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Dragon's Winter
Elizabeth A. Lynn
Ace Books, 341 pages

Duane O. Myers
Dragon's Winter
Elizabeth A. Lynn
Elizabeth A. Lynn won two World Fantasy Awards in 1980 -- for her novel Watchtower and for her short story "The Woman Who Loved the Moon." She is also the author of The Dancers of Arun, The Northern Girl, A Different Light, The Sardonyx Net, and the short fiction collection The Woman Who Loved the Moon and Other Stories. She lives in the San Francisco Bay area, teaches martial arts, and is at work on a sequel to Dragon's Winter.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Dragon's Winter
Elizabeth A. Lynn Tribute Site

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Charlene Brusso

This is Elizabeth Lynn's first novel in 10 years, and it more than proves the two-time World Fantasy Award winner hasn't forgotten how to write a solid, enthralling fantasy story. Ippa is a land where rare bloodlines in certain families lead to changelings, children with the magical ability to shape-change into animals whose form and powers are straight out of totemic legend. The Dragons are the most revered and dangerous of the changelings, and most powerful of these is the Lord Karadur Atani. Ruthless and quick-tempered, Karadur is the elder of twins, a fact that's become more bane than blessings. While Karadur was born a changeling Dragon, his younger brother Tenjiro was not -- a difference which could tear Ippa and her people apart.

Tenjiro hides his bitterness and bides his time. After disappearing from Court for a year to study sorcery in secret, he returns, only to betray Karadur by stealing away the two things he holds most dear: first is the talisman the Dragon needs to take on his changeling form, and second is Karadur's lover and best friend Azil. Cloaked by magic, Tenjiro disappears into the icy mountains to the north. While Karadur struggles to hide his loss and carry on as Lord of the land, his own fear grows. He knows Tenjiro isn't finished yet, and the sudden reappearance over a year later of Azil, sorely injured and near broken in mind as well as spirit, heralds the beginning of Tenjiro's blackhearted war. Even as Karadur prepares for battle, still unable to shape-change, he must worry whether Azil's apparent escape from Tenjiro's clutches isn't also part of his brother's sorcerous trickery. For the friend who betrayed him once before could easily do so again -- might even do so against his will, bespelled and lost to Tenjiro's dire magics.

Matters worsen as Tenjiro uses his magic to summon up demon warriors for a war which may well destroy the land and leave nothing for any of Kojiro's sons to rule. If stubborn Karadur wants to win, he'll need to accept the aid of other shapeshifters, trusting them to keep secret his own inability to transform.

Lynn's story encompasses a broad cast of marvellous characters, from the fated lordly brothers to the various denizens of Karadur's castle, the cousin changelings Wolf, Hawk, and Bear, who fight for him, and the half-mad sorceress Senmet who may know the secret of Tenjiro's power. Throughout the story, Lynn keeps the tension high with the sure knowledge that no one and nothing is safe while Tenjiro still wields power. Though this novel easily stands on its own, publisher Ace reports there's a sequel in the works. You can bet I'm looking forward to it.

Copyright © 1999 Charlene Brusso

Charlene's sixth grade teacher told her she would burn her eyes out before she was 30 if she kept reading and writing so much. Fortunately he was wrong. Her work has also appeared in Aboriginal SF, Amazing Stories, Dark Regions, MZB's Fantasy Magazine, and other genre magazines.

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