Friday, January 6, 2017

Book Review: DRAGON HUNTERS, by Marc Turner

Marc Turner
Tor Books, 2016
493 pages
Dark Fantasy

DRAGON HUNTERS is Book 2 in The Chronicle of the Exile, by Marc Turner. This is easily a stand-alone novel. You do not have to read the first book, WHEN THE HEAVENS FALL. Each is a complete story, with its own host of characters. All that is consistent between the two is the world in which the stories take place. I think this is great.

DRAGON HUNTERS was jam-packed with action. Almost too much, if that makes any sense. I was drained, emotionally exhausted by the time I finished the book.There are missing gods, titans, dragons, pirates, governmental conspiracies, assassins, and magic --enormous amounts of magic.

Dragon Day is almost at hand. It's a long standing tradition within the Dianese Citadel. These dragons live in the water. Sea monsters. When the gates are raised, a dragon passes underneath. The sport of hunting and killing a dragon commences. Good fun. Everyone enjoys the event. Except this year.

An odd summons is sent out to the Storm Lords. These water-mages attend the Dragon Day hunt every year. It is a great competition. However, the bizarre request has everyone on edge. It isn't long before they realize the summons is some sort of set up, a ruse. The meaning behind the summons is far more sinister than a day of fun events, and an exciting hunt. There is a traitor in the mix intent on knocking off the Storm Lords. It could be anyone. The key is, figuring out who is responsible before there aren't any Storm Lords left to rule!

The leader of the Storm Lords is nearing the end of her career. The time to pass the torch is close at hand. Unfortunately for the next-in-line Storm Lord, Imerle has no intention of simply surrendering her power. She has had more than a taste of all it offers, and handing it over won't do. Instead, she hires a covert group known as Chameleons --they've the ability to blend into their surroundings-- to sabotage the dragon gate.

The world is trembling. Quakes threaten to swallow the lands. Something is causing the building tremors. The answer must be below the citadel. Something more damning than a Dragon Hunt is underfoot. And more than one group intends on sabotaging the ritualistic hunt. In the mix of it all are the dragons. You see, they don't realize this is a game, sport, just for fun. They are agitated, angry, hungry, and ... in short, pissed off!

While nothing planned by anyone involved was meant as easy, things can only go from worse to detrimental. And it happens in a heartbeat!

Split into four parts, DRAGON HUNTERS is nothing shy of epic. The political aspect is tight, and unnerving. Thankfully there are three pages at the beginning of the book (Dramatis Personae) where Turner outlines the host of characters and the proper "affiliate." I flipped back often at the start of the book, until I got a handle on who was who, and then ... easy sailing. Pun intended.

Marc Turner has a way with words. He sprinkles just enough humor (and well-done funnies, at that) across the prose, and into the dialogue to keep some of the edge off. Speaking of dialogue, Turner nails it. There is an authenticity to the way the characters speak. Smooth. Easy. The narrative is fast, informative. It is detailed, but doesn't bog down, or slow the pace of the story. As I mentioned above, this book is fast-paced. Action-packed. And I find it to be a magnificent second installment in the series!

Phillip Tomasso,
Author of the Severed Empire Series,
and The Vaccination Trilogy

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