by Steven Brust
Tor, 1998, 288pp, $22.95.
The Vlad Taltos saga continues, though this book fills in an earlier episode in Vlad’s life rather than continue the fairly bleak narrative the later books had gotten to.
Dragon covers Vlad’s early involvement with Morrolan, Aleria and others in the Battle of Barrit’s Tomb which had previously been only alluded to in passing. It explains Vlad’s close connection to Morrolan — one of the greatest Dragon sorcerers.
The story deals with why Dragons (the caste of Dragaeran military leaders) are as they are (Dragaerans are stereotypical of their Houses in the potboiler fantasy tradition; Brust takes a pretty good shot at making it reasonable), and what it’s like to be a foot soldier in one of their armies. (Vlad enlists as a way to sneak up on a target.) The sections with Vlad-the-footsoldier were probably the best and held my attention far better than the magic-and-floating-castles parts.
The series continues to be quite enjoyable, and Brust continues to invent a fascinating society — and Vlad is getting ever more Zelaznian in his wisecracking. It does, however, seem to be lacking the zing of a new series.