Reviewed by Tori (Vicki)
TITLE: The Dragon’s Tale
SERIES: Arthur Trilogy #2
AUTHOR: Harper Fox
LENGTH: 168 pages
RELEASE DATE: December 21st, 2018
This is Book Two in the Arthur Trilogy. Book One is When First I Met My King, also available on Amazon. Projected release date for Book Three is March 2018.
Lance has finally gained his freedom to join his beloved king. It’s the depth of a northern winter, but his heart and his blood are warm with joy as he sets off to the fort of Din Guardi on the coast, where Arthur is locked in negotiation with the ancient powers of the realm – warlords who could help him defend the whole country against the Saxon invaders, if only he can unite them.
But Lance knows such unity may not be possible – or even for the ultimate good of the kingdom. And although his delight at being with Art is boundless, there are other, darker forces at work in the wild dune lands. A deep and delicate balance has been disturbed, and the fort is under siege by a creature out of legend, a monster that ravages villages and leaves a trail of bodies and burned fields in its wake.
The darkest nights of winter are approaching. Arthur, with unendurable weights to bear on shoulders too young for them, only has Lance to befriend him and shield him from the bitterness of battlefield experience and loss. As their bond grows, Lance must find a way to heal the breach between the old world and the new before it devours the man he loves.
When last we saw Arthur and Lance, they were separated… Arthur invited Lance to leave with him, and be his right hand man, but Lance refused to leave his home unguarded. So Arthur went off to do great things, and Lance stayed to herd sheep and teach himself to read. This continues for a few years, until word reaches Lance that Arthur has been injured and may be dying. Lance barely hesitates before he jumps on the old horse he inherited from Ector, and off he goes. Where he runs in to a blast from his past, who turns out to be helpful.
Eventually Lance catches up with Arthur at the fort of Din Guardi, which is the residence of King Coel. A gathering of Kings is taking place, but with Arthur injured not much is happening. Lance is able to help Arthur get back on his feet, the two have a bit of a reunion, and off we go!
Arthur and Lance get up to some adventures in this book, chasing a dragon, dealing with political issues, and cementing their bond. Merlin makes a couple of appearances, creating a bit of drama, and an expected character makes an appearance in an unexpected way at the end, causing even more drama.
Now I love Arthur and Lance, and I am concerned about how their relationship is going to go in the next book. Harper has been following the basic set of myths involving King Arthur, with the exception of the physical love manifesting between Arthur and Lance, but we all know how this story ends. I am curious to see where she will take this story. I love how she has woven all of this together, sneaking in myths in a way that makes sense. And the bond between Arthur and Lance is wonderful, they compliment each other beautifully. Which is why I’m concerned! I don’t want them messed with….
Anyway. I enjoyed this book, but it’s always hard with the middle book in a trilogy. The first book has the introduction of the characters, the setting of the scene, the building of the drama and plot. The last book has even more drama, the climactic end, and the happy-ever-after. The middle book can be problematic. That happened a bit with this book. There was certainly excitement, but it was just not quite as good as the excitement of the first book. There were new characters introduced, but they were not as interesting as Arthur and Lance, who we met in the first book. There were traditional bits of myth woven in, but not as many, or at least as obviously as in the first book. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like this one, I absolutely did, but just a little bit less than book one. But still, an excellent book, beautiful writing, creative use of an established set of myths, interesting characters, a little bit of physical love, and a realistic historical feeling to it all.
Again I say, this is a story that I totally trust Harper Fox to write. She has done it justice so far, and I am ready to see how she’ll wrap it up in the next book!