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Reviews of 'The Search for Power'

The Search for Power

by Jeff Grubb, Douglas Niles, Kevin T. Stein, Margaret Weis, John Helfers, Lucien Soulban, Mark Sehestedt, Miranda Horner, Dan Willis, Nancy Varian Berberick, Paul B. Thompson, Richard A. Knaak, Jamie Chambers, Jean Rabe, Douglas W. Clark
War of Souls Anthologies, Volume 2


Reviews of 'The Search for Power'

Here are the visitor reviews we have of The Search for Power. For more information about this title, please visit the item detail page.


Reviewer: Darlaten

Rating: Stars

Introduction to Anthology

The Search for Power, Dragons from the War of Souls marks the second anthology to feature short stories from the War of Souls. In this case, the anthology deals primarily with dragons. As a whole, this anthology is easily one of the strongest ones published in recent years. The stories, of which there are fourteen, take place during the beginning, middle, and end of the War of Souls. As such, they help expand this key trilogy. As a bonus, the book includes an introduction written by Margaret Weis that provides an overview of previous anthologies. The introduction is a definate, if not nostalgic, read.

Synopis and Comments of the Short Stories (Very Minor Spoilers Ahead)

Osuin's Treasure

Osuin's Treasure is a story about a group of Dark Knights and their pursuit for "Osuin's Treasure." Unfortunately for the Dark Knights, they do not know what this treasure really is. Is it steel? Gold? Jewels? Or is the treasure something else entirely? As the Dark Knights find out—not all treasure is worth the price of obtainment. Two characters in this short story deserve special mention—Subcommander Maros and Squire Aithan. The first is a Dark Knight who, although capable of such cruelty and harshness, is also a man capable of honour and great respect. Aithan, a Squire of Sir Euric (Knight of Solamnia), has a strong sense of character, morality, and justice. The interactions between these characters highlight this short story; in particular, the final scene between them is one that readers will remember for some time to come. This story is written by Mark Sehestedt.

Loyality

Loyality is a story that features a group of Minotaurs, led by Captain Salvas and First Mate Jek, who are in pursuit of some rebel Minotaurs fighting against Emperor Hotak. When landing on an island that the rebels are supposedly hiding out on, their efforts to find them become complicated as, simply put, not all is as it seems to be. What secret is being kept that, should it become known, would endanger their lives? To further complicate matters, a dead Red Dragon by the name of Volcanus plans nothing less then returning to life! What follows is a story about love, passion, trust, and betrayal. It's a story that demonstrates loyality—yet how far will loyality go when everything that it is based on was a lie? This story is written by Richard Knaak.

The Dragon's Child

The Dragon's Child is a story about a thief who owes substantial money to the evil-eyed dwarf Ferrous Earthfast. His solution to his money woes is to find some Dragon Egg Shells which he can sell for a lord's ransom—now that magic is back and mages are in need of components for spell casting. Raven set's out from the city of Kill Gulch into the mountains to find some egg shells. In the mountains however, he finds a group of Draconians who, aside from breaking some dragon eggs, are none to happy that he is about. While trying to save his life and his possessions, a red wyrmling, who managed to survive being destroyed by these Draconians, seems to have taken a liking to Raven. Now, two unlikely allies, a human and a red wyrmling, must try to survive in a mountain filled with Draconicans trying to kill them. To make matters worse, the wyrmling's mother, Inferno, has come home and she is none to pleased by what she finds. Will Raven and the wyrmling survive the draconians? This story is written by Nancy Varian Berberick.

Four Ends

Four Ends is a story about a red dragon named Threxellex who believes that the Minotaur Bandit Gul and the pirate L'Arth are failing to provide enough tribute to him. In fact, Threxellex belives these two are purposely holding back on the amount of money they collect for him. As such, the dragon captures L'Arth's lover and her son and hatches a plan to teach both Gul and L'Arth the penalty for betrayal. Yet as Threxellex's plan is set in motion, another plan, a different and more daring plan, is set in motion. Will this plan spell the end of Threxellex's reign over the lands around Four Ends? Will Gul and L'Arth survive and continue to plunder the lands around Four Ends? What follows is a story based on trust, mistrust, lies, and betrayal. Yet at the heart of this story is something else—revenge. This story is written by John Helfers.

At The Water's Edge

At The Water's Edge is a story that features Anar Sovralian of Qualinost in his search for his wife Kerasina who he believes has been kidnapped by elven rebels. Anar tracks down the elven rebels through city and forest and eventually comes to locate their hideout. What he finds is something that he never thought he would find nor is it something that he thought would ever happen. This story, tragically, demonstrates just how destructive the loss of Qualinost has been. Will Anar be able to cope with what he finds? Will he find his wife? More importantly, will the Qualinesti elves learn to come to terms with the loss of their homes? This story is written by our very own Jamie Chambers and marks the first time that a thorough discussion of the psychological trauma that the destruction of Qualinost had on the elves.

Lake of Death

Lake of Death features two humans named Tendek and Donnala, a kender named Wylinger, and a donkey named Leslie. Tendek and Donnala, formerly of the Knights of Neraka, had left the knighthood when the truth about Mina and her "one god" had been revealed. After hooking up with Wylinger, they began their quest to recover treasure that the elves left behind on their exodous through the Plains of Dust. After a run in with some Goblins, which resulted in the rescue of Leslie the Donkey, the companions make their way to the Lake of Death. Seeking a way to cross it, they find a ferry and begin to make the crossing. However, crossing the lake proves more dangerous then it sounds. What do they find in the lake? Will they survive the crossing or will the Lake of Death live up to it's name? There are some very humorous parts in this story; along with some great "one liners". This marks the first time that Dan Willis has written a short story for a Dragonlance anthology.

