The Dragon King

R. A. Salvatore

Warner Aspect. $19.95
(paper $5.99)

The land of Eriador has won its freedom from Avon, but Greensparrow of Avon will not honor the treaty. So King Brind'Amour and Luthien Bedwyr decide to take the war all the way to Avon's capital. With the dwarven kingdom and Huegoth raiders for allies, things look promising for Luthien and his friends. Evil King Greensparrow, however, has a few surprises of his own.

The Dragon King concludes R.A. Salvatore's "Crimson Shadow" trilogy, which began with The Sword of Bedwyr and Luthien's Gamble. The Dragon King is the best of the three, which does not say much for this mediocre series.

The book suffers from Salvatore's typically poor writing, especially where character description is involved: "His eyes, striking cinnamon-colored orbs...showed that change as well. They still held their youthful luster, but now that gleam was tempered by the intensity of wisdom." Salvatore does show small improvement over the earlier books. He develops his plot more fully here, and his tone is more certain; he puts less emphasis on the sword fights, allowing for greater development of other interesting action. This improvement is relative, however, and Salvatore's potential seems small. "The Crimson Shadow" trilogy, The Dragon King included, is still the kind of "bestselling" hackwork that gives fantasy a bad name.

One curious observation: the series is named for Luthien's alter ego, the Crimson Shadow, supposedly crucial in the rebellion against Greensparrow. In reality, the Crimson Shadow plays hardly any role in The Dragon King and only the smallest part in the first two books.


The Crimson Shadow:

The Sword of Bedwyr. Warner, 1995
Luthien's Gamble. Warner, 1996
The Dragon King. Warner, 1996


This review copyright 1997 by Wendy Morris
Information last updated March 22, 1998

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