Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Pages: 555
Date: 14/06/2011
Grade: 4+
Details: The Dagger and the Coin: Book One
            Received from and reviewed for Bookgeeks

In the prologue of The Dragon’s Path a young apostate runs away from a remote religious community in the sure knowledge that if those following catch him, he will be killed. Through sheer determination and some luck he manages to make it to the safety of a town, uncertain of what he will find there or how he’ll cope with it, while carrying his secrets very close to his heart. And that is the last we hear about the apostate until the last chapter of the book, or is it?
The main story revolves primarily around three characters, Marcus the famous warrior now tired of the fighting, Cithrin, a young orphan raised by a bank and Geder, the only son from a minor noble house more interested in philosophy then fighting but forced by his position in to the latter.
When it appears Vanai, the city where Cithrin has grown up, is under threat from an invasion force, the banker who raised her decides to send her and most of his bank’s possessions away with the last trade caravan leaving. With Cithrin disguised as a boy and the goods as produce of little value, the hope is that the girl will be able to bring the bank’s valuables to its head-office.
Marcus is recognised as a hero. But after a devastating loss his fighting days are behind him and he prefers to guard the last caravan leaving Vanai over staying behind to join the forces facing the invading army. He hires a troupe of actors, led by Master Kit, to pretend to be guards.
Geder is part of the forces invading Vanai. He is not a natural soldier and looked upon as strange and not too bright by those around him. But, he will end up playing a major role, not only in Vanai’s ultimate fate, but also in the events that follow.
All three of them are pawns in a game that will lead the lands towards The Dragon’s Path – the path of war.

I really enjoyed this book. I think this is probably fantasy at its best. It has all the fantastical elements a reader would expect; strange countries populated by human-like, but not quite human as we know it, creatures, the threat of conflict and supernatural powers. However, this book is much more. The emphasis in this story is very much on political intrigue, the power of money and those who wield it, corruption and the dangers of religion. And those elements made this a fascinating read.
The main characters in this story came alive for me as the story progressed. There are no purely good and purely bad caricatures in this story, but rather realistic, fleshed out individuals with their good points and their bad, with the best intentions but not always the right way of going about it.
In many ways this book appears to be setting the stage for more to come, but that doesn’t take away from the satisfaction the reader gets from the story. It does make this reader rather eager to read further instalments though.

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