||July 11, 2012
If you love books about dragons, this one will appeal to you! Donovan must train teenagers and dragons to help save the planet from destruction by an Institute warship.
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Praise for the trilogy:
“In the best traditions of Anne McCaffrey's fantasy books, "Heirs to the Throne" trilogy walks right on the border between Epic Fantasy and Sci-Fi. On one hand, we have advanced technologies like space travel, cloning, mind transfer to artificially created hosts, to name a few. On the other, we have dragons, people with special abilities who can control minds, talk to animals, heal, or even use "speed time"…This book, this trilogy, actually, falls into the "diamond in the rough" category. With no promotional budget behind the series, it's easy to miss even something this epic. So, pick these books up and spread the word - this is a lot of reading bang for the buck. Recommended.” Oleg Medvedkov, Author
When an Institute battleship threatens to destroy the planet, Donovan must wage war without modern weaponry. Before the Zebulon crew escaped from Institute-controlled space twenty years ago, Dr. Alexander deleted crucial records about Transfer from Institute files and hoped they could vanish before the Institute discovered the sabotage. He was wrong! Humiliated by the exodus of the scientists, Fremont won’t rest until he extracts the ultimate revenge.
Donovan must train new recruits to operate forbidden technology and bored teenagers look like perfect candidates. Is there enough time for feudal lordlings to learn space-age skills and save the planet? In the meantime desert riders target Jarrack’s daughter, Shariel, who inherited his power of mind control. Afraid of becoming evil like her father, she needs to perfect the skill to help her siblings escape from a desert prison.
The royal princesses face other predicaments. Lauryn travels to a desert stronghold to halt a dangerous radiation leak and falls prey to Salizar, a desert rider eager to marry a princess. Tessa and the wolves capture Jarrack, whose mind dwells inside a vulnerable young son. Can they keep him contained? Brandon, a spoiled lordling wants Felesia as his bride and plots to shanghai Jordan.
Wild dragons join humans to rescue Shariel. The dragons enjoy giving rides to humans, but will they agree to fight for their new friends? As the clock ticks toward an explosive deadline, humans, dragons, and wolves execute a dramatic confrontation. Courage and ingenuity are the best weapons to prevent disaster and forge a new direction for the backward society. Will Donovan’s “dragon defense” strategy tip the balance in Drako’s favor? Their very survival depends on its success.
The sunrise illuminated a peculiar object that dangled below a large dragon. As the boat flew across the sky, superstitious villagers dashed into their mountain huts to escape the dreadful sight. The flock of dragons disappeared behind a mountain before people in Asbohar took notice.
Blaze carried the small red boat proudly in his talons as Felesia rode on his back. Swirls of red, gold, and blue moved across his billowing wings as the dragon squadron formed a large V across the sky. When Blaze reached the balcony filled with humans, his eyes swirled with concern, but Felesia sent him comforting mental messages.
From inside the boat Brandon shouted and people retreated behind the door. The balcony barely seemed large enough, but Blaze lowered his burden and opened his talons. A gust of wind lifted his body away from jagged sandstone rocks overhead and children peeking out from behind the door gasped. The dragon crowed to his flock and circled overhead.
When Brandon stepped from the boat onto the balcony, he felt immense relief to be away from those talons. He turned as children rushed through the door and caught his breath. A stunning vision of lithe beauty stood before him with bronze rays of sunrise shimmering across jet-black hair and ivory skin. Her ebony eyes threatened to capture his soul as they held his gaze.
The diamond in the rough of epic storytelling
In the best traditions of Anne McCaffrey's fantasy books, "Heirs to the Throne" trilogy walks right on the border between Epic Fantasy and Sci-Fi. On one hand, we have advanced technologies like space travel, cloning, mind transfer to artificially created hosts, to name a few. On the other, we have dragons, people with special abilities who can control minds, talk to animals, heal, or even use "speed time" - if you ever seen a "bullet time" in a computer game, that's how it looks like.
Planet Drako is shared by a race of intelligent, telepathic "wolves" and descendants of human colonists. Humans have abandoned advanced technology long ago and their society is that of an early medieval level. There's quite a variety of sociological archetypes here: desert riders ruled by sheiks, samurai warrior class (female samurai are the only foe the desert riders truly fear), European-style lords with somewhat decentralized monarchy, Merchant, Warrior, Seafarer's Guilds, and more. Different customs and traditions, reinforced by the lack of centralized governance, create some interesting possibilities for power struggles and uneasy alliances that make a surprising, if disturbing spectacle for the native inhabitants of the planet.
Earlier books describe the arrival of starship "Zebulon" to Drako, rise of King Donovan to power, his struggle with Jarrack, originally an assassin from the "Institute," an organization that originated the mind transfer, and who, due to his mind-control ability, has become a dangerous power after arriving on the planet. A lot happens in two previous volumes, so instead of giving too many spoilers, I'd recommend you start from the book one and work your way up. This book continues the saga and tells the stories, mostly of the second generation protagonists: Donavan's children, who had three daughters, each one with special abilities; and Jarrack's descendants, some of whom have inherited his mind-control powers.
