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Storm Riders
by Margaret Weis & Robert Krammes
Tor, 2013, $27.99, 510pp
Publication Date: July 6, 2013
Storm Riders is a wonderful novel, a complex weaving of adventure, magic, politics and religion – and, of course, dragons. Dragons have been Weis’s stock in trade as far back as D&D and the Dragonlance series, and she just keeps getting better. I don’t know how Weis and Krammes collaborate, but the result is really splendid.

One of the best aspects of this story is the humor of the telling. There is a zest, a droll sense of fun to the narrative, even when the characters themselves are miserable and wretched.

The citizens of the rival kingdoms Freya and Rosia learn the hard way that nothing unites traditional enemies quite as effectively as a new and much worse common enemy, when both kingdoms come under attack by the Bottom Dwellers, who have so little to lose that they have no compunction about destroying everything anybody else has.

The survival of both nations may depend on the luck and pluck of The Cadre of the Lost, an aptly named handful of young men and women from Rosia who have narrowly survived an attack by Freyans and become stranded on an island inhabited by wild dragons, the kind who do not take kindly to the presence of humans.

Courage, compassion, hope and sacrifice all come into play, but the adage about youth, old age and treachery rears up like a particularly hostile dragon, setting the reader agog for the sequel.

Storm Riders is the second installment of The Dragon Brigade series, following Shadow Raiders, but eminently readable on its own. ~~ Chris R. Paige

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