Dragon Bones by Patricia Briggs (2002), published by Ace. I enjoyed Moon Called and wanted something else to read from Brigg’s backlist. An online pal said that the Hurog Duology would be worth checking out and it is. Briggs has written a very interesting hero whose POV dominates much of the book. Here is the synop:
Most everyone thinks Ward of Hurog is a simple-minded fool-and that’s just fine by him. But few people know that his foolishness is (very convincingly) feigned. And that it’s all that’s saved him from death at the hands of his abusive father-who’s always seen Ward as a bitter rival for power. When his father dies, Ward becomes the new lord of Hurog, until a nobleman declares that he is too dim-witted to rule. Ward knows he cannot play the fool any longer.
To regain his kingdom, he must prove himself worthy-and quickly. Riding into a war that’s heating up on the border, Ward is sure he’s on the fast track to glory. But soon his mission takes a deadly serious turn. For he has seen a pile of magical dragon bones hidden deep beneath Hurog Keep. They are Hurog’s most precious, powerful treasure-and Ward is certain his enemies will kill to possess them.
Dragon Bones by Patricia Briggs was a very engaging read. The story is character driven and has plenty of action in it. It’s an adventure story full of magic and political intrigue (which I love a lot). I am surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did because the story manages to have two things that I normally despise in a novel: first person narration and shifting POV’s. There are maybe two or three chapters that are told in third person but the rest of the novel is told from the hero’s POV, which is a novelty of sorts in itself, since such novels are rare. Our hero is Wardrick of Hurog aka Ward; a young man who is a very reluctant hero of sorts who plays dumb in order to escape his father’s wrath.
Playing the fool ends up hurting Ward. It is after his father’s death that he learns that his father wants him committed to the asylum. Thereby passing over his family home of Hurog to his Uncle and cousins. In order to divert this order, Ward leaves his home of Hurog and decides to make a name for himself as a warrior. His Uncle Duraugh doesn’t want Hurog Keep and worries for Ward and for his well being.
Meanwhile, Ward along with a few of his comrades which includes a powerful mage named Bastilla, who flees to Hurog as a slave but isn’t all that she seems. Then there’s the wizard of the keep, Oreg, who is also his friend, mentor and advisor. Plus a host of other characters. Ward’s entourage strike off for a city that is rife with bandits and raiders who are stealing powerful artifacts to create dangerous magic. It is discovered that Hurog has been the home of some powerful dragon bones that is heavily sought after by many. The fear is that if the dragon bones were ever in the wrong hands, all hell would break loose. It is that fear that drives many to protect the dragon bones at all costs.
This book is a keeper for me because I really liked Ward. He has such a good heart and is always shown to be thinking of others before himself. He’s honorable, respectful, caring and he doesn’t trifle with love. He’s one the best heroes I’ve enjoyed reading. Another reason I enjoyed this novel was for the political intrigue and suspense that is very well done and keeps readers on the edge of their seat for the outcome. You cared about the ramifications of the political games that were rampant and dangerous. Lastly, as a reader, I was engaged in this story and wanted to know the outcome of the characters and hope that they make it alive. Overall, this fantasy novel held me captivated until the last page was turned.
On the down side, I think Briggs tends to spend a little too much time describing the keep, the mountains, the towns, etc. At least for me because I’m always waiting to get to the action, dammit. There were scenes where the atmosphere was really suspenseful and creepy. The story has plenty of dark magic and fantastical creatures. It’s your typical well written fantasy novel. There’s not much of a romance in this one and I didn’t miss it. The author does a good job making you care about these characters so that when a few twists and turns of the plot come around you feel the impact. Also, Briggs can and does pull on the heart strings just a tiny bit.
Overall, Dragon Bones was a page-turner. Briggs is a very good storyteller. I’m reading the sequel now because I just don’t want to leave this world just yet. Pick this book up if you enjoy a well written novel full of twists and turns, action and suspense and political intrigue and magical creatures. Highly recommend this book to readers of fantasy.
[tags]Patricia Briggs, Fantasy[/tags]