Monday, March 08, 2010

The Adamantine Palace - Stephen Deas


The Adamantine Palace
The Memory Of Flames, Book 1
Stephen Deas
Roc

Fantasy

Long ago, dragons were creatures of enormous power and destructive force; creatures to be feared. Then the alchemists discovered a way to tame them. Now royal families raise them and use them as mounts for hunting or making war. The dragons, having been raised by humans from their hatching, remember nothing different. Until a dragon, on its way from one kingdom to another as a royal wedding gift, gets lost. No longer under the influence of the alchemists or their potions, this dragon is able to access a race memory of a time when dragons were free to do as they liked. A time when they were much more than glorified horses.

It’s time to select a new Speaker of the Realms, who will rule from the Adamantine Palace. The speaker is generally chosen by consensus from among the various kings and princes. This time, Prince Jehal is hoping to be selected. He’s spent years plotting and planning his ascension. He has not stopped short of murder to see his dreams fulfilled. His rival is Queen Shezira. Although a woman, she has also spent years contemplating her rise to power.

The fact that this is a debut novel is truly amazing. It has something for every reader of fantasy. There’s power and politics and intrigue; there’s action; there are characters worthy of caring about; and, of course, there are dragons. The story starts out strong with an act of violence, and the pace never flags. The author skillfully moves the action from one kingdom to another, to mercenary “sell-swords” and their part in the maneuvering, and to the wilds where the dragon is slowly becoming conscious of the reality of the state of her race.

This is a highly satisfying tale. While it’s a first installment in a series, and there’s clearly more to come, its large cast of characters and many storylines come to a natural close, and leave this feeling nicely complete as a novel. I’m already looking forward to the next book from this talented author.

Rating: 8
February 2010
ISBN# 978-0-451-46313-5 (hardcover)

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