The Dinosaur Knights (The Dinosaur Lords)
by Victor Milán
Cover Artist: Richard Anderson
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Tor Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765332974
Date: 05 July 2016 List Price $26.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Despite its name, Paradise has problems. The growing human population is about to be culled by a new Grey Angel Crusade. The crusade is not as simple as might be imagined. Just as humanity is divided with different goals, so are the Grey Angels. There are also more than just two sides.
Karyl Bogomirskiy is considered to be a great commander. He suffered a great loss and should have died, but he still has a role to play and is saved. Now he prepares an army to protect the followers of a peaceful faith from an emperor's crusades. He has at his side the man who arranged the tactic which lead to his greatest defeat, a dinosaur master named Rob Korrigan.
Rob is a singer and rogue as well as a master of dinosaurs. He idolizes Karyl, but is concerned about the people who employ them. They have been betrayed by the local lords before and worse lurks. He finds love and sadness but must find a way to keep it together as the greatest danger arises.
Fleeing from the man who imprisoned and raped her, Princess Melodía and her friend seek sanctuary in the region under Karyl's protection. She does not trust Karyl as he was on the opposite side of the battle of her beloved Jaume. Despite all that happens to her, she is still naïve. Her actions put her as well as those who believe in her at great risk. She must overcome her failures to lead others to safety.
Jaume is the head of the crusade, but he does not approve of all of his troops and followers. Their actions create greater discord and are against the core beliefs of Jaume's religion. He continues to lead because he is the Empire's best hope against the risen Grey Angel Crusade.
Duke Falk is a schemer and riser following his mother's schemes. He is also the man who raped Melodía. If the Princess survives, his position could be at risk. He has the ear of the Emperor, but he isn't the only one. A mysterious adviser also has an ear and influence.
This is the sequel to The Dinosaur Lords. The medieval world is kept that way by outside influences which use occasional crusades to reduce population and stymie technological growth. The main feature of the world is the use of various dinosaurs as tools of war and work. Just as horses can be weapons as well as mounts, dinosaurs take weaponry to a new level. This is an interesting twist on warfare. Each chapter has a note on the various dinosaurs or history which adds context to the novel. As a sequel, it is better to start with the first novel.
The charge of cavalry is said to be a daunting thing for foot soldiers. Imagine something 10 to 20 times larger with tougher skin that may be willing to eat you as well. Those images are built into this story and it makes it all the better.
There is a lot of scheming and plotting in this world. I can't say I love every character. At times I think a few characters have too much plot armor, but author Milán has created a detailed compelling world. There is a lot more story to come and I look forward to continued revelations.