Abraham, Daniel -- The Dragon's Path

The author admits his new series is in the lineal descent of Ice and Fire (and he traces that lineage backwards to Thomas Covenant for one -- the antihero surfacing in Tolkien's wake). So I probably shouldn't have picked up right after 1600-odd pages of Westeros. A few chapters in I was thinking "Okay, sharp-edged medieval riff with some great banter, but it seems pretty stock, all in all." Then I remember that I thought that about Unclean Spirits, and I was wrong; Abraham is good at leading you down the genre path and then levering up the flagstones to show wriggling worms. Here, as well. I'm pretty sure he's running the Great Fantasy Quest Plot from both sides -- starting from when the Dark Lord really was a sympathetic protagonist. (The good and evil sides get more obvious halfway through this volume.) Also, there are scary bankers and decade's best gruff sergeant. If Brandon Sanderson is a guilty pleasure for you, try this.

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