cover image SOJOURN: The Dragon's Tale

SOJOURN: The Dragon's Tale

Ron Marz, , illus. by Greg Land, Drew Geraci and Caesar Rodriguez. . CrossGen, $15.95 (160pp) ISBN 978-1-931484-34-3

This pleasant sword and sorcery tale approaches familiar concepts with a fresh slant. Three centuries after the evil warlord Mordath was slain, he has been more or less been resurrected (he looks like Boris Karloff in The Mummy) and has led an army of trolls to conquer the Five Lands. Among the casualties were the husband and daughter of beautiful female archer Arwyn, who consequently has vowed revenge against Mordath. That can only be achieved by reuniting the five pieces of the arrow that originally killed Mordath. And so, accompanied by her dog and Gareth, a one-eyed adventurer, Arwyn sets off on an heroic quest. What lifts this old, reliable fantasy formula above the routine is the narrative voice of Gareth, a laid-back rogue who can appreciate Arwyn's obsession but also question it. The art is unusually good; the illustration team handles big, showy scenes well, such as a dragon rising dramatically out of a vast pool, and cleverly depicts the small, furtive inhabitants of an enchanted wood. Arwyn and Gareth meet a shape-shifting, talking dragon, whom Arwyn entices to attack Mordath, hoping to kill her enemy without having to find the arrow parts. Needless to say, the quest isn't ended this easily, but Arwyn is an independent person and not a heroic cliché. This series should be an enjoyable one for readers to follow. (Apr.)