"Successfully mixes swords, sorcery, and skullduggery with complex characters. Dumas fans will especially appreciate the faux-French setting. This is pure adventure fun with plenty for epic fantasy readers to enjoy.”Publishers Weekly
In his magnificent, heroic, adventure fantasy, Dragonslayer, Duncan M. Hamilton debuts the first book in a fast-moving trilogy: a dangerous tale of lost magics, unlikely heroes, and reawakened dragons.
With the dragons believed dead, the kingdom had no more need for dragonslayers.
Drunk, disgraced, and all but forgotten, Guillot has long since left his days of heroism behind him.
As forgotten places are disturbed in the quest for power, and things long dormant awaken, the kingdom finds itself in need of a dragonslayer once again, and Guillot is the only one left...
"Charming [and] entertaining. Recommended for fans of dragons and medieval settings.”Library Journal
The Dragonslayer Trilogy:
2. Knight of the Silver Circle
3. Servant of the Crown
About the Author
Duncan M. Hamilton holds Master's Degrees in History and Law, and has practiced as a barrister. He lives in Ireland, near the sea. Hamilton’s debut novel, The Tattered Banner, first of the Society of the Sword trilogy, was named one of BuzzFeed's 12 Greatest Fantasy Books Of The Year in 2013. That book was followed by The Huntsman’s Amulet and The Telastrian Song, and by Wolf of the North, a Norse-inspired fantasy trilogy.
Read an Excerpt
Brother Poncet crouched on the scree-covered mountain slope clutching his cream robe about himself, and watched his comrade, Brother Ambrose inch into the pitch dark cavern before them. He remained a few paces behind, still out in the sunlight, although at that altitude it did little to warm him. Up that high, it was always cold, even in the summer.
Brother Ambrose lifted his small magelamp up to the darkness. The glowing sphere was caged in a mirrored housing, so all of its power was directed into the blackness before him. The light reached in, but not far enough to fall on any surface.
"See anything?" Poncet said, his breath misting on the air before him.
"Nothing," Ambrose said, scratching his thick black hair. "Just darkness. Hellloooooooo!"
The sound of his voice bounced around in the abyss, repeated time after time.
"You shouldn't do that," Poncet said. It was his first mission, and he was determined not to see it go wrong through foolishness. Ambrose didn't seem to have the same concern.
"You never know what's in there."
Ambrose laughed. "Afraid we'll get savaged by a mountain goat?"
"No." He thought for a moment, realising his comment was born from a fear of the dark, the unknown. Something children were supposed to be afraid of — not a brother of the Order of the Golden Spur. Finally, he came up with something worthy. "A belek, perhaps."
"It's summer. Even up this high, it isn't cold enough for them. They stay where the snow is. Commander Leverre told us so."
Poncet noticed that all the mirth had left Ambrose's voice, even if he did still sound confident. Only a fool took belek for granted. "Ever seen one?"
"Once, when I was young," Ambrose said. "The Duke of Trelain used to hunt them every winter. Sometimes the King would travel west to join him. They rarely found any, but I remember one year they did, and killed it. Not before it had killed half a dozen huntsmen and the Count of Dreville, though. They paraded its body through the streets of Trelain. Like a cat, it was, but the size of a bear. Fur the colour of steel and fangs as long as your forearm."
Even with all of his training, Poncet didn't like the idea of meeting one. He wondered if it made him a coward, or if experience would ease his fear of such things — if each mission he did would bring him closer to the calm confidence of Commander Leverre.
"We'll have to go in for a closer look," Poncet said.
"It's probably just another dead end."
"Probably, but Brother-Commander Leverre said it's close. We need to search every corner."
Ambrose sighed. "We could search these mountains for a lifetime, and not find anything. We don't even know what we're looking for."
"The Commander does. It's not for us to question our superiors. We simply do what we're told. I want to be back by the fire as much as you do."
"What we're told," Ambrose said. "We'll need more light for starters. The cavern looks big, we'll be quicker if we send back to camp for the others."
"Should we bother them?"
"You said yourself that Commander Leverre thinks we're close. Every hole we look into now might be the spot. Need to be thorough."
Poncet nodded. "I suppose I have to go?"
"It's your turn."
Poncet bundled his robe up around his knees and started down the rocky slope, careful not to get his sword tangled between his legs. As hard a scramble up and down the mountainside to the cave as it was, he was glad they would have strength in numbers for the search. Gladder still that Brother-Commander Leverre would be taking charge.
* * *
Brother-Commander Leverre stared into the cavern's pitch black maw, giving his eyes time to adjust. However, the darkness was complete, and did not allow him a glimpse of what lay within. Darkness such as that in a remote, wild place was always unsettling, but there was something he could do about that.
