The second book in the Chronicles has much
better flow than the first book, though it still feels immature in many
places. I also wish they hadn’t had such large gaps in the story, using a
song to describe the Ice Wall, and missing the complete chapter about
Thorbardin (covered in the Lost Chronicles). I think it was a good idea to
split the group up, as it was much too large to begin with. Each of the
stories was given enough time to develop, and the interactions grew more
complex. While Tanis is on the downswing, Laurana is given a chance to
shine, and is quickly becoming my favorite character.
It’s a wonder that I’ve never realized part of the story is missing from
this book. The tales of Thorbardin and the Ice Wall are told in the Lost
Chronicles trilogy, Dragons of the Dwarven Depths and
Dragons of the Highlord Skies, respectively, and they are
so important! Why did I never miss
them before, especially in reference to Tasslehoff’s Wooly Mammoth and his
glasses of special seeing? My review of the former states that they even
replaced the Hammer with a fake one, which is never mentioned elsewhere.
Obviously they were cut for length, and are replaced with songs of glory
telling of what happened, but I wonder if there was another way.
story in this book starts with the companions leaving Thorbardin on the way
to Tarsis, a city where they can take a boat to find the Knights of Solamnia
and elsewhere -except that during the Cataclysm, the landscape was changed
so much that the city is surrounded by desert, not water. This is the last
time the companions will be together as a group, and it was a good choice by
the authors. By dividing them up into smaller groups, each character gets a
focus, though they get a lot less screen time. It’s amazing how little Tas
and Flint get, though, and Goldmoon and Riverwind are barely part of it.
Tarsis doesn’t like the Knights of Solamnia, blaming them for the
Cataclysm, so the moment Sturm enters the city, the leaders of the city (who
are in league with the Draconians) plan to arrest them. Tas is kidnapped on
the way (by Knights who are there in secret -is that honorable?- because they
need the library, and the story of which is told in the Lost Chronicles) The
others witness Alanah Starbreeze, an elf aristocrat, plead for help from the
city to free her homeland. Sturm and Alannah fall in love, though they would
never admit it. Meanwhile, all of them are sentenced to house arrest, but
they escape and make their way back to the hotel. When the Dragonarmies
attack, the hotel collapses on top of them, but Raistlin casts a spell to
prevent them from being crushed. Alannah rescues them with her griffons.
Here, the group is separated for good.
Alannah takes Tanis, Caramon
and Raistlin to Silvanesti, while the others go with the Knights of Solamnia
in search of a Dragon Orb down south. Silvanesti was nicely creepy, with its
dream landscape. Only Raistlin recognizes the potential of it, though, and
he becomes more powerful than ever, in a foreshadowing sequence. The others
all die, except for Tanis, but Raistlin overpowers the green dragon Cyan
Bloodbane and frees the land. Alannah stays to comfort her dying father, and
pledges to restore the land, which is still sick with the power of the Orb
that Lorek was trying to use.
The group then makes their way to a
small town where they perform as magicians to gain money for passage to
Sancrist, where the Knights are, and where they want to deliver the Dragon
Orb. In this chapter, we see a Raistlin that we’ve never seen before, and
one that we’ll never see again. He is amicable and compassionate, enjoying
doing tricks for common people who just want a little happiness. I don’t
think he was even this happy in Brothers Majere when they were young.
They make enough money to travel to Flotsam, where they are forced into
hiding. Tanis and Caramon steal some dragonarmy armor, and this is when
Kitiria finds Tanis, and thinks he’s joined the army like her. He’s shocked
to discover that she is a Dragon Highlord. He spends several days in her
bed, while the others cower in fear, wondering where he’s been. When he
finally escapes, as Kitiria goes on a mission with her blue dragon, he is
followed to the ship they plan to take away from here. Berem, the Green
Gemstone man, is navigator on this ship, and Tanis knows he has to get the
man as far from Kitiria as possible, as he is apparently the key to the Dark
It’s too bad that the adventure at the Ice Wall was
completely removed to Dragons of the Highlord Skies, because it feels like
something is missing when we catch up to Lauranna and the others, being
chased by a white dragon as they escape on a ship with the remaining
Knights. The white dragon and a storm cause them to crash, and while the
dragon retreats, the group is captured by the Silvanesti elves. Apparently
the two groups of elves (Qualinesti and Silvanesti) haven’t spoken since the
kinslayer wars, and they are wary of each other. There is also a third group
of elves which both groups treat like dirt. Their holier-than-thou attitude
is annoying even to read about, especially since nobody does anything about
it (except behind the scenes in the next book). I thought it would be nice
to see Alannah show up and shake everybody up, but we never see her again.
