The Lost Chronicles, Volume II
Great fantasy, great continuation after reading the first volume
Dragons of the Highlord Skies is a great fantasy novel; as my friend Jen commented on my review of the first volume of the Lost Chronicles, Dragons of the Dwarven Depths, it helps fill in a lot of background if you have read others in this long DragonLance series. In addition, unlike the first volume in the series, Dragons of the Highlord Skies includes an introduction which helps place in chronologically and plotwise with the other books.
The version reviewed here is an ARC received at BEA on June 1. The published version came out just a few days ago.
According to that Intro, Dragons of the Highlord Skies happens about the time of Dragons of the Winter Night, but focuses on Kitiara uth Matar, who has become the Dragon Highlord of the Blue Dragon Army (also know as the Blue Lady) and also on the adventures of the Solamnic knights (whose past and future relate to Sturm, one of the main companions). At the command of Emperor Ariakas, Kit tricks the knights (led pompusly by Sir Derek Crownguard) into going after a dragon orb. The knights are led to believe that the dragon orb will help them win the war, when in reality it will control the one who holds hit, helping Ariakas to drive a wedge in the knights and the alliance with the elves.
While setting this up, Kit hears that the Companions, including her beloved Tanis Half-Elven, were the ones who killed another Highlord (which happened right before Dragons of the Dwarven Depths, possibly in one of the other DragonLance books that I have not yet read). She begins an jealousy-drive quest to seek out Tanis and his supposed new lover, the elf Laurana. This puts her, the knights and the Companions on a course to meet in the city of Tarsis (isn’t this what Doctor Who travels in?), Kit to continue her search, the knights looking for the library for information about the dragon orb, and the Companions as part of another story line.
Part of the Companions join the Knights to go after the dragon orb; Kit, accused of treason by the emperor, decides to avoid execution by doing the dark Queen’s bidding and attempt to recruit the death knight Lord Soth. Thought built up according to the back cover notes and throughout the story, the encounter with Lord Soth could have been much longer (and, again this is the ARC so this may be changed) as she was supposed to spend a horrifying night at his castle.
Overall, I agree with Jen, background in the plot and characters is a must. This was quite an enjoyable read; except for the shortness of the encounter with Lord Soth at the end, I enjoyed it immensely and look forward to the next novel in the series (which, by the way, according to the Author’s Note at the end, is called Dragons of the Hourglass Mage and follows Raistlin from where he takes the black robes to the Dark Queen’s city of Neraka.