Reviews of 'Rebels and Tyrants'
Reviews of 'Rebels and Tyrants'
Here are the visitor reviews we have of Rebels and Tyrants. For more information about this title, please visit the item detail page.
Est Sularas Oth Mithas by Scott Burczewski is a very short and moving tale about a knight searching out the dragon that killed his love. Interesting in the fact that the knight pretty much throws himself at the dragon and dies. Very moving though.
In Freedom's Pride by Paul B Thompson a band of knights of takhisis are searching for a group of elves that managed to escape Qualinesti. They wind up catching up to them in a ship where the elves have been betrayed by the ones that smuggled them out of their homeland. But the knights find themselves attacked by another band of elves, who have come to free the trapped qualinesti. This new band of elves is led by the "Lioness", whose identity is a secret. They free the elves and leave the knights to flounder in a ship they have no idea how to man. A good and interesting story. I liked it, especially since i know the identity of the Lioness (revealed in Dragons of a Fallen Sun).
Sargas's Night of Revenge by Don Perrin is an amazing story about a family of minotaurs who are doomed to repeat the traitorous actions that destroyed their family. Every year, on the anniversary of the fated night, they rise from the grave and even though they know their actions, are pretty much powerless to stop them. Except one year, Sargas doesn't show up. But the minotaurs still go through the same actions, almost out of habit. The next year, Sargas doesn't show up again, and this time, the minotaurs wind up discussing the actions of the year past. While they wound up slaughtering each other, it was far different from the original time. They make decisions to not follow in the previous footsteps. They instead enjoy the feast and the company. An interesting twist is they continue to come back yearly, only now to feast! Usually once a curse is broken, spirits are laid to rest but these spirits continue to haunt the halls although in revelry instead of hate. Very captivating. I liked it.
In Sharing the Luck by Linda P Baker two thieves steal a cheap looking bracelet and the one who wears it becomes the virtual opposite of what he once was. He becomes helpful, caring and considerate. His partner believes him to be plotting his death in the back of his mind. Eventually, the paranoid partner kills his friend and putting on the bracelet, succumbs to the same personality altering magic. An interesting story and well told.
The War Chest by Kevin T Stein. I can't say much about this story, because it confused the hell out of me. It wasn't the story itself, but the writing. Very poorly written if you ask me. A knight is given an offer of eternal life in the one battle moment of his choice, as it is occurring. He keeps putting off the choice believing the next battle will be bigger and better than the previous one. A good concept, but a pity it was lost in the convoluted writing. I definately did not enjoy reading this, because I'd lose the story part way through a paragraph, wondering, "who said what where and about who?"
A Flight of Fancy by Jeff Crook is a cute gnome story. A human who found a crashed gnome invention makes a few fixes and invents a flying machine. He winds up crashing into Mt Nevermind where the gnomes believe he's the gnome who flew the ship away in the first place. They eventually realize their mistake and explain the flying machine is actually a device to collect honey from bees. They send the human out in a new model of it in order to save him from the the red dragon pryothraxus. The human takes the fiancé of the gnome who created the honey machine but they're pursued by the red dragon. Just before the red dragon attacks them, they release the honey that's collected and literally blew the dragon away. I think that's a very funny idea. A very humorous and neat story (I always did like gnomes).
The Deep, Deep, Dark, Dark Plac by Kevin James Kage is a gully dwarf story, where two gully dwarves lead a group of mountain dwarves to "treasure". Very well written... I had no idea that each group of dwarves had a different meaning of "treasure". The mountain dwarves were searching for gold, gems and other rich stuff and the gully dwarves were using gems to lead them deeper into the caves, knowing the dwarves were looking for "treasure". In their innocence, the gully dwarves didn't realize what the mountain dwarves sought out and led them to what they call "treasure"... a huge dragon-like creature that was shiny and metallic looking, which proceeded to eat the mountain dwarves. The gully dwarves referred to treasure as their "pet". Needless to say, my jaw literally dropped when i read through the mountain dwarf eating scene. Very shocking and caught me completely by surprise. Very well done.
Catch of the Day by Jean Rabe. This story starts with kobolds who have just killed gully dwarves for a "magical" fishing lure. The kobolds are found by a group of bugbears who drive off the dogs (and eat one) for the magical lure and attempt to fish with it. Eventually, the bugbears are killed by an ettin who wants the magical lure himself. The ettin proceeds to try to fish with the lure, but is bitten by a spider. It dies and drops the pole into the river, and the lure disappears downstream. I have this niggling feeling that there's something more to this story, but I'm not sure what. It was cute and different and I enjoyed it.
