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Dragon Blood
Patricia Briggs
Ace Books, 275 pages

Jean Pierre Targete
Dragon Blood
Patricia Briggs
Patricia Briggs was born in Butte, Montana in 1965. Her novels include When Demons Walk (1998) Masques (1993), Steal the Dragon (1996), The Hob's Bargain (2001) and Dragon Bones (2002).

Patricia Briggs Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Cindy Lynn Speer

As Tisala makes her escape from the temporary torture chamber set up outside of the city of Estain just for her, she knows the only person she can turn to is Ward, the ruler of Hurog. When she arrives, more dead than alive, Oreg, who is actually a dragon who was once bound to the service of the rulers of Hurog, heals her. Ward has long adored the warrior maiden, even though her politics -- she is a known rebel, supporting the faction who seek to over throw the tyrant Emperor Jakoven -- spell danger for him and his people. This danger becomes even more clear when solders arrive at the keep and demand Ward come with them. He volunteers, knowing that the keep, which is just being rebuilt, will never hold them all at bay.

He is imprisoned at the Asylum, where he is drugged and tortured as they try to break him, hoping to discover the mysterious source of magic that Jade Eyes, the Emperor's favorite, sensed on the journey in. The drugs are part of a far more nefarious plot. Jakoven intends to prove that Ward is insane, and take over the claim to his lands. Soon Ward finds out that Jakoven has recovered an artifact of great power and horror, Farsonsbane. It needs the blood of the Hurog, the blood of the dragon, to work. This knowledge that those he is sworn to protect, those of his own blood, are in peril from the mad Emperor's designs force him to join the rebel cause in earnest.

I like a lot of books. You probably have noticed this. I enjoy reading most of what I'm given. That admitted, I have to say that I truly loved Dragon Blood. I'm not entirely positive why. What aspect is so outstanding that I adored it so much. It could be Ward. He's a big guy, and when he was young his father beat him terribly, so that now he talks very slowly. These two elements making him seem dumb, a trait he used in the past, including the previous book, Dragon Bones. Actually he's intelligent, with a gentle sense of humor laced by the horrors and guilts of his past. He's filled with honor, and a desire to rebuild the keep and take care of his people. He is so incredibly likable that when you read the book -- mostly though his viewpoint -- it's like hanging around with a really neat person you'd love to have as a friend. The other characters (the good guys, at least) all have this sort of warmth to them, that makes you like being around them. I particularly liked Oreg, who is comfortable in either dragon or human form, whose empathy, intelligence and loyalty to Ward (despite the fact that Ward killed him once) are really cool. Tisala also makes a lovely heroine, her bravery and toughness make her admirable, her shyness and self-doubt when it comes to her love for Ward make her likable.

Of course, there's the adventure, too. There's plenty of that, as we journey through the hopelessly dark puts of the Asylum, where the Emperor's younger brother has been put away, and across the wilderness of Shavig. There is fighting, magic, and a good dose of political intrigue.

It goes without saying, I suppose, that I'm looking forward to seeing what else Patricia Briggs does. If Dragon Blood is any indication, then she is an inventive, engaging writer, whose talent for combining magic of all kinds -- from spells to love -- with fantastic characters should certainly win her a huge following, and a place on many book shelves.

Copyright © 2003 Cindy Lynn Speer

Cindy Lynn Speer loves books so much that she's designed most of her life around them, both as a librarian and a writer. Her books aren't due out anywhere soon, but she's trying. You can find her site at

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