Ossus Library Index
Fantasy Index


A novel by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
(1985, TSR Fantasy)

Dragonlance Chronicles, book 3

When the good dragons join the fight against the Queen of Darkness’ forces, one of her generals takes extreme measures to ensure their demise.


-- 3rd reading (paperback)
August 31st to September 21st, 2019


The gang is back together again, but this time it’s a smaller group. There is so much missing from this story that it feels like we’re breezing through it. I also didn’t like the way Lauranna and Tanis acted like love-sick schoolkids. But if I ignored the premise that they would go out and risk everything for love without thinking about consequences, no matter their age and experience, the story was interesting. The meeting at the end was funny in the way everything went wrong for everybody, and I liked the open-ended way Fizban allowed everything to remain neutral, and of course Raistlin’s realization of his true nature.

Spoiler review:

I don’t know if bringing the gang back together again was such a good thing. Once again, we lost sight of many of the characters. I didn’t miss Goldmoon and Riverwind, and though it was sad to see Flint die, I didn’t really know enough about him to cause me to mourn him. Even Raistlin gets left behind for the vast majority of the story -we have to go to Dragons of the Hourglass Mage to figure out what happened between his arrival at the library in Palanthas and his betrayal of the Queen of Darkness. I guess I just accepted this when I was younger, but not now.

Once again, the heroes meet a new race and then forget all about them. Kitiria had chased Berem and Tanis into the Blood Sea of Istar, where they go into the maelstrom at its center, a perpetual storm that destroys their ship, being the location where the Cataclysm struck. They are rescued by sea elves, and meet a strange wizard who has accepted his fate as being lost on the bottom of the ocean with the love of one of the sea elves. After being convinced that they need to help rid the world of the evil dragons, the sea elves release them not far from Kalaman. There is no real reason for this, as the sea elves believe that a small group of people can’t make any difference. I guess Berem’s green chest sways them more than anything, but I didn’t feel that it was too convincing. I also don’t understand why they would lose their memories of the experience.

Raistlin, on the other hand, uses the Dragon Orb to escape, and ends up almost dead on the steps of the Palanthas library, where he is brought in by Astinus, chronicler of Krynn, and as we find out in later books, is actually the god of neutrality. Raistlin searches for information in the library, wrecking a whole room with magic in the process. Then he disappears from the story until the end. Tasslehoff saw Raistlin appear, but nobody believes him.

The tide of the war turns as spring approaches. It’s too bad we didn’t hear more of the destruction of the dragonarmy, because the arrival of the good dragons with Gilthanas and Silvara brings about the turning point. I don’t know why the evil dragons don’t mount their own dragonlances, but they appear to be afraid of the ones the good dragons and their knights wield. Flint and Tas even capture Kitiria’s second in command, whom Lauranna shot with an arrow in the last book. The Golden General, as Lauranna is called, leads the Knights into battle, and they win back one city after another. It’s amazing there are any people left to rescue after the dragon attacks and the pillaging and murderous rampages of the dragon army.

By the time they reach Kalaman, it looks like the war is won. But we still have three quarters of a book left by this time, so we know it can’t be the case. After the grand celebration where they revere the Golden General (because she apparently didn’t bother training anybody who could do as good a job as she could), they are convinced it is over. This is when a draconian delivers a message from Kitiria, telling Lauranna that Tanis is near death, and she will allow the elf-maid to visit out of respect.

Of course it’s a trap. It boggles the mind that Lauranna didn’t even consider telling somebody. Sure, being knights, they would have probably sprung to her defense immediately, no matter her protests. But she should have at least sent Flint and Tas separately as lookouts, and Sturm’s old knights would have understood the need for secrecy. There isn’t even much to the trap, and the draconians capture them without any resistance whatsoever, which made it difficult to read. I don’t even know what the point was in having Lord Soth, the undead elf. I’d like to know how an ordinary elf-maid could do this to him. Does that mean if Laurana had been killed, she could curse Kitiria with her dying breath? The elf-ghost wants Lauranna’s spirit to share eternity with him. I wonder what the banshees have to say about that, not that he’d care.

The rest of the story is about Tanis, one of my least favorite characters, and how he rides off to Neraka with Berem, Caramon, Tika, Flint and Tas to rescue her. Flint, the most underused character in the trilogy, has a heart attack and dies at godshome, and Fizban takes his spirit into the afterlife, proving to Tanis that the gods exist. I wonder what Fizban’s plan was, in the overall scheme of things, when he attacked the group on his aging golden dragon. It saved them in the end, of course, and maybe Paladine knew that, but it’s a strange sequence knowing who he is.

Tanis and Caramon are discovered upon entering Neraka, where all the Dragon Highlords were gathering. It seems like a great time to strike, but of course the knights are still paralyzed. Or I assume they are, because they can’t seem to do anything without their Golden General. The flying citadel hovering above Kalaman should be just as easy to defeat as a regular city for the good dragons, but apparently they would give up the world just to save her, even knowing that Kitiria won’t keep her word.

Tanis spends the night with Kitiria and accompanies her to the gathering, where he pledges himself to her to save Lauranna’s life. Meanwhile, Caramon and Tika plan their escape, even though Caramon is still sulking about Raistlin’s betrayal. Raistlin appears to Tanis, helping him kill Lord Ariakis, the Highlord king, then goes to help Caramon as Berem seals the door the Dark Queen was going to use to reenter the world. Raistlin also saves Tika and revives Tas from near death, and as far as he’s concerned, his debt to his friends has been paid He’s now free to move on with his life in the black robes, and become the lord of the tower in Palanthas.

The chaos that follows the Dark Queen’s defeat is a bit of overkill, I think. If it was only her will holding everything together, then her reign was doomed from the start. But I guess that’s the point. Everybody escapes, even Lauranna and Kitiria. Fizban explains that the world cannot be tipped on either the side of good or evil, because both lead to downfall in the end. But I liked his foreshadowing of the adventures to come in the Legends series, when he talks to the tearful Tas.

Overall, this trilogy had a lackluster ending, but it never reached greatness at all, something I would have vehemently argued against when I was a teen and it first came out. I was honestly disappointed this time around, which took me completely by surprise. I remember the Legends being the better trilogy, so we’ll see whenever I decide to tackle that one.


-- 2nd reading (paperback)
June 9th to 12th, 1998


I remembered absolutely nothing of the ending of this book!  It was like I was reading it for the first time.  But it was really good -even better than the first two, in some cases.  But it did drag on for a little, and I still can't understand (a) how the good dragons could have enough eggs to make that many draconians, and (b) exactly how Berem dying would have opened the door for the Dark Queen, when it was his sister who held it closed.  Seems to me he could close it forever, or keep the wedge in it forever if he died.  Ah well.  On to the time travel story!


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