Knighthood of the Dragon: Dragonmaster, Book Two
by Chris Bunch
Review by Barry Newton
Roc Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 0451460677
Date: 07 March, 2006 List Price $15.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
A relatively early spell as a P.O.W. slows Hal briefly, but it isn't too much of a spoiler to say that he does escape from the inescapable prison, and survive to fight on for the rest of the story. He remains a most reluctant hero, even as he combats an intractable foe on the ground and amazing incompetence in his command structure. He hones new skills as a courtier and diplomat, in order to recruit new talent into his squadron, only to agonize as they are struck down by the relentless conflicts he leads them through.
Bunch had great fun in this series, developing magical solutions to problems such as carrying heavy bomb loads and finding the enemy that are handled in real life with engineering and gadgetry. I have to say, his concepts have a touch of elegance. He gets results from magicians who are themselves more technicians and journeymen than the master wizards typically found in fantasy.
I had some bad moments when I learned that the author passed away in June of 2005; but there will indeed be a third volume in the trilogy. It seems that this is a U.S. reprint of a series run in Britain as the Storm of Wings Trilogy. Volume three, The Last Battle was printed by Orbit, and will presumably be included in the set here by Roc.
Knowledge of recent European history will add greatly to your enjoyment of this series, though it stands very nicely on its own. I'll try to wait for U.S. publication of the third story, but it won't be easy.