cover image Storm Riders

Storm Riders

Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes. Tor, $27.99 (512p) ISBN 978-0-7653-3349-0

This rousing second chapter in the Dragon Brigades epic fantasy series (after Shadow Raiders) is set in an intricate magical land that floats on the Breath of God. Bitter rival empires Rosia and Freya are threatened by Bottom Dwellers, evil demons that live on the planet’s surface. Freya’s wily puppetmaster, Sir Henry Wallace, and Rosia’s formidable schemer, Countess Cecile de Marjolaine, lead an immense and fascinating cast through intrigue and derring-do, first scheming against each other and then teaming up to battle their mutual enemy. They’re abetted by a variety of dragons, such as the noble mansion-dwellers of Rosia and the wild iridescent youngster that Cecile’s estranged son, Stephano, yearns to ride into battle; the beasts are standouts in the genre, wistful, intriguing, and utterly convincing. New readers may be lost without a dramatis personae, maps, and a synopsis of earlier action, as this complex universe is prone to rapid shifts of scene and personnel, but the multifaceted action and well-drawn characters will keep any fantasy fan’s excitement at feverish pitch, a particularly impressive feat for a middle book. (July)