In Lost Causes by Nancy Varian Berberick a mage is hired to transport a very homely looking girl to be wed to an old merchant to seal a pact and provide cash flow for the refugees produced by the dragon overlords. The elves guarding her are killed by bandits and the mage and girl escape. The mage isn't what one would call a very considerate individual and does make a few comments here and there... He believes he's helping transport a magical charm to entice the merchant to this pretty ugly girl. He discovers his mistake when he opens the magical locket and finds a portrait of the girl inside. The magical picture shows her beauty on the inside... It shows her as a caring and wonderful person, even though she is not attractive on the outside. The mage falls hopelessly in love with her, but she turns away from him, knowing she has to continue her quest to help the refugees and downtrodden. A beautiful and wonderfully expressed message in this story. Nancy never does fail to amaze me.
In Blood Ties by John Grubber two teenage boys follow a slave caravan with their parents and sisters and other townsfolk inside. The wagon is driven by a spawn and pulled by a tylor, something akin to a dragon, but far stupider. The one brother tends to be more brave, whereas the other is a little more of a coward. They manage to escape with the wagon but the older brother is attacked and knocked off the wagon by the spawn. The younger brother has to rely on his resources only to defeat the spawn and save the people in the wagon. A very surprising ending when it's found the older brother died as a result of the battle with the spawn. I knew he had been knocked off the wagon, but figured he was still alive. Very touching and enjoyable.
Chris Pierson never fails to amaze me. In Shard's Memory a female mountain dwarf who lost her memory due to battles against the shadow wights, she's searching out a wight in order for her to regain her memory. This has been her driving goal for the past five years, almost to the point of driving off the one dwarf who loves her. In the final battle against the wight, in an attempt to gain back her memory, Shard (the female dwarf) has to make a decision... learn what she's lost and lose her lover, or remain unknowing to save his life. I was almost expecting her to choose her memories, due to her attempts at justifying the death of her lover by the fact that no one would remember him anyways if he died (due to the wight powers). But she believed she would lose her soul if she did allow him to die and she kills the wight, saving her lover and losing any chance at regaining her memories. Very moving and inspiring. As i said, a bit of an unexpected ending, although some might have seen it coming.
Tactics by Richard A Knaak. Ok, question on this... Since when are there ogre/elf crossbreeds? That definately doesn't make sense to me. I think I remember reading once that because elves and ogres were such opposite ends of the scale, they couldn't crossbreed. Anyways, the ogre leader was interesting regardless of his heritage. His twisted plan to destroy the Knights of Takhisis using the Solamnics as "bait" was amazingly well thought out and very very interesting. I was very pleased with this story. I had expected the ogres to turn on the knights in the end.
The Raid On the Academy of Sorcery by Margret Weis was a really good story and filled in some of those gaps about what happened to the academy. I have a feeling Ulin has a bit of gnomish blood in him, due to his creation of "gun powder". But the blowing up of the academy in front of Palin's eyes gives one a bit of an idea of how he became the way he did. Also the reader gains some insight into Ulin's later personality, due to seeing his father captured because of his actions. I think I would have preferred to see Ulin a little less of the anti-social bitter person though. A good story though and definitely worthwhile to read.
Review made November 6th, 2000
"Est Sularus Oth Mithas" by Scott Buraczewski.
A new-comer on the scene, this is THE shortest story at 5 pages
long... in fact, if it were any shorter, I don't think it could be
called a story at all.
Well, what can I say? It's short.
What else can I say? Well, the guy flashes between the present and
the past, and although he constantly tells himself the well-known phrase, he is completely driven by revenge. Apparently, self-sacrificing yourself to any cause is still an unwritten motto of the Knights of Solamnia.
"Freedom's Pride" by Paul B. Thompson.
A Knight of Takhisis is sent to track down a group of Qualinesti nobles that are trying to flee the forest. In the process, he runs into the apparently new Qualinesti rebel leader, the Lioness.
Good story showing the influence the Knights of Takhisis have in
Qualinesti. This Lioness makes me wonder if only elven women can strive to lead the Qualinesti out of oppression, though. All in all, it gives insight into this part of Ansalon which we know little-about in terms of novels post-Chaos War.
The story also presents another possible dangerous Knights of Takhisis leader. Yet, it also presents, as I stated, another female Qualinesti leader. If anything, I hope we see Lauarana doing something eventually, seeing as she was a previous leader.
