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The Dragon's Doom: A Band of Four Novel    by Ed Greenwood order for
Dragon's Doom
by Ed Greenwood
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2003 (2003)
*   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

You really should read the earlier entries before picking up #4 in the Band of Four series, The Dragon's Doom. It is set in a lawless land called Aglirta, whose barons are constantly at war. In previous episodes, boy king Raulin Castlecloaks was crowned and the Serpent defeated.

Now the king's four overdukes 'scour the countryside for barons and wizards who took arms against him'. The four are: sharp-tongued sorceress Tshamarra Talasorn paired with thief Craer Delnbone, and sorceress 'Lady of Jewels' Embra Silvertree (who wields a potently magical Dwaer-stone) with her partner, the 'gentle giant' Hawkril Anharu. Accompanying them is Embra's long estranged father, warcaptain Baron Blackgult.

The story opens with their imprisonment of the powerful 'Master of Bats', and then steamrollers from one explosive action sequence to another, with a little banter in between. Reading it is rather like being in the middle of an imaginative game of Dungeons & Dragons, though the plot is at times elusive.

The bad guys, priests of the Serpent seem to be trying to re-establish their power, and have unleashed an assortment of monsters, including a 'Malady of Madness' (that makes those who imbibe it turn on each other), shapechangers and a three-headed dragon. Other players include the wizardly Bowdragons of neighboring Arlund, whose fate has long been tied to Aglirta, bard Flaeros Delcamper, and the young king himself.

Amongst the chaos of continual skirmishes between the Four and an assortment of monsters and villains, Embra reconciles with her father and a new leader of the Serpent priests arises. A Dragon is revealed to match him and to meet his own doom. If you like an action-packed tale with plenty of sword swinging and spell casting, then you'll enjoy this series.

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