cover image Servant of the Dragon

Servant of the Dragon

David Drake. Tor Books, $26.95 (479pp) ISBN 978-0-312-86469-9

The Lord of the Isles saga (Lord of the Isles; Queen of Demons) progresses little in this volume. Garric still settles into his reign, advised by the spirit of his ancestor Carus and by his friends, especially low-key love interest Liane. A new threat, a magical bridge, dangerously joins different dimensions and times, and must be undone. Sharina, Ilna and Cashel disperse, each finally helping the realm, and Garric fights boldly and leads cleverly, aided by his soldiers, his guards the Blood Eagles and the wizard Tenoctris, against foes that include living-dead cavalry. The connections between realities allow Drake to explore not only magical realms and their threats but the past of the Isles, before the catastrophe that Tenoctris survived. Ilna's capture by pirates develops interestingly, introducing Merota, the aristocratic child Ilna befriends, and Chalcus, the pirate whom cranky Ilna can't help warming to. As usual with Drake, the nonhuman characters are outstanding. Here, a sentient warrior bird, Dalar, steals the show as Sharina's aide and protector. Drake is taking his time resolving the deeper conflicts of the series, but the trip is inventive and satisfying, so few readers will complain. Major ad/promo. (Sept.)