Dragon Rider by David Burrows

Rating 7.8/10
Dragon Rider moves the story to a very interesting knife's edge.

Vastra has dealt a cruel blow to the very men who befriended him, but even he cannot predict the outcome of his betrayal. Armies threaten Thrace and an alliance must be forged but Trosgarth has been busy, which nations can be trusted is in doubt. Friend is set against friend whilst the enemy, no one believes exists, quietly awaits the outcome. The prophecy predicts a king will save them, but for many years monarchs have been assassinated so few remain.

In a cold summer, after years of famine, war will finally be joined. But who will fight who? People will turn to the Prophecy for salvation. Demons will be summoned and fear will haunt Thrace; its people will be isolated and their morale shattered. Hope will come in the form of a dragon, but is it a fool's hope?

Dragon Rider is the second book in the trilogy entitled The Prophecy of the Kings. There is a definite darker mood as the land in which the story is set is portrayed as one that is withering and dying. Dragons and demons begin to take centre stage and there are intriguing chapters as we learn more about the Eldric and the Kolanth.

At the conclusion of Legacy of the Eldric, our heroes Kaplyn and Lars had been turned into stone. It is to the cave where this event occurred that a new and memorable character, Tumarl, comes into the story and witnesses the legacy of Vastra's betrayal.

“He touched the nearest shape, feeling a cold, hard surface. The figure was that of a large man whose bearded face was contorted in a look of abject horror. In one hand he grasped a double-edged axe while the other rested on the shoulder of his companion.”
Dragon Rider: Chapter 1 – Flight of Fear

Tumarl is an excellent addition to the already strong cast but the most outstanding moment of the book was the long and brutal battle of CarCamel. The author impressed here as he focused as much on the little man as the hero. The narrative cleverly switched between many characters as the battle waged on and we experience death and loss, bravery and cowardice through the eyes of many differing people.

Dragon Rider moves the story along well and brings the story to a very interesting knife's edge. This novel will whet the appetite nicely for the conclusion in Shadow of the Demon.

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