THE DRAGON SOCIETY by Lawrence Watt-Evans
SEQUEL TO DRAGON WEATHER
TOR, December 2001
Arlian, Lord Obsidion is a member of the Dragon Society, that group of essentially immortal humans blessed and cursed with the wound of the dragons' venom. Yet he has learned the secret of that blessing--they are given their long life to serve as the breeding ground for future generations of dragons. In seeking vengence for the dragons' destruction of his family and his own enslavement, Arlian has killed the man whose bargain kept the dragons from attacking humans. Now, all the deals are off.
Arlian is torn between his compulsion to destroy the dragons, and the certainty that this destruction will only come at the cost of thousands of human lives. Worse, the very group he most depends on for aid, the Dragon Society sworn to oppose dragons in all areas, is torn by the knowledge that he brings. If dragons are to be eradicated from the earth, that means that the Dragon Society must give up their own lives--or live to breed new dragons. Yet unless Arlian is successful, the dragons will resume the enslavement of the human race.
Author Lawrence Watt-Evans (see BooksForABuck.com reviews of other books by this author) has created a compelling fantasy world. His dragons are cruel, yet also intelligent communicating beings who care deeply for their prospective children and who fear the genocide that Arlian threatens to bring upon them. THE DRAGON SOCIETY consists largely with Arlian's moral dilemna rather than with adventure although there are certainly moments of classic sword and sorcery.
I would have preferred to see less time spent on retelling of the back story from DRAGON WEATHER and more time spent on developing Arlian's character in this novel. His thirst for revenge seems watered down rather than burning with passion. Too, I found Arlian's unquestioned certainty that the only solution was complete genocide of all dragons disturbing. A man might make such a decision and even be right, but Arlian never questions his goals even as he learns that the dragons are not beasts as is commonly believed, but as intelligent as humans.
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