The story starts with Shariel, daughter of Jarrack, being targeted by a desert rider for abduction. Shariel has been raised away from her mother by aunt Bess. Then we move to Kriegen, the "wolf" native, who is appearing in front of the Council of Elders to make his case as a defender of the "Human Pack". A short flash to the "Institute," to give us some idea as to why Dr. Alexander is so pivotal to the plot and we are at the King Donavan's court, where hopeful lords present their sons to the crown, or more precisely, to the princesses. We consult with the ancestral spirits of the wolf people and run the forest with them, we make friends with the wild dragons and discover the reason they attack sailing ships, we attend a grand ball, we rescue captive children, and that's just the beginning of the story.
The narrative is very complex; many different characters make an appearance and move the overall storyline forward. The structure of the storytelling reminds me somewhat of George R. R. Martin's but in a good way - there's no offing the characters right when we have just begun to like them. This book, this trilogy, actually, falls into the "diamond in the rough" category. With no promotional budget behind the series, it's easy to miss even something this epic. So, pick these books up and spread the word - this is a lot of reading bang for the buck. Recommended. Oleg Medvedkov
Dragon Defense: Perfect End for the Trilogy
Fantastic friendly dragons, telepathic wolves and humans, a space ship crew bent on destroying the planet, and a feudal system under reform by "spacers" from Earth who make the planet Drako their second home. What more could a reader want? Diane Rapp's imagination appears boundless and her ability to bring a story to life is impressive. I enjoyed this third installment of the Drako adventure as much as the first two novels in the Heirs to the Throne series.
Dragon Defense is a delightful completely unique fantasy blended with science fiction. King Donovan and Queen Krystal, along with their three exceptional cloned daughters and an extensive cast of interesting well developed characters attempt to overthrow Jarrack, a dangerous madman bent on using mind control to extend his life and rule Drako. At the same time, an Institute space ship commanded by a dangerous spy approaches the planet with the intent of revenge and planetary destruction. All the while, romance blossoms for the King's daughters who use their considerable talents to help free Jarrack's children from their desert prison, search out and repair a dangerous radiation leak, and train teenagers and dragons to form a strange air force defense system.
The story is complex and thought provoking. The plots and subplots weave threads of space travel, life extension and cloning, mind control, telepathic communication with animals, and evolving social structure into a fascinating tapestry. As the tale winds to an exciting and suspenseful conclusion, the humans, dragons, and wolves must join forces to defend the planet using cooperation and ingenuity, since most of the planet's previous technology has been abandoned and outlawed.
The rich descriptions of Drako and its inhabitants transport the reader to another place and time. Diane does a marvelous job describing the beautiful intelligent dragons and the experience of humans who fly on their backs and once again, the wise telepathic wolves play a central role in helping the humans overcome Jarrack's treachery. I recommend this unique and very intelligent book for readers who like adventure, romance, science fiction, or fantasy. It's all in there! Arleen Alleman
A masterfully written blend of fantasy & science fiction!
How can an author skillfully and intelligently weave a story of interest about a planet inhabited by wise telepathic wolves, dragons who communicate via colors and humans whose social structure mimics feudal eras? I had to find out. Diane Rapp has masterfully woven a magnificent blend of fantasy and science fiction genres within this new novel in her series, HEIRS TO THE THRONE. Although third in the series, DRAGON DEFENSE is written with integrity and can stand splendidly on its own merits. The human, wolf and dragon characters' talents and interactions in their varied locales on Planet Drako are expertly integrated.
Aside from her fantastically clever ideas involving life extension, cloning, mind control, telepathy and high-tech technology, I was fascinated by Diane Rapp's skill at integrating common themes into the story and the wisdom conveyed between wolf and human characters. Her script is so marvelously intricate in its design. Many of the young humans must rely on the wisdom of their elders as well as the wisdom of the wolves and skills of the dragons in order for the planet to survive. Planet Drako is under a feudal system of law yet King Donovan and his independent, intelligent wife, Queen Krystal are subtly working to influence feudal lords to institute a more democratic form of rule. Their 3 cloned teenage daughters are a handful yet each has special talents relating to healing, `hosting' the minds of wolves and `mind-melding' with the dragons. Diane Rapp delighted me with the parts of the script related to relationship issues, especially the dialogues between these princesses and their suitors.
Revenge, greed and power are central themes. Desert riders fear all technology and guard their god's shrine, an old nuclear reactor that is leaking radiation, putting Drako at risk. The scenes related to the more forward-thinking characters finding a way around these fears is quite clever. Out in space is an Institute spaceship intent on revenge and on recovering material necessary to extend the lives of the rich back on Earth. Jarrack, a madman on Drako who uses mind control to extend his life, holds his many children captive to serve this purpose. The juggling act necessary to handle each danger is masterfully written.
What are the roles of the dragons? You are going to have to read the book! I will simply say that, like the entire cast of characters, human and animal, the dragons' roles are fantastical! Although I read mostly novels in other genres, dragon stories have always captured my attention. Anne McCaffrey's novels in her Dragonriders of Pern series are still favorites. DRAGON DEFENSE now sits on my shelf along with the Pern series. The pace of the story was energetic and so entertaining that I wanted to rush through each chapter to its end. The intelligent thought invoked by the themes in this novel, however, compelled me to slow my pace, savoring each scene. Doreen E. Cox "Dody"
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