He closed his useless eyes and held out his hand. He ignored the shuffling and muttering of his subordinates, instead focussing his mind entirely on his task. He could feel a tingle start on the skin of his hand which spread over his entire body. He smiled at the familiar and welcome sensation, then felt something else — a dense concentration of magical energy. The Fount, and far more intense than he had ever encountered before. It was just as the Prince Bishop had described. This had to be what he was looking for. When he opened his eyes, he could see the bare skin of his hand glow with an ethereal blue light for a moment before it disappeared. He wondered if the feeling of exhilaration he experienced every time he used magic would ever leave him. Considering how long he had been at it, he doubted it.
"I don't know if we've found it," he said, "but there's definitely something here." He could see the look of relief in the faces of his people. They had been searching the mountains for weeks, and it had taken its toll on them all. The thought that their search might be over excited even him — not just at the prospect of going home, but in what success at this task would mean for his career.
Leverre pointed his finger into the cavern, and focussed. A stone's throw in front of him, a glowing orb formed, casting light on rock that had likely never felt its touch before. He repeated the process a half dozen times until all parts of the cavern in view were illuminated. He admired his handiwork and enjoyed the impressed sounds his people made. Creating a magical light was a simple enough thing, but to cast it at a distance, and so many times in a row, spoke to the great skill of the caster. None of them were nearly powerful enough to achieve such a feat. Nonetheless, he could feel the strain it had placed on his body and knew he would need a few moments to recuperate.
"Begin the search," he said, concealing his fatigue so as to maintain the aura of power his subordinates believed he possessed. He remained still as the dozen sergeants, corporals, brothers and sisters made their way past him and into the cavern.
Only the two sergeants were able to wield magic with any worthwhile power. The rest would be able to detect the object they were looking for if they got close enough, but most would need another five or six years of training and experience before they would be able to do anything useful. Despite that, they were among the best the Order had. They would improve, but it was the next generation from whom the true rewards would be reaped. Such a slow process was frustrating, but even if the progress was slow, the gains were always worthwhile.
* * *
Alpheratz opened one of his eyes and shut it immediately. The light cut through him like a lance and startled his already befuddled mind. It took him a moment to regain control of his thoughts. He tried to open both eyes, slowly this time, cautiously accustoming himself to the light.
Throughout the process, which seemed to take an age, he was careful to remain perfectly still. The part of his mind that sought survival over all else was still in control and it screamed danger. When Alpheratz finally opened his eyes completely, he could see there was something odd about the light. It was not how he remembered light to be — an intricate tapestry woven of infinite colours. This was flatter, less interesting. There was no depth or beauty to it. It was then he realised he was not alone. He took a deep breath and listened. Somewhere, the sound of water dripping into a pool echoed through the chambers of the cave. It was joined by scratching, shuffling, and another sound — the voices of men.
That caused his heart to quicken. How long had he slept? What had woken him? He fought through his confusion, trying to remember what had been happening before he slept. There had been men then, too. Might these be the same ones? There was energy in the cavern, energy spilling from clumsy, unskilled magic, enough to invigorate his stiff muscles. He took another deep breath and stretched his limbs. His sinews popped with each movement and he feared that he would be heard. He paused and listened once more. There did not seem to be any reaction.
He stood, wavering. The magic in the cavern could only do so much to restore him; Alpheratz felt weak, weaker than he had ever known. If the men were here for him, he feared they might be able to best him. The thought of hiding in the hope that they might not notice him was tempting, but an orb of light appeared in his alcove and he knew his decision had been forced. He shook his head in distaste at the clumsiness of the magic used to make the light, but was grateful all the same — the person who cast it was not powerful and was unlikely to trouble him too much. The orb was close enough to liberally spill energy into its surrounds. Enough that Alpheratz was able to heat his flame glands.
* * *
Brother Ambrose carefully navigated the rocky outcrop. Its edges were sharp, the cavern floor uneven, and everything was damp and cold. A slip and fall could easily result in a cracked skull, and not even Commander Leverre had the power to mend that. He reached out with his mind to survey the area before him for the object. He felt frustrated by how little he had been told about it — an object, magical, you'll know it when you find it. How does one find something without knowing what it is? However, as he was constantly told by his instructors, it was not his to question why. Accept, have faith, open your mind — these were the only answers they ever gave him.
His heart jumped when he felt something unlike anything he had felt before — different even to the first time he had managed to open his mind to the Fount, and felt its boundless energy all around him. He was filled with excitement at the prospect that he might have found what they were looking for, what the Prince Bishop so desperately wanted.
