The Dragon’s Path
Orbit, Apr 7 2011, $14.99
Though a millennium has passed since the Dragon Civil War left the predominant species extinct, the thirteen humanoid races that served them never learned the lesson that war kills. Captain Marcus Webster understands war kills foot soldiers but not the aristocrats who send others to die in battle. He knows how weather impacts fighting as summer is the time of war and battle is for the young. Marcus plans to lead a caravan before he is drafted as his combat days are over, but his crew is lost being sent to fight.
While Marcus seeks swords, Cithrin dressed as a boy with his first moustache and a “swinging penis” prepares mentally to escort the Bank’s wealth of a nation across the country before the invaders arrive. She struggles to understand caravans unlike the way she comprehends money.
No longer a naïve idealist but instead a jaded pessimist Dawson worries as war comes because his friend Simeon the ruler looks like he aged dramatically over the winter. He no longer appears to be the glorious future for the country; but instead seems like yesterday’s failure.
Aristocratic Geder the street philosopher detests swords. Though he is a terrible soldier who fears his reaction when bodies are sliced and diced, he will do his best to avoid dishonoring his aristocratic family.
As with the Long Price Quartet, Daniel Abraham effortlessly rotates perspective between the key characters so that readers observe a wide panorama of humanoids following The Dragon’s Path to war. Fans will marvel at how Marcus as winter and Dawson as autumn wither; while Cithrin as spring and Geder as summer mature. Thus the first excellent Dagger and Coin military fantasy is a coming of age thriller in which Geder and Cithrin remain frightened optimists unaware they will probably turn into Dawson and Marcus. This is a great thought provoking opening act.