cover image The Dragons of Deepwood Fen

The Dragons of Deepwood Fen

Bradley P. Beaulieu. DAW, $29 (496p) ISBN 978-0-7564-1812-0

With this cinematic and heartwarming adventure, Beaulieu (A Desert Torn Asunder) begins a new epic fantasy series set in the Holt, a reluctant vassal state of a vast empire and a land steeped in magic, dragons, and the legacy of an ancient war. Calling to mind Game of Thrones, Beaulieu uses six perspectives to weave a satisfying, complex web of mystery and lore. Rylan, bastard son of the elected ruler of the Holt, tames dragons by day and teams up with his own acid-spitting dragon Vedron to harry the empire by night. When he’s approached by the Red Knives, a group of militant, anti-imperial rebels living in the Deepwood Fens territory, he becomes an unwilling participant in their larger plot alongside Rhiannon, a child with unusual magical talent. Lorelei, an investigator in one the empire’s capital cities, adds an element of noir, while the politicians that stymie her investigations—Ordren, the Hissing Man, and Azariah—add some villainy to the mix and up the stakes. Though the worldbuilding is not especially inventive, Beaulieu delivers plenty of witty repartee and brings old tropes to life with new intricacies. Epic fantasy fans will feel right at home in this fun, familiar world. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary. (Dec.)