“The Five Kingdoms” by Michael Enzweiler
Patricia Briggs has written the Hurog duology. As you might have surmised from this blog she is quite a prolific writer. Her books fall into the light entertainment category. The Hurog duology’s version of the Briggsian world-creation is placed in a world reeking of the middle-ages with all of its dragons, shape-changers, magicians and various other people.
I absolutely loved the Danish covers. Wow, what a cool dragon. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an interpretation like that. And it fits with the dragon of the story. This is probably one of the better stories that Briggs has written. Ward is a wonderful character, caught in his own trap, yet never quite giving up hope.
DRAGON BONES (2002)
Danish cover by Bent Holm
Dragon Bones is a stand-alone novel. Its main character is Ward, heir to Hurog. What you need to know about Ward is that his dad was, to put it mildly, a monster. Child-, spouse and animal-abuse were his main hobbies. Until he had managed to damage Ward enough to affect his thinking, he saw Ward as his rival. So when he dies at the beginning of the book, it would be fair to say that Ward did not feel like grieving.
Unfortunately for Ward, the damage done to him had enabled him to pretend to be quite dense. Undoing other people’s perception of himself turns out to be more difficult than Ward would like. Discovering a damsel in distress and the secret of Hurog both play a part in enabling Ward to figure out how to show himself as someone to be trusted. This brings the king’s attention to the Hurog family, driven by his paranoia of the world being against him.
Ward comes across as a believable character. He clearly struggles with the long-term effects of his childhood. But in learning about Hurog’s very secret secret and some truths about the people around him, Ward manages to feel less alone in his struggles. One of the first things Ward must do in getting people to take him seriously is to prove himself a warrior, taking him and a small group accross the kingdom.
The story is told in first-person, through the eyes of Ward. This is part of what makes Ward such a real person, but it also shows us the world around him through his experiences. The people around him are clearly filtered through the life of Ward, making us care more for him and for the people around him. Dragon Bones is quite an enjoyable introduction to the world of Ward of Hurog.
DRAGON BLOOD (2002)
Danish cover by Bent Holm
While Dragon Bones is a stand-alone story, Dragon Blood depends on the reader having some knowledge of the world. It continues the story of Ward, and in this case Tisala the rebel, and love of Ward. Neither book is a romance, something I quite enjoy. I’m weird like that. For some reason I both dislike romance in books and yet really enjoy it at times. Romance done the Hurog way is great.
The beginning of Dragon Blood is quite brutal. We come upon Tisala while she is being tortured for information about the rebellion that has been realized in the wake of Ward’s exploits in Dragon Bones. She escapes and runs to Hurog. This implicates Ward in the mind of the king and the king demands that Ward be committed for mental illness. All of this comes on top of Ward having to prove himself politically able to his little kingdom. One might say that Ward’s life has a bit more excitement than is good for a person’s health.
Hurog means dragon, and dragons are showing up on the door-steps of the kingdom once more. Dragons have played an important part in the whole kingdom’s past history, not only Hurog’s. Thankfully neither book is very graphic, enabling them to be read by a younger audience (not too young). Neither violence nor romance is explicit. Upon finishing the Hurog duology, I was left with a sense of wanting more.
p>Dragon Bones and Dragon Blood are available as audiobook.