Twilight of the Dragons by Andy Remic
Please note Twilight of the Dragons is a direct sequel to The Dragon Engine so it is highly likely that this review may contain minor spoilers if you haven’t read that first. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!
During a recent dwarf civil-war deep under the Karamakkos Mountains, the magick-enslaved dragonlords have broken free from centuries of imprisonment and slaughtered tens of thousands throughout the Five Havens before exploding from the mountain and heading in fire and vengeance for the lands of Vagandrak.
Two once-noble war heroes of Vagandrak – Dakeroth and his wife Jonti Tal, an archer and scholar, the Axeman, the White Witch and a Kaalesh combat expert find themselves in a unique position: for they have discovered the ancient dragon city of Wyrmblood, and a thousand unhatched dragon eggs.
Dakeroth and his companions must work with their enemies, Skalg and the Church of Hate, in order to bring down the dragonlords and save the world of men and dwarves. But there is no bartering with these ancient dragons; for they seek to hatch their eggs and rebuild the cruel Wyrmblood Empire of legend.
I’ll begin this review with a warning. Those of you delicate disposition probably don’t want to read any further. Andy Remic novels have a tendency to be bloody, brutal and extremely adult. This book is no exception. Firstly, it contains a bucket loads of bloodletting and violence. I suppose that is to be expected really; there are lots of axes, and what with dragons about, people bound to get bitten in half from time to time. There are also a whole host of swears. Seriously, I’m not joking here, there are a lot. I just wanted to get that out the way before we begin. I don’t want to hear any whiney complaints of people being shocked or offended.
Now that I’ve done my due diligence, and it’s only those of us who relish the chaos and mayhem who remain, we can proceed.
Forget what you may have read elsewhere. All that sentimental brouhaha about the nobility of dragons is utter tosh. Andy Remic puts it as plainly as possible. To paraphrase The Dark Knight – some dragons just want to watch the world burn. Freed from the confines of the dwarven mines, the three dragons, Volak, Kranesh and Moraxx, who were part of The Dragon Engine have taken to the skies. They are intent on reestablishing their bloody reign on the world and reaping their revenge on just about everyone. It is up to our band of motley heroes to try and stop these killing machines from regaining power. Our group’s first task? Stop the dragons from reaching their hatchery in the ancient city of Wyrmblood. Three dragons is bad, hundreds of dragons would be a damn sight worse.
In the aftermath of the events in book one, all of our heroes are broken in one way or another. Dake and Beetrax are both at a particularly low ebb. Everyone has suffered greatly, and the bad news is that things are only going to get worse. These are heroes who have to fight tooth and claw for every victory. Andy Remic never goes easy on his protagonists.
What of the bad guys? Well, there is a new female dwarf character called Crayline Hew, who is a complete and utter sociopath. I liked her immediately. Cardinal Skalg also remains thoroughly loathsome. His part in the narrative veers off on a wholly unexpected tangent, as brilliant as it was unexpected.
I’ll admit to a little whoop of delight when I spotted characters from The Rage of Kings books also pop up in some of the chapters. The Iron Wolves are great fun and I love it when Dek and Narnok are bickering with one another. Drinking, fighting and causing all manner of chaos is always the order of the day whenever the Iron Wolves are concerned.
As some of you have spotted, I like to try and find a complimentary soundtrack to listen to whenever I read a book. In this instance, I think I’ve found an absolute corker. Dragon Age: Inquisition by Trevor Morris lends itself perfectly to Twilight of the Dragons.
There is a visceral rawness to Andy Remic’s work that I have enjoyed for a long time. His heroes and heroines aren’t perfect. They are flawed, but always compelled to try and do what is right. When violence does occur it is never sugar coated or dumbed down, it’s swift and extreme. If that sounds like your idea of literary heaven then I suggest giving this book and its predecessor a try. In fact, you really can’t go wrong with anything this author has written.
Twilight of the Dragons is undeniably brutal and uncompromising, but it is also completely engrossing. I didn’t think it possible but I appear to have been proven wrong. Andy Remic has successfully out Remic’ed himself. Most impressive.
Twilight of the Dragons is published by Angry Robot and is available now.