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Book Three of the Dragon Corsairs
by Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes
Tor, $29.99, 478 pages
Published: August 2019

Here we are:  the last of this trilogy (see earlier reviews).  It’s no longer a “game of thrones”, it has moved into being a combination romance and suspense.

Queen Mary was murdered by the real pretender, Jonathan Smythe, who has engineered a complete takeover of the kingdom of Freya.  He has Prince Thomas, now King Thomas, guarded by his own loyal mercenaries, and he is happily plotting to start a war with Rosia.  But Thomas is not without people loyal to him and willing to do what is necessary to both stop Smythe and to release Thomas.  He has Henry, the Queen’s former spymaster and Thomas’ enemy; Miss Amelia, the investigative journalist; his best friend, Phillip; his betrothed, Princess Sophia of Rosia, and – most importantly – he has Kate.

Smythe has some misguided idea that his God requires him to instigate a war with their long-time adversary, the kingdom of Rosia.  Thomas was attempting to mend the breach with his betrothal to their princess but that is no longer possible with the princess in hiding while Smythe searches everywhere to find and kill her.  It’s also no longer possible since Sophia is in love with Phillips and Thomas with Kate.  Smythe has made common cause with another kingdom, Guundaran, but isn’t worldly enough to realize he’s being played by their King. Thomas discovers the duplicitous plans of King Ullr to use Smythe and conquer Freya before Guundaran then turns on Rosia.  But Smythe would never believe his prisoner so Thomas has to find a way to save both his kingdom and Rosia.  Fortunately, this turns out to be easy with so many other powerful figures already coming to the same conclusion and determined to restore King Thomas to his throne.

The plot was simplistic and the characters trite.  I guess the best I could say about this last book – and the whole trilogy – is that it should have been shorter and it should have been marketed as a Young Adult.  As I’ve complained before, the worldbuilding was weak and it could have been its strength.  For example, in this world the ether is, apparently, a mixture of breathable air and some kind of gas, the “Breath”, that allows ships to sail through the air as if it were water.  There are floating land masses and, from the second book, a suggestion that an actual planet lay somewhere below the gas but it was never sufficiently described.  But here’s one confusing example:  two characters are discussing a voyage through the “Breath” but one complains about the smell of the inevitable fish.  Nowhere in the books is there a description of flying fish nor of any actual bodies of water.  The dragon characterizations were also quite poor, they sound and act just like humans.  There was, finally, a resolution – for me – about the series title, “Dragon Corsairs”.  There was no tie-in through the first two books except allusions to the Corsairs in the previous trilogy and Kate’s desire to be part of them.  Finally, in this last book, she was able to be a Dragon Corsair…for about 2 pages, I think.  A tenuous connection, at best.

Overall, a disappointment for this reader.   ~~ Catherine Book

For other titles in this series click here
For other titles by Margaret Weis click here
For other titles by Robert Krammes click here

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