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The Fall Of Dragons (Traitor Son book 5) by Miles Cameron (book review).

October 9, 2020 | By | Reply More

There are authors, particularly crime writers, who pride themselves on writing the possible so that when they have an action scene, they have already acted it out. The converse of this are the groups of wargamers who re-enact famous battles, picking apart the flaws in the strategy of the generals at the time. Fantasy wargamers have the thrill of not knowing which side will come out on top.

Miles Cameron admits to being a wargamer and this shows. Throughout this book and the four earlier books in this ‘Traitor’s Son’ series, there have been a plethora of large scale battles. The only sure way of keeping track of all the participants is to play out the scenarios as table-top battles. This works, up to a point. There is a big difference between observing and participating in a strategic game and coherently describing it on the page. It is possible that inveterate wargamers would have a greater appreciation of this than the average reader.

The Fall Of Dragons’ is the final volume of a massive if flawed saga. Some of its short-comings that manifested in volume one, ‘The Red Knight’, are perpetuated of necessity. Once a book is published, it is difficult to make major changes to the ethos. As in many fantasy novels, maps are provided. It is a shame then that this volume starts by plunging the reader into the heart of a battle in a place that does not appear to be included in any of the maps. In all these battles, thousands die, yet the size of the armies never seems to diminish.

This is a series that has evolved during the writing. It probably started as an exercise in warfare as the lead character, Gabriel Muriens aka the Red Knight, has progressed from being the leader of a mercenary troop to emperor of the civilised world. The main opponents until now have been the creatures of the Wild. These are things like boglins and irks, who are under the impression that the humans are the usurpers and want their territory back. They have been egged on by sorcerers, initially one called Thorn, now it is Ash who is also a dragon.

Now, further complications have added. There is another enemy and it is coming through from another dimension. In the previous volume, ‘A Plague Of Swords’, it was revealed that there are doors to other dimensions and, in a short while, they will be aligned enough for the Cthulhu-like entities will be pouring through to find a source of power and take over the world.

Several armies are racing towards Lissen Carrack, the focus of this magical power. Gabriel decides to take his army through the doors, through various other dimensions to attack the enemy from the rear.

While Cameron is well versed in the art of medieval warfare, the average reader is likely to be bogged down by the plethora of terms thrown into the text. I have no doubt as to the accuracy of their use but to the layman there do not paint a vivid picture. The result is that the lengthy fight sequences become confused and boring as they do not make for fluid reading. There will be some who will enjoy and appreciate this but as an example of GrimDark fantasy, there are better series around.

Pauline Morgan

October 2020

(pub: Gollancz, 2017. 628 page enlarged paperback. Price: £18.99 (UK only). ISBN: 978-1-473-20889-65)

check out websites: www.orionbooks.co.uk and www.redwolfconspiracy.com

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Category: Books, Fantasy

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