marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

The Dragons of Dorcastle

The Dragons of Dorcastle by Jack Campbell

A fantasy/steampunk tale with just a bit pointing toward a far future setting on another planet. . . .

It opens with the Mage Alain -- the youngest Mage in history of his guild -- guarding a caravan alone.  (Normally they send two Mages.)  When it is attacked by unexpectedly powerful bandits, only he and one other survive.  The Master Mechanic Mari.

The Mages and the Mechanics are the two Great Guilds.  Both teach their students that the other guild has no real powers -- when the Mechanics do the machines, and the Mages can, by dint of regarding the world as illusion, alter things mentally.  Surviving first in the wilderness and then in events after teaches them much.

This includes a near accident for a train (which Alain does not mention to his elders that he's traveling on), breaking a lock through combined skills, Mari's teaching Alain what a friend is, Alain's explaining that dragons don't hiss, discussion of a Roc, the secret knowledge of a computing machine's contagion, a prophecy, and much more.

It's the first in a series, though it does round off a clear episode.
Tags: fiction reviews: high fantasy, fiction reviews: steampunk, john hemry/jack campbell

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