"Sargas's Night of Revenge" by Don Perrin.
A clan of minotaurs dead nearly a millennium are brought to life annually on the night of their demise to relive their fate by the will of Sargonnas.
Once again, Perrin gives us an excellent story, and it is the first of the anthology to place a time period to the story (this one being during the Chaos War).
I like the fact the notion of the curse behind this story, much like how Lord Soth is cursed to remain a death knight because of his failing to prevent the Cataclysm. Also, the fact that the minotaurs were able to break the curse upon the disappearance of Sargonnas is interesting to see as well.
"Sharing the Luck" by Linda P. Baker.
A more traditional story, in my opinion, featuring a pair of thieves that work together in trying to make a living for themselves in eastern Ansalon.
This story left me wondering a bit more as to the nature of one of the characters in the story. Good, though.
My wonderings of that character? Well, is he a sorcerer then? I assume his bracelet is something of good, that it could easily turn a thief from a rogue to a sort of humanitarian.
"The War Chest" by Kevin Stein.
A Solamnic Knight leaves behind the duty as a teacher to take his
place on the battlefield against the Knights of Takhisis in a search for
the honor and the greatest glory.
This story is a bit different than most before it. For one, it
presents a Knights of Solamnia in the true role of an instructor in a classroom setting,
instead of a battlefield, and it presents the oddest Chaos creature to
date. Another great story.
A stick figure!? What kind of Chaos creature is that!? Definitely different, for one. The idea of the hourglass to live the greatest moment is a great one. I hope that since we're presented with such powerful Knights of Takhisis such as the Warrior of Jet, that we see them again in some form later on. Considering the creature says the Knights of Takhisis cannot be defeated, it stands to reason that he won't disappear into obscurity as "just another character".
"Flight of Fancy" by Jeff Crook.
Brace yourselvess: a gnome story. A Solamnic inventor takes a flying
machine to Mt. Nevermind to discuss inventions with the gnomes.
As I said, it's a gnome story, and an excellent one at that. The names of the gnomes are definitely interested, as is a little reference to an old poem.
Only story to feature anything resembling a Dragon Overlord in
Pyrothraxus and Mt. Nevermind. The inclusion of the old gnome-flingers from Chronicles I loved as well. The ending was a bit confusing, however.
"The Deep, Deep, Dark, Dark Place" by Kevin James Kage.
Figures to see a gnome story followed up with a gully dwarf tale. In
this story, a pair of gully dwarves lead some dwarven miners on a chase
to find a pile of treasure.
Good tale showing us gully dwarves once again in all their glory.
I thought it interesting that the gully dwarves were portrayed in
such a manner, that they would seemingly lead the dwarves to their
deaths knowingly. Also, what in the world was that creature at the end?
"Catch of the Day" by Jean Rabe.
A sort of "food chain" story that shows even the strongest are still
Not a bad tale overall, but I wonder about some of the creatures
involved. Need to take a look through The Bestiary to see what is listed
there from this story.
Now... once again, we have kobolds... then we see bugbears? And then
an ettin!? Well, like I said, I wanna see The Bestiary for this stuff, I
guess. Makes me want to go back and reread The Silver Stair a bit now as
well to see what color that kobold was in there, since the ones in this
story were yellowish.
"Lost Causes" by Nancy Varian Berberick.
A sorcerer is asked by Usha Majere to escort a young woman from
Solace to Haven where she will be married. Well now, Nancy's getting a bit predictable as a romance writer. Good story using some areas of Ansalon that don't get much attention, even if it's only in mentioning only.
Edge of Darken Wood & Qualinesti borders, well, I guess that can
qualify as 'areas that don't get much attention'. Like some of the other
stories, it beings in Solace with Usha and all, so the focus on the
whole Abanasinian area might irk some people still after awhile.
"Blood Ties" by John Grubber.
In this story, a pair of brothers return home to find their farm
destroyed and attempt to find their kidnapped family.
Well, this story seems rather reminiscent of one I wrote (about the
2nd Gen. Majere bros) to the point that is shares similar themes &
ideas, even a bit of the title. I liked this story in that it portrays
the 'common folk' as being capable of something more than what is
expected of knights and warriors.
This story had a tylor. Dunno if I recall reading about this
creature before either in Dragonlance. It's still a good story, and I love the
use of the spawn creature in there as well since I'm not sure how much
of their use we're going to see in the 5th Age now that we have Titans
as well to deal with (waiting on novel material for them).