He stumbled toward it, toward the edge of the light provided by Commander Leverre's magic. Two great, glassy orbs appeared before him, their brilliant emerald green reflecting the meagre light. It took Ambrose a moment to realise that this could not be what he sought, and another to realise that the orbs were far too large to be a belek's eyes. By the time he screamed, the first tendrils of flame were already rushing toward him.
* * *
There was little left of the man by the time Alpheratz drew back his breath, but still enough to momentarily quell the rumbling in his stomach. Unlike some of the others, he had never developed a taste for humankind. Too stringy, too bitter, but in a bind it would do, and Alpheratz could not remember having ever been so hungry. He could feel the effect of the warm meal immediately as some of his strength returned. He needed a proper feed if he was to fully restore himself, and unless his ears deceived him, there were several more people in the cave. They would have to do until he was able to reach something he would actually like.
Alpheratz stood, legs protesting, and started forward. His cavern looked to be in a sad state of neglect and he too, looked worse for wear. His once lustrous scales were covered in moss, mildew, and grime. It worried him to think of how long he must have slept, and wondered what the others must think of his long absence.
Rounding an outcrop that led out to the front chamber, he found a man standing before him, staring, frozen in terror. Men had always feared dragons, but Alpheratz had never seen a reaction so pronounced. He chuckled as he squirted a jet of flame at the man, turning him into a pillar of fire long enough to burn off the cream robes he wore before swallowing him whole.
There were more dotted around the cavern, shuffling about in the dark spots as though they were looking for something. Vicious little pests; Alpheratz didn't hesitate in slaughtering them. Their frailty came as a surprise, however. The last humans he had faced had been formidable indeed. He now remembered returning to his cavern, badly wounded. He'd crawled to the back of the cavern and collapsed, exhausted, needing time to recuperate. The question of how long still bothered him.
He killed the last of the humans and forced them down, his stomach now protesting at the excess of food, rather than the lack of it. He walked to the cavern mouth and lay down, looking out over the land before him. Farther down the slope, he could see one of the little cream-robed vermin running and tumbling downhill in his effort to get away as fast as he could. Alpheratz considered going after him, but didn't think it worth the effort. He had cleared the vermin from his home, and had eaten more than enough. He needed to rest, and digest, then he would visit the other peaks and find his kin.
He rested his head on the cavern lip and surveyed what was once his domain and wondered if a young dragon had come and claimed it during Alpheratz's slumber. It looked little different but felt a great deal so. He could taste the magic on the air as he breathed. It was so strong — stronger than he had ever experienced. Mankind had sucked so much magic out of the world with their brutish efforts to use it, but now it was returned in full blossom. As he drifted off to sleep, he dwelled on that comforting thought, pushing away the disturbing ones that threatened to keep him awake.CHAPTER 2
Guillot sat at his usual spot at the end of the small bar in the only tavern in Villerauvais. It was quiet at that time of the day — he was the only patron. Everyone else from the village and the surrounds was still at work, either in the fields or one of the town's few small businesses.
His spot afforded him the succour of the back wall of the pokey little room when he became too drunk to sit upright any longer, which occurred at some point most evenings. Usually the tavern keeper, Jeanne — former wife of the long deceased previous owner — left him be, only interacting with Guillot when it came time to refill his glass. Today, however, she seemed to be reluctant to do so, and had remained absent from the bar since his arrival.
He cleared his throat and rapped a knuckle on the bar. He was without doubt her best customer — often her only customer — and seeing as he always paid his way, he expected more. That was not even taking into account that he was seigneur of the village and the lands surrounding. Surely that had to count for something too.
He heard approaching footsteps, then the creak of the door behind the bar.
"What do you want?" Jeanne said.
Guillot shrugged. Was the answer not obvious? Nonetheless, her tone bothered him.
She looked at his empty glass. "We're out of wine."
Guillot chuckled, but when the stern expression on her face didn't change, he stopped.
"How can you be out of wine?" he said. "We make it in the village?"
"Tax, Gill. Tax."
He wondered if he would ever be referred to as "my Lord". He supposed his father had been the last "Lord Villerauvais". He had always been "Gill", and it seemed he always would be. "Tax?" he said. "I don't collect taxes."
Jeanne continued to glare at him as though he had done something bad. Had he? He searched back through the cloud of booze and hangovers that shrouded his memory, but could come up with nothing.
"Lord Montpareil," she said.
"What of him?"
"He's collecting taxes here now."
