The Adamantine Palace, by Stephen Deas

  Buy from Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, or IndieBound

Author’s website
Publication date – March 19, 2009

Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) The Adamantine Palace lies at the centre of an empire that grew out of ashes. Once dragons ruled the world and man was little more than prey. Then a way of subduing the dragons through alchemy was discovered and now the dragons are bred to be little more than mounts for knights and highly valued tokens in the diplomatic power-players that underpin the rule of the competing aristocratic houses. The Empire has grown fat. And now one man wants it for himself. A man prepared to poison the king just as he has poisoned his own father. A man prepared to murder his lover and bed her daughter. A man fit to be king? But uknown to him there are flames on the way. A single dragon has gone missing. And even one dragon on the loose, unsubdued, returned to its full intelligence, its full fury, could spell disaster for the Empire. But because of the actions of one unscrupulous mercenary the rivals for the throne could soon be facing hundreds of dragons …Stephen Deas has written a fast moving and action-fuelled fantasy laced with irony, a razor sharp way with characters, dialogue to die for and dragons to die by.

Thoughts: For the first while I was reading this book, the first 75 pages or so, I felt a bit confused. It felt like I came in part of the way through the story rather than at the beginning, or like there was some prequel that I should have already read. Perhaps it was just my frame of mind at the time, I don’t know. Everything certainly made sense later, and the story as a whole was enjoyable, so I’m not going to count my initial reaction much toward the overall review. But still, it’s worthy of a mention.

Some fantasy novels that deal with a lot of political intrigue end up making the politics incredibly boring. Some novels that feature dragons as a main point end up filled with so much action and adventure that there seems to be no break in a series of hectic events. Neither of those problems existed in The Adamantine Palace. The blend of action and politics was a good one, just enough on both sides to make you anxious to get back to each piece as the point of view changed from chapter to chapter, to add a few more pieces to the puzzle.

I was quite happy to see that not once did any of the dragon-kings or -queens actually put together what was happening in regard to the white dragon’s disappearance. They all formed their own opinions based on what they wanted to believe and what their experience had taught them, but none of them came to the correct conclusion, and that was actually refreshing to see. Maybe I’ve just read too many “cut-and-dry” plots in novels, but for characters to not connect all the dots perfectly was surprising and pleasing, since that sort of thing seems to happen a lot.

But I guess one of the marks of a good author can be the ability to leave the characters hanging as well as the readers.

I’m quite pleased by my introduction to Deas’s writing. I’m definitely looking forward to the release of the sequel!

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