The Dragonslayers

This story open's up in the town of Trader's Lot with the arrival of a much needed hero—a dragonslayer by the name of Skerrith. The town has been having a problem with an injured dragon that has been capturing and eating the town's cows. The town's mayor asks Skerrith to fight the dragon for them in order to rid the town of their problem. Skerrith agrees; however, he asks to rest at an inn before going out to fight the dragon. At the inn, he meets the barmaid Ruby and the kender Rag. Skerrith tell's the patron's about his exploits as a Dragonslayer; unfortunately, that's when the problems begins. The kender has stolen Skerrith's dragonlance and makes to stop the dragon himself. Rudy and Skerrith pursue in order to save him. Will they be able to? But to add complications to these events—the dragon is not what it appears to be. What follows is a fast paced story with a dramatic twist at the end that no one, especially the readers, will see coming! This story is written by Douglas W. Clark. As an aside, Skerrith is pictured on the front cover of this anthology.

Inventory

This story is about what happens when two unlucky dwarves get hooked up with two dragon's who are in competition with each other over how much wealth they have. Gasper and Skarn, Hylar and Neidar respectively, are the dwarves and they must catalogue the inventory for a boastful, female red dragon. While taking inventory, the dwarves come upon a wide variety of interesting artificats—some magical and some not. Of course, both are intent upon escaping but just how to go about that remains a mystery. What follows is a story that features dwarven politics, dwarven humour, greedy dragons, magical items, and a humorous twist of an ending. Jean Rabe is the author of this story.

Marine Skies

Marine Skies features a return to life under the sea with the Dargonesti. In this story, the Dargonesti elves Bryis, Veloxua, and Quayseen are on a mapping mission—their goal, map the new currents that have developed around the area of Goodlund. They are joined by a royal dolphin named Minnow-Tyrant who, in fact, serves as a living map for the elves. What follows is a very detailed account of how the Dargonesti map the underwater seas. In addition, this short story provides information about the political life of the Dargonesti and, at last, explains how the Dargonesti and Dimernesti have been coping with the changes to the seas and shores that the Dragon Overlords have made. This story is written by Lucien Soulban.

Wyrm's Claw Inn

This story is a ghost story in which a local inn is inhabited by a child-ghost who has been making a nuisance of herself. Tam Ceary, one of the local councilmen, has closed the inn because the ghost, he feels, is dangerous. The owner of the inn, one Argus Thornton, believes that Tam is only closing the inn because he is no longer welcome there until his bar tab is paid. In any event, the town council requests that Elthan, a Cleric of Kiri-Jolith, come and get rid of the child-ghost. Between Elthan, Argus, and the barmaid, Brell, the trio try to remove the ghost-child. Will they succeed? Just when readers think the story is ending; it takes a dramatically darker turn—a turn which holds a huge surprise! Miranda Horner is the author of this story.

Coin of Adament

This short story features a return to the mythos surronding the "bundesphar" and Canus. In it, Bek and a wolf named Soldier journey to catch up with the Patrol. However, the Patrol has left the Bond with the Dark Queen to take up with the White Lady. Bek does not wish to renounce his Bond and, after meeting up with the Patrol, attempts to convince them of their errors. They will hear none of it. Bek and Soldier eventually make their way to a Temple of Takhisis where they attempt to destroy a minion of Chaos—a wraith. What follows is a very well described, and brutal, battle between man and wolf and wraith. Some of the most powerful lines of the entire anthology are in this story. In particular, the final line of this story is my favourite. The White Lady says, "Krynn's secrets are coming to destroy us..." (p. 277). Coin of Adament, which is written by Kevin T. Stein, is a welcome addition to this anthology.

The Box

This short story features an old man and his dog who are carrying a large, iron box through a town. A group of men, led by an individual called Dunnar speculate that the box might contain vast amounts of treasure. As such, they set out to steal the box and discover it's contents. Unfortunatley, the box can not be opened; consequently, they set out for a stronghold run by Umram, the Chiseler. Hopefully, he or his associates will be able to open the box. What's inside the box? How come the box can not be opened? Why was an old man moving the box through the town? These are just some of the questions the reader can look forward to. All I can say is this: Be careful when you try to steal things - you might get more than you wanted! As if that wasn't enough, Paul B. Thompson, the author of this short story, offers one final, and interesting, surprise.

The Albino

This short story, written from the viewpoint of a female black dragon, discuses the raising of dragonlets. What is it like to raise black dragons? How do you teach a dragon to swim, fight, fly, or spout acid? This story expands on those concepts and provides glimpses into the thoughts of a mother dragon. And like most families, there's an outcast. In this case, an Albino dragon. How should a mother interact with an outcast? What should she do? These questions and more are covered in this short story. In addition to the problems of raising dragons, there's still an even bigger problem—Malystryx, the Red! This insightful short story is written by Douglas Niles.

Conclusion

As I opened in the beginning, this anthology, in my opinion, is the strongest anthology recently released. Each of the stories are well-written, very dramatic, and full of interesting if not suprising twists in plot. There is a freshness to these stories that, arguably, has been missing from previous anthologies. As such, I recommend it to anyone interested in understanding more about the War of Souls timeframe.

Lastly, I hope that many of the first time authors featured here will get the chance to write a full novel. If their short stories are any indication of their passion for Dragonlance—then their future novel's will be very much welcomed.


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