978-0-8125-4541-8 / 9780812545418

The Last Dragonlord


Publisher:New York, Tor Books, 1999



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About the book:

Dragonlords, according to Joanne Bertin, are immensely long-lived humans whose souls are half dragon and who can shapeshift into dragon form. The title character of her enjoyable debut fantasy is Linden Rathan, youngest of the dragon folk at a mere six centuries and still moping without a "soultwin" mate of his own kind. Unexpectedly he's sent to the city of Casna as one of three Dragonlord judges--the court of last appeal--to sort out a disputed succession. Adventure begins.

Casna is full of surprises, including much tangled intrigue whose strings are pulled by the Fraternity of Blood, a secret society long thought extinct but still dedicated to wiping out Dragonlords and their uncomfortably fair justice. Linden's dalliance with a lovely court lady is fraught with dangers he doesn't realise, and the discovery of his unexpected soultwin leads to new crises. Meanwhile the cold-eyed mage of the Fraternity is brewing poison and shaping deadly spells. Other plotters and counterplotters keep tugging in different directions. The multi-stranded narrative builds tension and a genuine sense of menace.

Bertain paints her characters deftly, with Dragonlords, nobles and villains all having very human flaws that lead to misunderstandings and big mistakes. At last everything is resolved in a satisfyingly fiery climax. A good fantasy read with some nicely original touches, The Last Dragonlord is a stand-alone story but also has a sequel: Dragon and Phoenix. --David Langford

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