"Shard's Memory" by Chris Pierson.
A Thorbardin dwarf woman tries to regain her memory that was lost 5
years earlier in the Chaos War.
Another fine story, and thankfully, another showing a bit of the
results of the Chaos War, this one after the novel The Last Thane (since
the Bridges of Time series was lacking severely).
Much like the story set in Qualinesti, I'm very happy that SOMEBODY
is willing to cover this story where something akin to Bridges of Time
should have (I still want to see the series continue, there's 20 years
left to flesh out). Yet another dwarven group arises in this story, and
I'm not sure if that was of Pierson's volition or something from the
game material, as well as a dwarven city in Thorbardin to match. The
mentioning of Severus Stonehand was a nice touch.
"Tactics" by Richard Knaak.
A small group of Knights of Solamnia are sent to try and train ogre
villages in battle tactics against the Knights of Takhisis.
Yet another interesting story, this one continuing Pierson's
excellent portrayal of ogres as something other than dumb brutes. In my opinion, it also presents some interesting thoughts with regards to Rise of the Titans.
Back to the Rise of the Titans thought... VERY nice, in my opinion. The whole idea that the ogres are just sitting back and waiting, that with such tactics they can use effectively against both the Knights of Solamnia and Knights of Takhisis is very
cool, and it really makes me want to see stories come out of Rise of the Titans.
"The Raid on the Academy of Sorcery" by Margaret Weis
Ulin is left to defend the Academy against a draconian raid.
This story, I feel, portrays Ulin in a much different light than in
Rabe's trilogy, much how I feel Rabe presented Palin better than Weis and Hickman in
the trilogy as well. Overall, from what I know of Dragons of a Fallen Sun, this story best presents some information on up-coming events, as I assume it takes
place after Rabe's 5th Age trilogy.
This story left me hanging a bit, personally. Again, the personality
just didn't seem right for Ulin. I thought his whole dedication was to
magic? that he could lose his family over it? And in this story, his
wife died of disease, no mention of his children, and he's into alchemy.
As well, what is with the sudden loss of the powers of the sorcerers?
Didn't seem to be a problem during the 5th Age trilogy (obviously) and
this story appears to take place just prior to Dragons of a Fallen Sun. As well, the
Academy of Sorcery is destroyed, with mentioning how Beryl won't break
her pact, but raids are fine by Malys, etc.
I suppose I'll have to read Dragons of a Fallen Sun to find out what happens to Palin as well, since he is captured at the end of the story.
Once again, I say too much change, some things just need to stay the same. High Sorcery was gone, and after 20-25 years, the Academy of Sorcery is gone.
Alright, again we have the story-by-story sequence of reviewing. Before
I get into that, let me just say this was a pretty good anthology, with a
good mix of stories. None were so terrible as to be compared with some
past fare, yet there were very few that were STUNNING, which is
unfortunate. After reading this one, I have to say that, given the
entire Tales of the 5th Age trilogy, I maintain that Heroes and Fools was
the best. Away we go!
"Est Sularus Oth Mithas" by Scott Buraczewski:
How can you go wrong in 5 pages? Well, you can by not having a story, but
this tale does not perpetrate that crime. The first semi-short short
story I've ever seen in DRAGONLANCE, it is also very good for its genre. Told
through flashbacks, it tells the story of a Knight's vengeance against
the green dragon that killed his love. Very touching, very DRAGONLANCE. Very
"Freedom's Pride" by Paul B. Thompson:
Well, it wasn't a sequel to "The Summoners," but it wasn't a sequel to
"Noblesse Oblige" either. Actually, it was very cool, and did a great
job of introducing the Lioness (though she had a bit part) and a potential
hazard of the elven flight (the second one in less than 100 years!) that
many of us probably never thought of: false promises. The basic story
goes that a Knight of Takhisis (pre-Knight of Neraka times obviously) is assigned to
track a party of fleeing elves to the source of their flight, then stop
it at all costs. Of course, when dealing with elves, it's never that
simple, as he finds out through ambushes before we join in. He tracks
the elves to a group of river bandits who were going to murder the elves
and take the money and run. The Knights of Takhisis stop them, but are then ambushed by the Lioness (rebel leader), who demands that the Knights of Takhisis hand over the
prisoners or die. ReDragonlanceance (the main character) gives them up, but only
so that he can report his findings to Liveskill (his commanding officer). The main
character is very cool and I'd like to see more done with him, as well as
his senior, who sounds like he could be a possible foil to Medan in War of Souls,
should that route be taken. Overall, I was very pleased with the story,
though I got confused in a couple spots with all the charater names being
thrown around. Also...Liveskill? What an awful name. (No offense.)
