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Monday, June 17, 2024

Dragons of Fate, by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

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Dragons of Fate is the second book by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman in the new Dragonlance trilogy; Dragonlance Destinies.  Although reading the first book (Dragons of Deceit) is not essential, this would provide additional background and thus offer a more satisfying reading experience.

Dragons of Fate continues the adventure of Destina, as she attempts to go back in time to save her father.  However, her plans go awry when she goes further back in time than she intended, to the time of the third dragon war.  Joining Destina are Raistlin Majere and Sturm Brightblade.  Readers of previous Dragonlance novels will naturally recognise these names.

In the process of going back in time, Destina unintentionally brought with her Raistlin and Sturm. This was the doing of Chaos, trapped in the Graygem of Gargath, which Destina carries with her.  Also, along for the journey, is Tasslehof Burrfoot, the original bearer of the time journeying device.

Whilst Destina is the core protagonist of the Dragons of Fate, Raistlin and Sturm are very much the principal characters here.  Although it was initially disconcerting having these two characters return after their storylines had concluded, it actually makes a lot of sense.  Raistlin and Sturm are complete opposites and their relationship was never explored as much as it should have been in previous Dragonlance novels.  It is also interesting to see how they relate to the legendary Huma and his war mage friend Magius.

The story is set mostly in and around the High Clerist’s Tower, just before the attack by the armies of Takhisis.  This is a pivotal moment for the setting of Krynn, as Huma confronting Takhisis is the turning point in the war.  But with the Chaos now in this time, none of this is guaranteed, so it is up to Destina, Raistlin, Sturm and Tasslehoff to return to their own time without disrupting history.

It would be fair to say that things do not go to plan, especially when Tasslehoff is involved, and part of the fun of Dragons of Fate is watching Tasslehoff interacting with the various characters.  Tasslehoff has always been a marmite character, but he is used well, adding a touch of light to moments of darkness.

Raistlin remains as fascinating as always.  He is a deliciously complicated character that is continuing to evolve.  His complex portrayal is often at odds with the seemingly more simplistic representations of the other characters.  For example, all goblins are evil.  This could be due to the time when Dragonlance was first developed, but it was disconcerting when these moments arose in the narrative.

One confusing point of Dragons of Fate is that Raistlin and Sturm have memories up to the point of their death, but their skills and bodies from the start of the first Dragonlance book.  It could be argued this was necessary for Raistlin, as he was an incredibly powerful mage by the end, but may be confusing for some readers.

Keeping the narrative fixed around the tower adds a claustrophobic element to the story, as the characters attempt to survive the coming battle.  In many ways it is akin to David Gemmel’s Legend, which has a similar premise.  Including a map of the tower and its surroundings would have been a great addition.

Dragons of Fate was a thrilling read with some excellent characterisation.  This was a book that sang when focusing on Raistlin and Sturm.  The story builds to a fantastic conclusion, which ends on a cliff-hanger twist leading into the final book in the Dragons of Destiny trilogy.  Anyone who read Dragonlance novels back in the day will find a lot to like in this latest novel from Weis and Hickman.

Peter Ray Allison
Peter Ray Allisonhttp://www.peterallison.net
Science Fiction: the final frontier. These are the articles of the freelance journalist Peter Ray Allison. His continuing mission: to explore strange new realms of fiction, to seek out new genres and new visions of the future, to boldly geek where no one has geeked before.

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A well written to the world of Dragonlance with Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman - perfect for those who grew up reading Dragonlance Chronicles.Dragons of Fate, by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman