cover image Legends of the Dragonrealm: Shade

Legends of the Dragonrealm: Shade

Richard A. Knaak. Gallery, $16 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-4516-5607-7

Veteran fantasy author Knaak opens a new installment of his multivolume Dragonrealm saga with this less than rousing quest adventure. The ancient sorcerer Shade attempted to achieve immortality; now he suffers one horrid death after another, reborn each time to alternating careers of good and evil. Seeking to end his curse, Shade is caught up in an ugly war brewing in the Land of Lochivar and involving wizard Cabe Bedlam, a descendant of an old foe of Shade’s. Cabe’s sorceress daughter, Valea, rebels against her parents and allies herself with the “living magic” Darkhorse, a supernatural ebony stallion, to save Shade, whom she envisions as a “tragic, romantic” hero. Readers new to this conventional sword-and-sorcery world could use more background than Knaak measures out, and while he maintains a wicked pace, driving Shade through one cliffhanger after another, his characters seem mired in post-Tolkien imitative routine dangers and a facile resolution. Agent: Donald Maass, Donald Maass Literary Agency. (Sept.)