"Sargas's Night of Revenge" by Don Perrin:
This is a decent enough story, and one that has its moments. Perrin has
previously proved capable of doing minotaurs in Theros Ironfeld, which is
why I was surprised that the minotaurs in this story seemed... tame...
compared to his last bunch. I won't summarize, though I will say that this could lead to an interesting campaign for a group of heroes, should they want to get involved in minotaur affairs: is it possible to free them now that the gods are gone?
"Sharing the Luck" by Linda P. Baker:
Once again, Linda delivers with this story of a falling out between thieves seemingly caused by a plundered bracelet. That's basically all you need to know about the plot, but the story is so much cooler than that one line does justice. I was very pleased with this story and liked it a lot. It ranks up there among the best of this book, in my opinion, along with a couple others I'll mention later on. Kraco and the old man (whose name
escapes me) could definitely have their own story to tell. You have to wonder at the "alignment" of the Academy mage (the old man) since he once wore the bracelet. Overall, it was very cool.
"The War Chest" by Kevin T. Stein:
Stories by Kevin are few and far in between, but this one seems to lack
the fire they usually have. The story revolves around an elder Knight
and his teaching potential Knights on battle procedure while, at the same
time, wishing he gets one last crack at going out with glory and honor.
A Chaos beastie (daemon warrior?) gives him the opportunity to do so w/ a
magical artifact that will allow him to live forever in that one moment.
Unfortunately, the Knight never takes the opportunity and dies before
using it, becoming the Chaos creature's thrall for the rest of eternity.
The story is a cool concept, but has some conflicting points that made it
tough to swallow at times. The first is the young Master Raye, whose
continual rudeness and viciousness towards his elder Knights (Rose
Knights at that) would not be tolerated EVER and would be grounds for
immediate punishment, perhaps even being denied a place in the
Knighthood. Another is the Tammarman (the main character) and how he
encounters the stickman (Chaos beastie). It just suddenly shows up, in a
way that he alone can see, which makes it seem like Kevin didn't know how
to insert the villain, so he just threw him in at first chance. The next
big sticking point was the Warrior in Jet -- if he's so damn powerful and
indefatigable, why is this the first time we've heard tell of him? Decent
story, but flawed.
"Flight of Fancy" by Jeff Crook:
This was a cool gnome story, one worthy of Jeff Grubb or Roger E. Moore
at times. It tells the story of a Solamnic inventor's journey to Mt.
Nevermind in a gnome's invention and his subsequent escape from Pyro's
clutches with said gnome's betrothed. Very cool. Also, it introduced. a
non-Knightly Solamnic! A very cool concept that is never looked at in DRAGONLANCE. Pyro, everyone's favorite psycho dragon, has cameos too. The ending is a little non-sensical, as it makes it sound like the explosion blew them
several HUNDRED miles at least, which is a little hard to swallow. It's
better than "The Restoration" and probably as good as TRatS as far as
Crook's work goes. Not bad!
"The Deep, Deep, Dark, Dark Place" by Kevin James Kage:
Why don't people like this story? I thought it was great, better than
"Much Ado About Magic" in Heroes and Fools. It actually had some feasibility to it (no offense Kev, but the one in Heroes and Fools made NO sense to me) and had an entertaining pair of gully dwarves. The dwarven (?) miners and their
talk of unionization was funny too. Essentially, the story is about a
pair of gully dwarves who try to help a group of miners find "Treasure,"
even though the miners came to mine. However, the gems the Aghar use are
more than enough to convince them to go look. Imagine their surprise
when "Treasure" turns out to be some sort freakish monster (what the hell
was that thing anway? It reminded me of The Black Beast of... Aaaaaaah!
from Monty Python and the Holy Grail) that kills them all. I enjoyed
this tale a lot. Keep up the good work, Kevin!
"Catch of the Day" by Jean Rabe:
I liked this story too, partially because it used three highly-underused
races in DRAGONLANCE as the main characters. Plus, it was a cool metaphor for the
famous little fish, medium fish, big fish concept we all know. The
insert of a fourth element, one smaller, yet mightier than the biggest
"fish" was cool as well. I would like to know more about the "magic"
fishing lure (what did that writing say anyway?) and wouldn't mind seeing
Redge again (I love kobolds!). Cool tale.
