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Reviews of 'Brother of the Dragon'

Brother of the Dragon

by Tonya C. Cook & Paul B. Thompson
Barbarians, Volume 2

Reviews of 'Brother of the Dragon'

Here are the visitor reviews we have of Brother of the Dragon. For more information about this title, please visit the item detail page.

Reviewer: Cassandra Jacobs

Rating: Stars

What can I say? Like Children of the Plains, this book had an amazing storyline, great characters and action.

This book finds the village of the Plainsmen 12 years after the events in the first novel. The threat this time is a band of "priests" that serve the dragon, led by an overly ambitious young man, aiming to take over leadership of the village. I found myself hating this guy. Needless to say, I was quite happy to see him bite the big one.

I found this novel much like The Empire Strikes Back. The good guys are in a jam, and it's not changing. The novel actually ends with the village still under seige, with some small victories, but the outlook appears grim. Nianki is mustering her band to aid the village, but the question remains of will they be there in time? Also, the main force for the village, the dragon Duranix, has disappeared, hunting his green dragon adversary. While this also removes the green dragon from the raider's side, they still have the advantage of sheer numbers and fighting ability.

Ideally, if these books follow the standard trilogy concept, the third book will turn this battle around, with the villagers coming out triumphant. The question still remains though as to who will survive... and if the raider leader Zannian is the sibling's missing brother, how will this resolve?

Review made May 29th, 2002.

Reviewer: Matt Lynch

Rating: Stars

Brother of the Dragon is the second volume in Thompson & Carter's Barbarians Trilogy and if you remember back to close to this time one year ago, I said that Children of the Plains, the first book, was excellent. I also said I couldn't wait for the sequel. Well, if you want the short version of this review, lather, rinse, repeat. Brother of the Dragon was as good as its predecessor but, unlike Children of the Plains, has a cliffhanger ending that will have me absolutely salivating for Sister of the Sword, the final book in the trilogy.

If you expected this book to build off of Children of the Plains, you would be somewhat right and somewhat wrong. Brother of the Dragon opens 12 years after the conclusion of Children of the Plains. Yala-tene has grown much in that time, including an almost completed wall, and several families moving in full-time. Duranix the bronze dragon has a cult dedicated to him (the first signs of a human priesthood), headed by Tiphan, the son of Konza, who appeared in the final chapter of the last book. Despite figuring out how to MELT bronze at the end of Children of the Plains, Amero is still struggling with molding it for utilization by Yala-tene and its people. The book begins with his latest attempt leading to a small explosion that puts out the eye of one worker (Unar, brother of Lyopi, a minor character who is Amero's lover in the book) and leaves him dejected and upset. The event draw the attention of the Sensarku, the Servants of the Dragon, and their leader Tosen (First Servant) Tiphan, Amero's political rival. Tiphan reveals that Duranix told him not to expect any more snow and that he was going to have the farmers put their crops in early. Amero disagrees, saying Duranix couldn't know any more about the weather than they could, but the people of Yala-tene place more stock in the words of their Protector than the Arkuden and Tiphan is off. On the way back, he stops by a tent merchant and buys a book off him that is reputed to be Silvanesti works on the nature of their magic, including script by Vedvedsica himself on how to "control the sun," if I recall correctly. The book costs Tiphan his bronze scale robe (Duranix's castoffs), but the merchant, Bek, assures him they are well worth the trade.

The book than shifts to a destroyed nomad village, attacked by raiders. They hunt down the survivors and capture them, a list which includes young Beramun, a female nomad who catches the eye of raider chieftain Zannian. She is brought, eventually, along with the rest of the captured slaves, before Zannian's master, the evil Sthenn, or, as he prefers to be called by humans, Greengall. Beramun continues to entertain fantasies of escaping, despite Zannian's assurances it is impossible. Sthenn's minions ruthlessly patrol his forested home, wherein lies the holding of Almurk, where the raiders live and the slaves are brought to mine and perform other menial tasks. Sthenn intends to conquer the plains with his raiders and take Yala-tene. Zannian and his mother, Nacris (yes, the same, though with one less leg) prepare the raiders for the upcoming battle with endless drills and continuing raids of the outlying tribesmen. Nacris, in particular, has raised a group of orphaned plainschildren from very young ages to be ruthless killing machines called the Jade Men.

Eventually, the book begins to set events in motion. Tiphan decides to depart to investigate the ring of standing stones near the Silvanesti border (from the first book) after reading the elven scrolls. Beramun escapes Almurk, but is caught by Sthenn and branded with his mark and sent on her way to Yala-tene to bring tales of his raiders and the coming doom of the settlement. Amero continues to struggle with his role as town leader, especially when the cold comes back and crops fail. The arrival of Beramun in his midst after Tiphan's disappearance and the arrival of a tribe of centaurs bringing tidings of Silvanesti's army expanding their borders sends the town into a frenzy of activity leading up to the raiders arrival, Tiphan's miraculous return, and a great cliffhanger of an ending.

