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The Dragon Hunters

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The Dragon Hunters
Some men are made in battle. Grelic of Thrae is one. A seasoned veteran of numerous campaigns and raids, Grelic is a warrior without a war. He languishes under mugs of ale and poor choices that eventually find him locked in the dungeons of King Rentor. His only chance at redemption is an offer tantamount to suicide: travel north with a misfit band of adventurers and learn the truth of what happened in the village of Gend. Grelic, suddenly tired of his life, reluctantly agrees and meets the only survivor of the horrible massacre: Fitch Iane. Broken, mentally and physically, Fitch babbles about demons stalking through the mists and a terrible monster prowling the skies, breathing fire and death. What begins as a simple reconnaissance mission quickly turns into a quest to stop Sidian, the Silver Mage from accomplishing his goals in the Deadlands. Grelic and his team are sorely outnumbered and ill prepared to deal with the combined threats of a dark mage and one of the great dragons from the west.
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Fitch looked up just then and noticed the entire eastern sky seemed as if it was on fire. He smelled ash and burnt meat. He wanted to believe it was just an illusion played by the setting sun. The first flicker of flames shooting up over the treetops changed his mind.  He looked around. Everywhere he looked trees were blackened and dead. Fresh snow was dusty, charcoal splashed. What nightmare could have done such a thing? A tiny whisper in the back of his mind warned that the answers were much closer than he wished.

Then it hit him. A horrible, sickening thought all but crippling him. Fire. Smoke. Distance. Gend! His village was burning. Fitch dropped his sack and started running. The need to get home, to find Shar, overpowered all other thoughts and emotions. A nightmarish roar frightened the world. Fitch covered his ears and ran. Blood began to trickle from his nose.

When he got closer he could hear new sounds, sickening sounds of steel ripping human flesh. Women screaming. Children crying. Fitch suddenly grew very afraid. His body became lethargic. He found it difficult just to move. Shar. Thinking of her kept him going, but he was so afraid. A warm feeling ran down his leg. Sweat turned cold. His body shivered and trembled. He was no great hero, but neither was he a coward. What manner of demon can make me so? Fitch Iane gave in to his fears and collapsed. He used what strength remained to crawl under the boughs of a snow-laden fir and cried.

The screaming quickly drowned out his sorrow. Fitch tried covering his ears. Tears streaked his frozen cheeks. Strength abandoned him. Fear dug deeper, gaining strength and crushing him. Jagged pieces of ice fell from the pine needles and cut his face. He didn’t care. His only concern was staying alive. Just to stay alive!

What must have been hundreds of booted feet crunching through the ice-covered snow inspired new terror. Fitch reluctantly opened his eyes and had to cover his mouth to keep the gasp from escaping. He barely made out the huge, barrel-bodied figures marching by. Watching the shadows move so stealthily through the forest reminded him of the ghost and ghoul stories his mother used to tell him and his three brothers when they were growing up. These apparitions were much more real.

 

Endorsements
Even though this is a second book in the “A History of Malweir Series”, it reads more like a stand-alone. The first book ended with a few cliffhangers that were not addressed in this book. Maybe the third book will reveal the answers. Most of the characters introduced are new. The kingdom in peril is different.

I did enjoy this story. The way everything came together is very different from other books. Can’t elaborate without hinting at spoilers. Needless to say, the way everything came to a close was great!

The dialogue tended to be difficult to follow, as is written. Entire paragraphs of quotes annotating different speakers, but not much to indicate who is saying what.

Throughout the book, I came across missing and/or unsatisfactory transitions from one paragraph to the next. The author writes what the character is waiting for at the end of one paragraph and then the next paragraph jumps right into the next scene. It’s as if the author is thinking about the transition, assumes the reader does, as well, and then begins writing in the middle of the next scene. This problem led to much confusion. Many times, I had to reread the page to figure out I was now in a different setting.

This review is to be based solely on the story and not typos or misplaced spaces. This book became difficult to read because of these issues and those mentioned above.
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