"Lost Causes" by Nancy Varian Berberick:
Without a doubt, this was the show-stealer and my favorite story in the
entire collection. Here we have a story of love in its purest form, that
of one unknown and, in the end, unrequited. The story revolves around a
mage named Madoc who is conscripted by Lady Usha Majere to safeguard a
bride and a "magical" amulet as she travels to Haven to wed her husband.
A bunch of Qualinesti rebels go with them, but disaster strikes and they
are obliterated by bandits. Madoc and Aline Caroel (the bride) have to
lump it in the woods. The problems Madoc is that he doesn't believe in
the rebellion against Beryl or any other "lost cause," due to what he
views is the futility of it all. Aline is not an attractive woman, and
protecting her is a thorn in his side, as he is used to beautiful women,
wine, and song (not necessarily in that order). However, one look into
the amulet and he realizes the truth of the phrase "beauty is only skin
deep," as he sees that her dedication to such lost causes is driving her
to give up all freedom and marry a man she does not love. This factor
(and her eyes) enthrall him of her, but in the end, she marries off
anyway, as she is indeed dedicated to her cause. Of course my summary
does not do it justice, but suffice it to say that the story is brilliant
and beautifully poignant. A great follow-up to two stellar previous
stories in this trilogy!
"Blood Ties" by John Grubber:
First off, let me congratulate John on achieving this honor. It is
always nice to see a fan become a part of the world they love so much.
Now, that being said, don't screw it up! Never fear, you don't come anywhere near to doing so with this story, a cool tale of two brothers lost in a marsh being chased by a tylor. When the beast leaves, they go
home, only to find it has been ransacked and destroyed, their family
missing. They learn from a corrupt merchant/thief what happened and give
chase, only to discover the slavers are using the same tylor to pull
their cart. Playing their cards right, they manage to ambush the slaver
(a black spawn) and free their family, although the slaver later comes
back and exacts revenge, slaying one brother. The younger brother saves
the day, though, and they all lived happily ever. This is a cool story, but one that has a couple sticking points: one human male, likely in his late teens, is able to
hold down a black spawn? Somehow I doubt it. And why didn't the tylor
attack? Its master was being beaten and it was hungry. Beyond that,
though, the story was excellent, with a semi-surprise ending and a sad
twist of fate for the family once more. Good job, John!
"Tactics" by Richard A. Knaak:
No one does Knights like Knaak! And he does them pretty damn good in this
story. I don't know what it is about Knaak, but he's always able to make
even the most banal beastie seem like a tangible threat. He's done it
with ogres, minotaurs (before The Legend of Huma and Kaz the Minotaur, minotaurs were given little airtime and little respectability). The story
is about a small contingent of Knights of Solamnia who have traveled to one of the two
ogre empires currently being invaded by the Knights of Takhisis (at last, some connection
to The Eve of the Maelstrom!) to teach them Knightly tactics to keep the Knights of Takhisis from becoming a large threat again. The ogre population has dwindled slightly, so the Knights of Solamnia know it is only a matter of time before they are wiped out completely. They just want to be strong enough to face the Knights of Takhisis when that does happen. Unfortunately, the ogres seem to be slow learners. Anyway, the chieftain, a half-ogre (very cool, I might add) is very friendly with the Knights, but is fairly bloodthirsty representative of his people. He orchestrates a reconnaissance on a Dark Knight scouting party, but it turns into an attack when some of his ogres become too angry to contain themselves. One Knight gets away, but the chieftain and the Knights give chase... all the way back to the Dark Knight camp. They flee, but wind up trapped in a canyon, one that the half-ogre has led them to. They feel death is imminent, but then all the ogres appear on the cliffs above and demolish the entire Dark Knight force with rocks and boulders and arrows and what-have-you. What few Knights of Takhisis get through are cut down by the Knights of Solamnia. The Knights of Solamnia are then forced to leave, after being told that the ogres have learned what was needed to be learned and will spread the knowledge. Overall, it was a very cool story, even if it didn't have minotaurs.
