Author: Duncan M. Hamilton
Publisher: Tor Books
Format Read: Kindle
Set in a faux-French medieval-esq setting, “Dragonslayer” features dragons and knights and mages, and frankly, it was engrossing. It is also the first in a trilogy of novels.
Guillot is a man of some disrepute. Once a feared and much renowned swordsman now fallen on hard times, he drinks his way to a hangover every single day. He drinks so much that his demesne calls him by name, refuses to address him as “Lord.” He drinks so much that he can’t get a flagon of wine at the inn in his own Villerauvais because the innkeeper has decided he has had enough. Very embarrassing.
All that changes though when a dragon is awoken from its deep slumber by a group of investigating busybodies who manage to disturb its rest and get themselves incinerated (and eaten) in the process.
Gill is thrust back into a world of politics and action that he thought he had left behind.
There is also Solene, a woman with magical skill who has the uncanny ability to defend herself in the most creative ways in a land where magic is more or less forbidden and greatly feared.
I thought “Dragonslayer” was engaging as it moved in and out of its characters’ lives. There is hope and tragedy and some humour. And what really set the plot going, for me at least, was the straightforward, clean storytelling. You may find a few familiar themes in this book. Outlawed magic. The great evil that has motives that go beyond what is obvious. A group of warriors dedicated to staving off said evil.
Nevertheless, all of that came together pretty well. “Dragonslayer” is fast paced and rather short, which actually works in its favour.
I did find a few too many “shrugged” and “nodded” especially towards the end of the novel and those were a bit distracting. There were a few moments too when the plot moved a little too fast. Characters figure stuff out too quickly, and the magic system, while very intriguing, is a little undefined to the point where characters need to figure it out themselves. Which also means non-healers can perform impossible bouts of healing without any training. That was odd.
In any case, I thought this was a very enjoyable book, and I’m really looking forward to the sequels, “Knight of the Silver Circle.”