I must be reading some older books these days because several of the cover pics I've had to use recently have been blurred and out of focus. I usually grab them from Amazon or Fantastic Fiction and I assume they're scans people have uploaded. Whatever, here's another one I'm afraid. Perhaps it would be better if I took an actual photo...
And then I discover that I actually *have* one. LOL.
That's a bit better. I think...
Enough faffing about.
Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman (a chap, not lady) is the very first instalment of the huge 'Dragonlance' series of books. I first read about them on Deslily's blog; though I did know about them before this, I was just not aware that I might want to read them. Her reviews made me decide to read the first one (picked up in a charity shop) for Carl's Once Upon a Time II challenge and for the Here Be Dragons challenge as well. So I did.
The story concerns quite a large group of characters known collectively as The Companions. Their leader is Tanis, a half-elf who has been banished from the Elvish kingdom for reasons which become clear eventually. With him are Tasselhoff, the kender, twins Caramon and Raistlin, a warrior and mage respectively, Sturm, a warrior and knight, and Flint, the dwarf. They're meeting up, after five years apart, at the The Inn of the Last Home in Solace. There's trouble afoot - The Queen of Darkness threatens the land of Krynn and they've spent the last five years trying to find out what's going on. They're soon joined by two barbarians, Goldmoon and Riverwind, as they flee the town with the reptillian Draconian army in hot pursuit. The female, Goldmoon, has a strange and magical staff which heals and it soon becomes apparent that this is what their pursuers are after. Why? Their quest to find the answer to this riddle leads them to many places, strange mountains, enchanted forests, the ruined underground city of Xak Tsaroth and, ultimately, to the stronghold one of Queen's chiefs, Verminaard, and his rather vicious dragons who have captured large portions of the population to use as slaves. The Companions final task of the book is to free them.
The charm of this book, imo, is the characters and their relationships with each other. There is much humour and banter which translates as deep friendship and support no matter what the odds. But it's not all beer and skittles. The mage, Raistlin, is an ambivilent character if ever there was one. Is he good or bad? It's very hard to tell and it may be, in the end, that he's just out for himself. His brother, Caramon, is loyal no matter what though and a strong band of loyalty runs right through this book - you support your friends whatever the consequences. Not a bad message really.
I liked this first Dragonlance book a lot. It is quite clear that its origins were in the RP game of Dungeons and Dragons but that's not a drawback as far as I can see - my youngest daughter used to play, in fact. I loved the camaraderie, the humour and the sheer imagination that went into writing it. I'll definitely be searching out the next few books, but from the library as there are over 70 of them I believe and I can't possibly buy them all!