cover image THE GRAND CRUSADE: Book Three of the DragonCrown War Cycle

THE GRAND CRUSADE: Book Three of the DragonCrown War Cycle

Michael A. Stackpole, Author . Bantam Spectra $14.95 (480p) ISBN 978-0-553-37921-1

The last volume in Stackpole's DragonCrown trilogy (after 2002's When Dragons Rage ) should please his many fans with its large helpings of violence, intrigue and plot twists. Still reeling from the unexpected death of prophecy-bound hero Will Norrington, his friends and allies struggle to marshal a coherent defense against the sorceress-dragon Chytrine, whose forces continue to further fracture the squabbling nations of the Southlands. Should Chytrine gain all the long-ago scattered pieces of the legendary DragonCrown, she'll be able to reconstruct the crown and open the way for the return of the treacherous Oromise, an ancient race long banished from the world. With Will Norrington gone, only a handful of heroes can stand against her: the young upstart sorcerer Kerrigan Reese, the charismatic war leader Princess Alexia of Okrannel and her lover, Crow, and the Vorquelf Resolute. While Chytrine schemes with King Scrainwood and manages to kidnap Sayce, Will's pregnant lover, the blind seeress Oracle has a vision that suggests all is not lost. This is fantasy on the most epic of scales, with plenty of bloody conflict and treacherous double-dealing. Readers new to the series will be at a distinct disadvantage, but those who can successfully navigate a course through the dense backstory in the opening chapters will find plenty of excitement and adventure. (Dec. 30)

FYI: Stackpole is also the bestselling author of titles in the Star Wars X-Wing series.