a lot of things that still seemed hidden), that finale sets things up for a rousing conclusion for the next book…next year…!

(Oh, god, I’m never going to make it another twelve months)

The Dragonlance books (at least as written by these authors) continue to deliver a good read to fantasy readers, with a combination of romance, treachery, adventure, and all-out war.  Faithful readers of Dragonlance will enjoy this book, with both the standard humor and the bittersweet moments that are typical of the Dragonlance saga.  I expect I’ll be gushing again once we hit the final installment.

Categories: Dragonlance, War of Souls | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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