Bewildering Stories

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Lawrence Watt-Evan's Obsidian Chronicles

reviewed by Jerry Wright

D.W. Cover - D.S. Cover - D.V. Cover
Title: "Dragon Weather","The Dragon Society","Dragon Venom"
Author: Lawrence Watt-Evans
Dragon Venom is just out in hardcover, the previous volumes are available in HC and PB.

I first ran into Lawrence Watt-Evans' writings with a book called With A Single Spell. Actually, that's not completely true, as I'd run into some book about a "Garth the Overman" who seemed to be this character with red eyes, and it just didn't seem to be that interesting. Ha! Found out later, when I started compulsively reading everything by Mr. Watt-Evans, that the "Lords Of Dus" books were also a good read.

Anyway, LWE, as he is called, seemed very adept at writing light fantasy, and light SF. His "Ethshar" series, of which With A Single Spell is a prime example, were very enjoyable, but perhaps "frothy"? Well, he can write a serious fantasy, that is enjoyable but can also be read on multiple levels. "The Obsidian Chronicles" showcase Watt-Evans at his best.

One of the interesting things about this series is that fact that although each book builds on the previous, each book stands well by itself. I just recently found the paperback version of The Dragon Society, and what should come out just last month but Dragon Venom, the final book in the series.

This trilogy is the story of a young man named Arlian, who is injured by dragons who destroyed his village. While pinned under the dead body of his grandfather, he swallows some of his own blood mixed with dragon venom. He is changed, unknowingly, into a dragonheart. This will affect him for the rest of his life. He is enslaved, put to work in a mine and kept in the darkness for seven years. When he escapes, through the efforts of a murderer named "Bloody Hand", he vows to find the men who were profiting from his slavery, hunt them down, and kill them.

There are many dark and bloody doings in this series, but as Arlian, who later becomes "Lord Obsidian" finds, keeping his vow is much more complicated and has deeper ramifications than he could have ever believed. For there are a number of men and women who've become dragonhearts, and the secrets they hold can change the world in "The Lands of Man". The twists and turns of fate and dragonheart are devious indeed, and LWE has expended much effort in making all the loose ends fit together, and taking the story in directions that are hard to anticipate.

If you can only find one book in the series, don't be distraught, because they are all complete in themselves, and each tells a cracking good story. But... Read them all. You won't be sorry. And you will think about the interior conflicts for days or longer after reading these books.

Copyright © 2003 by Jerry Wright