read_warbler (read_warbler) wrote,

Dragons of Autumn Twilight

Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman is the very first instalment of the huge 'Dragonlance' series of books. It's one of those series that I knew about but had never read. Then I happened to spot this first book in the excellent Oxfam shop in Honiton and nabbed it.

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 the town of Solace. There's trouble afoot - The Queen of Darkness threatens the land of Krynn and The Companions have spent the last five years separately 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. There are traitors and secrets and 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 to him 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 quite liked this first Dragonlance book. It is 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 belong to a group as a matter of fact, the only girl with a load of sci-fi geeks. (Yes, my two daughters had that kind of upbringing. *g*) Anyway, I loved the camaraderie, the humour and the sheer imagination that went into this book. It doesn't take itself too seriously and I like that. I'll probably be searching out more in the series, but from the library as there are over 70 of them. Although, I have it on good authority that the first six are the ones to read, after that I assume they're not so great.
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