"The Raid on the Academy of Sorcery" by Margaret Weis:
I've said it before, I'll say it again: I hate this title. It just seems
so blase. Anywho, this fills the gap in that Dragons of a Fallen Sun tells of: the
destruction of the Academy of Sorcery. A group of Dark Knights from Beryl's realm feign an attack on Solace, drawing the town guard away while a large party of draconians attack the Academy of Sorcery. Palin has gone off with the town defenders, leaving Ulin and his semi-girlfriend Lucy behind with the remaining children (a great deal have departed, due to magic beginning to fail). Luckily, elves spot the draconians and Caramon comes and takes the children away to the Inn, leaving Ulin and Lucy to hide the magical artifacts Beryl is after. Ulin has recently created gunpowder ("thunder powder") and thinks that by blowing up a small section of the Academy of Sorcery, he can cover the artifacts with enough rubble and stone that the draconians will never get them, nor will the reds who help them. Unfortunately, his spell fizzles before it gets all the way back to the explosive-filled room. The draconians arrive and their Aurak leader casts a lightning spell for some reason I cannot remember. It sets off the rest of the powder as Ulin and Lucy are escaping. Palin has, meanwhile, returned to the Academy of Sorcery after finding out the threat. The Academy of Sorcery blows sky-high (too much
gunpowder), and Palin is in too much shock to fight off the draconians remaining who seize him. Lucy holds Ulin back from trying to save Palin, knowing he'd only be captured too. Ulin, disgusted with himself and his failure, shreds his notes on thunder powder, declaring no one will ever know what really happened (except the reader, of course). This was a cool story and a nice ending for the trilogy, esp. as it sets up
Dragons of a Fallen Sun/War of Souls nicely (as well as Palin's character). The only issue I have is that there is no mention of Suhnrysanti (Sunrise) and his relationship with Ulin. As Krynn's first dragon mage, one would think Ulin would be a bit more important than Palin's assistant. Overall, it was excellent.
So, that's it. Overall, great anthology, but pales a bit in comparison to Heroes and Fools. I highly recommend it!
Rebels and Tyrants – Tales of the Fifth Age was a good collection of stories. It lacked the truly kick-ass stories, but neither were there many terrible stories. Also, for those of you that haven't read Dragons of a Fallen Sun; you can read this collection without risking any spoilers. In fact, I would recommend reading Rebels and Tyrants – Tales of the Fifth Age first, sincce a couple of the stories explain events and have characters that appear in Dragons of a Fallen Sun.
Est Sularar Oth Mithas by Scott Buraczewski
This is a very short story, about a knight hunting a dragon, with lots of flashbacks of the knight's past; making the past and the present two parallell stories. An exercise in narrative technique, but with no real plot to speak of I wasn't satisfied.
Freedom's Pride by Paul B. Thompson
I was looking forward to this story as elven subterfuge and intrigue is one of the themes I find most fascinating in Dragonlance currently, and Linda P. Baker's Lessons of the Land from Dragons of Chaos was an enchanting story. The story was good, but not great. It does feature a slight twist (like all of Thompson's short stories, it seems) and has a good plot, but the tension and the feel is somewhat lacking. Oh, and there is one inconsistency: The Lioness is, according to both The Puppet King and Dragons of a Fallen Sun, a Kagonesti, not a Qualinesti as she is in this story.
Sargas's Night of Revenge by Don Perrin
This is one of my favorite stories in this collection. Don Perrin creates an entirely new twist to the clichéd curse: murderers (and victims) who have to relive the night of the misdeed again and again and again. But what when the god who administers this curse each year disappears? A terrific idea, and incredibly executed as well. Funny and fascinating.
Sharing the Luck by Linda P. Baker
Two thieves have worked together for a long time, then after donning a bracelet one of them subtly changes. Linda Baker is one of my favorite Dragonlance short story writers, but this is no doubt her weakest story yet. Her writing isn't as evocative as it has been, and the story is rather unexciting also. Too bad, I hope she does better next time.
The War Chest by Kevin T. Stein
A Solamnic Knight who teaches young recruits longs for the glory of the battlefield, and makes a deal with a stickman(!) from the Abyss. This bizarre and unengaging story is probably the weakest story in the collection, in my opinion.
Flight of Fancy by Jeff Crook
A gnome story about a human from Solamnia who flies to Mt. Nevermind on a flying machine. Jeff Crook is an uneven Dragonlance writer who is moody, evocative, atmospheric, and dragonlancy sometimes, cheesy and unrealistic at others. This one balances on a sword's edge between the dragonlancy and the ridiculous with the focus on the flying machine, and more than once it stumbles. Flawed, but not entirely bad, story.
The Deep, Deep, Dark, Dark Place by Kevin James Kage
Unfortunately, this one is among the least interesting stories in the Rebels and Tyrants. I didn't find it very funny and the plot itself and the ending were very predictable and has been seen many times before.