I'll mention naught else about the book, because I want everyone to read it if you're interested. However, I'll dip briefly into some character analyses, because, well, that's what I do!

Amero, 12 years later, is still the unsure leader he was at the end of Children of the Plains, but is learning to cope with his role. As headman of Yala-tene and the revered Arkuden, his job is still not easy, due to Tiphan's dogmatic ways and the growing popularity of the Sensarku and his continued failure at making bronze. Life doesn't get easier with the arrival of the much younger Beramun, who sends Amero's hormones into an uproar, to the chagrin of his lover and mate-in-all-but-name Lyopi. Diplomacy is not Amero's forte, either, as he is a bit of a hothead, esp. around Tiphan, which goes back to his being orphaned at 13 and raised by a dragon and thrust into a leadership role over an entire settlement at 19. At 31, life's still not going the easy way for Amero and Thompson and Carter do a great job with him, making him the underdog hero we all know and love to read about.

Beramun reminds me a lot of Nianki, which was, I believe, the point. While not as much of a spitfire warrior-woman as Nianki became, Beramun retains the survivalist attitude of a nomadic plainswoman and demonstrates a spirited side in spite of all the heartache she is forced to endure in such a short time. She is almost a kindred spirit to Amero, but her pain is newer and he has more adjusted to being settled than she. Unlike Amero, though, she knows the reason for her orphanage and hostile life and has dedicated herself to the destruction of Zannian and his master, if possible. Thompson and Carter do a great job with Beramun too, firmly demonstrating her naivete yet also showing the indomitable spirit of a headstrong young girl. While not a heroine beyond the basic level, she has potential and is well done.

Tiphan was the best character to read about, because Thompson and Carter did him to perfection. A zealot, Tiphan is grating on the nerves of the reader (and Amero) with his constant babble about the Protector and the importance of the Sensarku, but becomes even more creepy after his "religious experience" at the standing stones, from which he comes back even more dedicated, but less to the Protector and more towards unlocking the secrets of the elven priests' magic for the good of his people. A minor villain, his dangerous use of magical stones leads to trouble for the village down the road, but ultimately Tiphan manages to win a minor victory for Yala-tene, though the cost becomes more than he anticipated. I'd like to say I want to see him back in Sister of the Sword, but I know that they really can't do much more with him and if he does return, I imagine it will be a little more tempered and with a purpose for once in his life that's not based around him.

Sthenn, Nacris, and Zannian are the perfect triad of villains for the book to center around. Sadistic, evil, and vicious, Sthenn is one of the best written green dragons I've seen in DragonLance literature. He's no Cyan Bloodbane, but comes damn close at times with the level of his perverted schemes. Nacris is the emotionless, hardened driving force behind the raiders and Almurk, dedicated to the destruction of Karada, who was responsible for the death of the man she loved (in Children of the Plains). She also has a score to settle with Yala-tene and its headman, for obvious reasons. Zannian is the leader of the troops, evil and corrupted, yet at times showing a glimmer of actual morality and emotion. It's too early to say how their relationship will culminate (Nacris is revealed to be the adoptive mother of Zannian, though he doesn't remember it), but Nacris will likely get her showdown with Karada and Zann will likely come to the right decision, no matter the cost to him. His lust for Beramun is the most interesting thing about him, and may drive him to do something to win her love in Sister of the Sword. Sthenn's fate will probably be sealed before the end of Sister of the Sword in his final duel with Duranix (the connection between the two of them is explained in the book and is a great backstory).

Mara, Duranix, Lyopi, Konza, Jenla, Paharo, Hoten, Huru, and several other people made up the scores of supporting characters in the book, and I'm sure a couple will become extremely important in the third book. In particular, I'm leaning towards Hoten's role to become bigger as Zannian's choices become more and more questionable. With the hint of ogres coming, the return of Karada's band to Yala-tene heavy on the wind, and, of course, the forces of Silvanesti remaining a constant threat, Sister of the Sword has the potential to be one of the best conclusionary novels ever written. I can't wait.

A couple things I picked up on in this novel, btw, were the fact that the song Amero's mother made up for him was being sung by the raiders, suggesting a connection between the family of Oto and Kinar and the raiders that I never even thought of. All I can think of is Menni, Amero's young brother, lost to him at the claws of the yevi (or so we were made to infer and so he believes) and all those adopted children of Nacris...

The other thing was Bek, a man who wasn't quite a man, but a shapeshifter of a sort, resembling a panther in places. The seller of the information to Tiphan, Bek's very nature seems to suggest he'll play a much bigger role than he has. Why mention such a bizarre thing if it's not important to the story. I'm almost willing to put money on it being a divine power looking to win worshippers among the humans. Good, bad, or indifferent, however, is the question that begs be asked... and answered.

So, to wrap things up, if you haven't read Children of the Plains, get it and read it. Once you've done that or, if you have already, get your hands on Brother of the Dragon. The Barbarians series is looking to be one of the best historical novel series DL has ever put out, on par with the Elven and Dwarven Nations books, as well as with some of the Lost Histories and the Kaz story arc.

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