Blood of Dragons (Rain Wilds Chronicles, Book 4)
by Robin Hobb
Cover Artist: Jackie Morris
Review by Mel Jacob
Harper Voyager Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780062116857
Date: 09 April 2013 List Price $27.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Blood of Dragons is the fourth of Robin Hobb's Rain Wilds Chronicles. The reader will find many familiar characters as the dragons grow and develop along with their keepers. As the dragons mature, relationships change. The mutant humans also grow and take on new roles. Having reached Kelsingra and grown to maturity, the dragons must have Silver.
Silver, a liquid, not the metal ore, has mystical properties the dragons need. Kelsingra, the legendary home of the dragons, once had plentiful supplies, but the dragons remember little about it. The keepers explore the city seeking it, but using the memories left in the stones of the city poses danger. They can become lost in those memories and fade into the personas of now dead Elderlings. Too, Silver is toxic to humans.
The Duke of Chalced is dying and he believes only dragon blood can save him. He sends followers to seek it with dire threats to their families if they fail. So far, none has succeeded, but spies and conspiracies are rife in the Rain Wilds. His henchmen have located a 'dragon man', Selden Vestrit, actually the dragon Tintaglia's poet and an Elderling. The Duke begins to feed on his blood and believes it improves his health.
Meanwhile, the Chalcedeans badly wound the Queen dragon, Tintaglia, mother of the young dragons. She must have Silver to survive. She struggles alone to reach Kelsingra, chased by Chalcedeans and others who hunt her for her blood. Tintaglia's struggle and the humanity of the dragon Kalo form high points in the complex narrative.
Hobb excels at world building, wonderful prose, and the ability to endow her creatures with humanity. To understand this novel fully, readers should be familiar with at least one of the preceding novels. The novel has many threads skillfully interwoven, to create an exciting tale of growth, change, and stubborn survival. While this novel appears to be the concluding volume of the Rain Wilds Chronicles, the Elderings and dragons remaining in Chalced and the implications of a relationship between Selden and Chassim, the new Duchess of Chalced, provide options for more novels on the dragons and their human caretakers.