In his magnificent, heroic, adventure fantasy, Dragonslayer, Duncan M. Hamilton debuts the first book in a fast-moving trilogy: a dangerous tale of lost magics, unlikely heroes, and reawakened dragons.
Once a member of the King’s personal guard, Guillot dal Villevauvais spends most days drinking and mourning his wife and child. He’s astonished―and wary―when the Prince Bishop orders him to find and destroy a dragon. He and the Prince Bishop have never exactly been friends and Gill left the capital in disgrace five years ago. So why him? And, more importantly, how is there a dragon to fight when the beasts were hunted to extinction centuries ago by the ancient Chevaliers of the Silver Circle?
On the way to the capitol city, Gill rescues Solène, a young barmaid, who is about to be burned as a witch. He believes her innocent…but she soon proves that she has plenty of raw, untrained power, a problem in this land, where magic is forbidden. Yet the Prince Bishop believes magic will be the key to both destroying the dragon and replacing the young, untried King he pretends to serve with a more pliable figurehead.
Between Gill’s rusty swordsmanship and Solene’s unstable magic, what could go wrong? (taken from Amazon)
Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this book, in exchange for an honest review. This will be available on July 2nd.
Dragons! Huzzah! I’m a sucker for “traditional fantasy”- you know, monsters, warriors, epic quests, that sort of thing. So, I was excited to dive into this one. I’m happy to report that it lived up to my expectations.
I was hooked from the beginning. I loved that it started with an encounter with Alpheratz, the dragon. It established right away what sort of dragons this world has (spoiler: it’s not the cuddly kind). From there, the book takes us to Gil, a grizzled swordsman whose drinking has rendered him kind of useless.
While the plot is interesting, what stood out to me was how well Gil was developed. I really felt for him from moment one. He’s let himself fade away almost into obscurity as a way of dealing with his personal tragedies. The quest to kill the dragon ends up sort of being his salvation, in that he remembers who he was and is brought back to that.
There are things hinted at from his past, some of which has yet to be fully explored. I’m hopeful that more of that will be revealed as the series continues. The story is unfolding naturally, albeit slowly at parts, which I appreciate.
Solene was a great addition, adding complications that Gil wasn’t exactly ready for, and the Prince Bishop was a fun adversary. I couldn’t help but like him; his machinations were so entertaining.
This book felt reminiscent of the Drenai series by David Gemmell, although I really couldn’t tell you why. I honestly think it was Gil’s personality. I happen to really enjoy Winter Warriors by Gemmell, so this comparison is meant as a compliment.
This book is a fantastic start to a series, and a great introduction to Duncan M. Hamilton’s writing, if you haven’t already read any of his work. I highly recommend it.