Praised by Joe Abercrombie and Brent Weeks alike - the dragon fantasy that heralded the arrival of an exciting new talent on the fantasy scene
The Adamantine Palace lies at the centre of an empire that grew out of ashes. Once dragons ruled the world and man was little more than prey. Then a way of subduing the dragons through alchemy was discovered and now the dragons are bred to be mere mounts for knights and highly valued tokens in the diplomatic power-players that underpin the rule of the competing aristocratic houses. The Empire has grown fat.
And now one man wants it for himself. A man prepared to poison the king just as he has poisoned his own father. A man prepared to murder his own lover and then bed her daughter. A man fit to be king?
But unknown to him there are flames on the way. A single dragon has gone missing. And even one dragon on the loose, unsubdued and returned to its full intelligence, its full fury, could spell disaster for the Empire.
But because of the actions of one unscrupulous mercenary the rivals for the throne could soon be facing hundreds of dragons ...
Stephen Deas has written a fast moving and action-fuelled fantasy laced with irony, a razor sharp way with characters, dialogue to die for and dragons to die by.
Deas's dragon-riding fantasy debut lumbers along as sinister Prince Jehal, called the Viper, connives, seduces, poisons, and murders his way to the throne of the Kingdom of the Endless Sea. The story only leaves well-trodden fictional ground when unique white dragon Snow begins to communicate telepathically with her handler, Kailin. Neither cuddly or companionable, dragons in this world are violent fire-breathers who have been tranquilized by alchemists and forced to serve aristocrats for war and hunting. Snow's dreams of freedom ignite her urge to incinerate humans and all their works, and she brings other dragons into her quest to destroy the alchemists forever. Played off against villainous Jehal and repetitive palace intrigues, Deas's dragons provide fitful shuddery glimpses into alien minds, a few brief fireworks in an otherwise commonplace performance.