Lauranna has to deal with prejudice from the Silvanesti, and then
from her father and older brother. It’s no wonder that she decided to escape
and go her own way. I was waiting for her to confront her father, but the
book doesn’t go that route. It would have been so nice to see them brought
down a peg or two. One of the lesser elves, Silvara, helps them in their
escape, and she sends the dragon orb to Sancrist with Sturm and Derek, while
leading the others away, leaving a trail for their pursuers away from the
two knights. They end up in a sanctuary, which turns out to be Huma’s tomb.
While everyone is arguing about what to do next, Tasslehoff, being bored,
goes exploring. He now encounters Fizban again, and it’s finally time to
reveal that there were good dragons in the world at one time. I don’t know
why it had to be such a secret, why Fizban erased his memory in the last
book, why the dragon in Thorbardin caused his mouth to spew “wooly mammoth”
every time he tried to say “good dragon”. Silvara’s secret is one thing, as
she’s being coerced. She’s actually a silver dragon herself, but she’s taken
elvish form because she feels she needs to do something, not just sit by
like the other good dragons. Gilthanas has fallen in love with her, and she
with him, but he becomes so angry at being deceived that he can’t forgive
We skip back to Sturm and Derek in Sancrist, showing how far
the Knights of Solamnia have fallen. The internal bickering showed that
Derek is more interested in power than in doing what’s right. The Knights,
often reviled since the Cataclysm, are bound by their honor and by the
Measure, which details how to act in every situation. While Sturm thinks for
himself, and can see the advantage of being stealthy and shying from a
fight, Derek knows this goes against the Measure. Sturm is stripped of his
apprentice knighthood, but is chosen by the current leader to go to
Palanthas as his representative to defend the city. They’ve brought the
dragon orb to the knights to decide its fate, but the bickering basically
ensures it will never be used.
Tasslehoff and Fizban go to see the
orb, which is being guarded and studied by the gnomes. The gnomes were
really funny, with their catapult elevators and the run-on sentences. They
were a fun distraction, but not really relevant to the story, except to
introduce a new species. When they return to Sancrist with the orb, Tas is
so frustrated by the proceedings that he takes the orb and smashed it
against the rocks! Soon after, Gilthanas and Silvara arrive with the
The bickering continues as Sturm and Derek move to the
High Clerist's Tower, but it’s clear that Derek is going more and more insane
as events go beyond his experience. When Laurana arrives, and the dragonarmy
shows up outside the tower, he decides to take the Knights on the attack.
It’s obviously a trap, and the Knights are devastated. Only Sturm’s knights,
whom he held back against the wrath of Derek, survive to defend the tower.
But Tas makes another discovery that helps defeat Kitiria when she finally
attacks. Kit kills Sturm, knowing he will understand that it wasn’t
personal, but war. When Laurana and Tas and Flint activate the dragon orb
(thanks to Tasslehoff’s magic glasses), the dragons go crazy as do the
draconians, who are derived from them. Only Kit’s dragon survives, because
of her supreme will. The others are drawn to the orb, where they are trapped
in the tower as the Knights stab them with the dragonlances.
part of the book showed my favorite development of Laurana, as she goes from
shy and waif-like elf-maid to a true warrior. She leads the knights against
their dragonfear, fights draconians, and even confronts Kitiria, who only
defeats her because she knows of Tanis’ feelings for the elf, and can poison
that relationship, as Tanis spent the last several days in Kitiria’s bed.
The sequence is short, but it’s probably the most powerful in the entire
If there’s a major complaint about this book, it’s the way they
leave everything behind when they go to a new place. Alannah Starbreeze is
completely forgotten after this, except in one small mention at the start of
the next book. Everyone they meet gets good character development, and even
a point of view, but are thrown away as the group moves on. Maybe the
authors took on too much, but I found the supporting cast felt like they
were part of a bunch of short stories, never to be heard from again. The
point of view switches continued to be annoying, as in the previous book, as
we’d switch viewpoints mid-paragraph in some cases.
looking forward to the conclusion.