cover image The Fall of Dragons: The Traitor Son Cycle, Book 5

The Fall of Dragons: The Traitor Son Cycle, Book 5

Miles Cameron. Orbit, $16.99 trade paper (736p) ISBN 978-0-316-30244-9

The fifth and final installment of Cameron’s Traitor Son cycle (after The Plague of Swords) is a thorough, dense, and occasionally off-putting ending to a complex secondary-world historical fantasy. Queen Desiderata has returned to the city of Harndon (which is introduced here with the incredibly unfortunate analogy of looking “like a woman beaten by a drunken spouse”) and, with her allies, is working to heal the city of the plague and war-related ravages. Gabriel, the Red Knight, is attempting to lead his allies against Ash, the otherworldly Satanic being who sees humans as pests. The majority of the book’s 600-plus pages are devoted to the final set of battles, and there’s a depth to the level of research that informs these scenes, making them engrossing and detailed enough to avoid much repetition. The greater themes—ties to Christian and Arthurian mythology, notions of story cycles repeating—generally work with the story instead of getting in the way of it. There are occasional hiccups, but Cameron mostly uses straightforward prose and chapters told from the points of view of dozens of characters to convey his tale. Series fans will be satisfied. (Oct.)