cover image Spine of the Dragon (Wake the Dragon #1)

Spine of the Dragon (Wake the Dragon #1)

Kevin J. Anderson. Tor, $26.99 (528p) ISBN 978-1-250-30210-6

Anderson (the Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. series) smoothly tells a harrowing story of powerful magic and gritty battles on a world where the two continent-spanning empires, the Commonwealth and Ishara, are at war. The wreths, the long-vanished creators of the human race, return to wake a dangerous dragon and destroy the world that humans have built. The wreths had become no more than old stories; then the queen of the sandwreths appears after a sandstorm and asks to become allies with a human king, while another king finds everyone in his daughter’s village killed by frostwreths. When a fiery explosion destroys a mountain range, it becomes evident that the legends of a dragon are also true. But when the leaders of the Commonwealth ask for peace with Ishara to fight the wreths together, they find that opposition from their own people may be the greatest danger. Scenes of rape and incest and mentions of pedophilia may be difficult for some readers. This epic fantasy takes readers on a sometimes brutal, often enthralling journey through marvelously detailed lands with intriguing characters, and Anderson does an impressive job of juggling numerous points of view and levels of story. Grimdark fantasy fans will find this an enticing series start. Agent: John Silbersack, Bent Agency. (June)