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The Dinosaur Knights
by Victor Milan
TOR Books, $26.99, 444pp
Published: July 2016

This is the sequel to Milan’s hellaciously exciting “The Dinosaur Lords.” (Click here for review.) And this one moves like a T-Rex on speed, hurtling along with characters and scenes in bursts of immense energy.

When we last left Nuevaropa, the pseudo European/Renaissance flavored world Milan has created, war was breaking out between the established religious faction headed by the Emperor and Count Jaume’s followers who had established a religion of Truth and Beauty.  In the midst of this, the emperor’s older daughter was framed for treason, humiliated by someone close to her father, but escaped to join those called Gardeners who follow her lover Jaume’s religious path.

And then we have Rob Kerrigan, dinosaur master and jongleur extraordinaire with his companion, the Voyvod Karyl Bogomirsky, the ultimate Hero. He is strong, statistically savvy, effacing and charismatic. He is a terrific focus for those opposing the religious fervor being fanned by those surrounding the Emperor.

But into this hot mix of agendas and power struggles comes the threat of a Grey Angel Crusade, something that hasn’t occurred for five hundred years and wiped out a great many humans on the planet Paradise when it last took place.  An actual Grey Angel (a being created by the Creators of this world) has been sighted. And he is not shy about whipping humans into an unholy army of ravening mindless creatures who do nothing but kill (and occasionally eat) their fellow humans. Like a ferocious hoard of army ants—nothing living stays them from their appointed path. Their ostensible purpose: to “cleanse” Paradise of sinners.

We still have dinosaurs everywhere!  Being ridden, pulling carts, flittering in sylvan glades as tiny pterosaurs, all shapes, sizes and vivid colors all the way  up  to the terrible Tyrant—T. Rex. Luckily, there are not many of them around. The most commonly used dinosaurs are velociraptors, hadrosaurs,(duckbills) and a variety of triceratops small, medium, and OMG.

The battles ramp up—but with the Grey Angel Raguel fomenting terror and putting together his army of madness, old enemies become new allies. For if they do not bind together to face the Crusade, their world and everything they love will be swallowed whole by the Grey Angel and his rabid minions. The characters from the last novel: Karyl, Rob, the Imperial princess Melodia, Pilar, Jaume, the nasty Falk, etc. are given even more depth as they grow and change.

The book ends with a clash as big and horrifying as the Last Battle in Lord of the Rings—except of course, instead of orcs and mountain trolls, we have dinosaurs and flesh-eating, mind-controlled humans. And the Grey Angel Raguel riding an immense T. Rex in the midst of it all.

There is this tiny subplot about Karyl’s lost and frightened…Allosaurus  (which I initially thought was a T. Rex) from whom Karyl had been separated in a battle at the very beginning of the last book. Named Shiraa, she is looking for her “mommy” (this would be Karyl.) It is, well, hard as it might be to picture...adorable.

And crucial, of course.

The ending is a whopper---with a wonderful but not unexpected twist when we find out who the Emperor’s mysterious close spiritual advisor Frey Jeronimo really is. An Imperial confidant no one has ever been able to glimpse, much less talk to.

A terrific read—and as I said before---I think this is optimum material for an awesome computer game! ~~ Sue Martin

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