Book Review – The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams

My review of The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams

The Dragonbone Chair chronicles the coming of age of Simon of Hayholt; from scullion boy, to sorcerer’s apprentice and beyond.  The book is broken into three story arch’s: Simon Mooncalf, Simon Pilgrim and Simon Snowlock.  The story encompasses the peoples of Ostren Ard and the return of one of the elf-like Sithi, the Storm King, one time Prince over the land, driven to madness by the destruction and greed of humans.

A quote from the Qanuc people of Ostren Ard regarding assumptions, “Welcome stranger. The paths are treacherous today”. Make no assumptions and I will lead to new understanding.

The path from boyhood to manhood is a perilous time for all young men, but never more so than for the kitchen boy Simon.  Orphaned, Simon is watched over by Rachel ‘the Dragon’, Mistress of the Chambermaids.  Rachel knows Simon would rather be mooning about the castle, avoiding work and dreaming of adventure, and heroic deeds.  Unable to contend with the imaginings of a young boy, Simon is apprenticed to Morgenes, the castle Sorcerer and member of a secret group, the League of the Scroll.  The League are keepers of long forgotten secrets and possibility the destiny of the land it self.  When the old King John Presbyter dies, his first son Elias is crowned King, setting of a chain of events that will force a King to forge dark deeds with beings of hate and malice.  The ramifications of which see a good man die for his friends, Prince Josua the second son of the dead King flee into the night, and a boy to crawl from darkness and madness to wander through the wilderness, the keeper of a Kings secret.

Alone, cold and hungry Simon journeys by foot towards Prince Jousa and his stronghold at Naglimund.  A ragged and starved Simon becomes the reluctant hero, coming to the aid of a trapped Sithi Prince.  Gifted with a White Arrow as repayment, Simon is also befriended by a traveling Troll named Binabik and his wolf mount Qantaq.  Binabik explains to Simon that the arrow represents a debt that is now owed to Simon.

Pursued by the Kings hunters, Simon and Binabik come to the aid of two travelers, Malachias & Leleth. Harboring secrets of there own and stalked by the new King, the group flee deep into the forest.  Cornered and without hope, help arrives in the guise of Geloe the Witch, a member of League. Secrets are revealed and new relationship are formed until together the group wounded and depleted find sanctuary with Prince Josua at Naglimund.

Recovering for there harrying journey Simon and Binabik with the aid of the last remaining members of the League of the Scroll disclose to Prince Josua the secret of the Swords of Power and there importance in the up coming battle with the Storm King and King Elias. With battle lines drawn, a desperate plan is but into motion and a resolute band of explorers set out in search of a Sword of Power.  Hunted once more, the group are attacked and only narrowed escape due to the help from an unexpected ally.  Together allies old and new set out against winters cold bite in search of the resting place of the Sword of Power.

Dragons will arise, friends will fall and all will be marked, no more than Simon, “You have been marked Soeman… for better or worse you have been marked.”.

The Story will continue in the Stone of Farewell…


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