Catch of the Day by Jean Rabe
Jean Rabe's name can mean anything from very entertaining to very bad. This story is in the category of the latter. The idea behind the plot may seem clever, but it didn't work as a story at all. Also, while short stories with creatures that are quite rare on Krynn are OK, a story with kobolds,
bugbears and ettins all in one place just doesn't work that well. It feels like a random encounter table, and it's unrealistic as well - what are the odds of that happening on the Plains of Solamnia (or anywhere else on Ansalon for tat matter?). Jean Rabe has a knack of throwing in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons-ish creatures in her fiction... often in places where it doesn't work that well. This story is one example, the gnoll in The Silver Stair another.
Lost Causes by Nancy Varian Berberick
Another one of my favorite stories, a romance story. The characters are very interesting, and Berberick's writing style is very good this time, unlike the pretentious, over-stylized writing that hampered both her story in Heroes and Fools – Tales of the Fifth Age and her novel Dalamar the Dark. I have a couple of consistency complains though: The river between Qualinesti and Darken Wood is called the White-rage River, not the Whiterush as in this story. Also, it floats from west to east, from Haven to the Plains, and, judging by the name and DL1, there are many rapids along its course. Sailing up this river to Haven like they did in this story would be impossible. I also have one other objection: The whole story seems to be centered around the "true beauty comes from within" theme. Call me a cynic, but I don't think it's as simple as that, and certainly not as simple as in this story, where one guy can see the homely girl's true beauty when he first sees her, while another doesn't until it's too late. That being said, the story is still very good, and a favorite, thanks to the writing, the characters and an engaging plot. Not to mention the fact that Nancy avoided clichés when the baby died.
Blood Ties by John Grubber
An impressive debut from John, with an intriguing and exciting story about two brothers from somewhere near New Swamp who comes home to see their home razed and their family gone. The story is rather unpredictable, and rare creatures (tylor and black spawn) are, unlike Rabe's story, used effectively here. This is easily another one of my favorites.
Shard's Memory by Chris Pierson
Chris Pierson hasn't disappointed me as a short story writer yet. And this story is no exception. His writing is more evocative than any other writer, making me truly see the world of Krynn and the stories he writes. More than any, Chris puts the magic of Dragonlance into every word. In addition to that, this story is very good. It is a chilling story about a female dwarf who has lost all her memories in the wake of the Chaos War, and together with her lover seeks out a shadow wight in order to regain them. The story was exciting and tense, and I never knew how it would turn out,
because Pierson can sometimes be as merciless as Tarantino, but also very sentimental and romantic. This story is easily my favorite in the collection.
Tactics by Richard A. Knaak
A very good story about Knights of Solamnia training ogres to withstand the attacks of the Knights of Takhisis, with a nice double twist ending. I wondered a little about where exactly the story is set, and how the Knights of Solamnia got there (they had to go through Knights of Takhisis territory to get to any ogre land), but the idea is very intriguing and the story well executed.
The Raid on the Academy of Sorcery by Margaret Weis
This story didn't start out that well, but picked up at the end. At first, there was a lot of background info and narration that didn't concern the story itself, and it felt like it jumped from one thing to the next. Then, as the story became more focused, it picked up. I have noticed that Margaret Weis doesn't write as descriptive as she used to, if you compare this story and Dragons of a Fallen Sun to Chronicles and Legends, for example. That is a shame, because the feel of Krynn is something that I think Weis should try and convey more in her writing. Ulin is the protagonist here, and he seems a bit different than in the Dragons of a New Age trilogy. His wife is dead, and there is no mention of Sunrise, the gold dragon he bonded with. Also, in Dragons of a New Age Ulin is so into magic that he leaves his family to pursue it, while in this story he was never that into magic in the first place, but felt that alchemy was more up his alley. However, I think that apparent inconsistency can be fixed in such a way that it makes Ulin an even more interesting character. What if Ulin bonded with a dragon and left his family in a desperate attempt to make up for his lack of interest/skill in magic? To live up to his father's expectations, to master the difficult art he really didn't want to master, he tried so hard he left his family? That would make him an even more interesting character than your standard Raistlin-esque magic obsession as he was portrayed in the Dragons of a New Age trilogy. The Raid on the Academy of Sorcery is a good, but not great story.
Review made Monday April 24th, 2000 on the alt.fan.dragonlance newsgroup.
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