Guillot's mind was too dulled by his hangover to muster much anger. Insulting though it was to have a neighbouring lord exert authority in his demesne, he felt greater concern over how he was going to get his glass filled. He shrugged again.
"It all ends up with the King," Guillot said. "It's as well Montpareil collects it as I do. Which I don't."
The look of contempt on Jeanne's face was likewise of less concern to him than getting his glass filled. He gave her his most charming smile, but she was unmoved.
"Five years, Gill. We were all happy to have you home, but you've been rotting here for five years. The village and all the lands are rotting with you. You'd have broken your poor mother's heart if she still lived, gods bless her soul. Don't think for a second that Lord Montpareil has authority to collect taxes here, or that a single penny of it's getting to the king. Anyhow, some of that tax money should have been spent here in the village. In case you haven't noticed, we need it. Him collecting them is an insult to you, and an injury to us."
Gill spreads his hands in a beseeching gesture. He'd never expected to hear a complaint about him not collecting taxes.
"Something needs to change, Gill. You're dragging us all down with you."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Dragonslayer"
Copyright © 2019 Duncan M. Hamilton.
Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is technically pretty solid. It has all the general pieces of a good fantasy. It has magic, dragons, knights, action, and adventures. It also has a fun premise, if somewhat unoriginal in concept. And yet, there were some things that seemed missing from the story. Small details that really are what make a story interesting. For example, Gil, the main character has a pretty generic and lackluster backstory. He was once the greatest knight in the land, then turned away from his knighthood and turned to alcoholism after the death of his wife and child, who are only mentioned when the plot demands it. In fact, there were large parts of the story that seemed to happen because the plot simply demanded it to be so, and that is never a good sign. Another issue I had was that I couldn't quite love these characters. They were all technically interesting, and yet I couldn't bring myself to fully care in the way I wanted to. The dragon parts were the most interesting because I feel like it was unexpected to see his side of things. And yet, I would have wanted to actually see more of the dragon's interactions with humankind. In the end, I think I just wanted more. It felt average. It felt forgettable. And while I wouldn't mark this in a list of bad books, I also cannot quite say I recommend it.
Dragonslayer is a funny and refreshing read. It takes popular fantasy tropes and twists them just enough that they take on a new light. Our valiant and noble hero is a reluctant drunk who hasn’t picked up a sword in years. Our magical sorceress is merely an uncertain and frightened girl with an immense power she doesn’t quite understand. Guillot is a fun and relatable character. He has a sense of duty and honor; very different from some of the other bannerets who lust after fame and fortune. Despite the fact that his prime is behind him, he manages to pull himself from the bottom and become worthy of the title “hero.” Solène was spunky and eager. She wields a crazy amount of power and isn’t afraid to use it. I was a little skeptical of how well she managed to use her magic in such a short amount of time, but I enjoyed her portions of the story nonetheless. It was easy to root for her success, especially after all of the hardship she has had to face. One thing Hamilton does that I loved is provide the dragon’s POV. Alpheratz is not merely a dragon rampaging through the mountains for the hell of it. He wakes up after centuries only to discover he is the last of his kind. Everyone he loves is dead — his mate, his children, even his rival — all thanks to the dragon slayers. His fury manifests as an understandable act of vengeance, and you can’t help but feel for him. That being said, the villains in this story fell a little flat for me. Prince Bishop Amaury believed he was doing the wrong things for the right reason... but ultimately, I can’t help but think his motivation was power. Dal Sason, on the other hand, was motivated by money and money alone, and while that is reason enough for some to get their hands dirty, it just seemed as though his character was not fleshed out. Another thing that wasn’t fleshed out was the world building. It was almost nonexistent besides some mention of the surrounding nations and the county’s past. There were some legends and stories thrown in as well, but all seemed to be plot relevant. I loved Hamilton’s writing style, but there was a lack of detail that I couldn’t get past. In a fantasy such as this, I really wanted more information about the world in which the story takes place in, and I feel like I didn’t get as much as I wanted. Toward the end, there was a lot of exposition and internal monologue trying to tie up the loose ends of the story. However, I felt as though things were being over-explained. The ending fell a bit flat for me and was pretty predictable. I don’t want to spoil it or assume anything, but since there is meant to be at least one sequel, the story has the chance to redeem itself. So I’m feeling a bit more lenient on that end. This story was entertaining and perfect for the fantasy lover who wants something a little different.
This is one of those rare times when you can judge a book by its cover. Dragonslayer is everything you would expect, upon seeing an angry looking dragon on a dramatic book cover. It’s a perfect example of an epic fantasy, with the journey just beginning. Dragonslayer is the first novel in a new series of the same name by Duncan M. Hamilton. As you can guess, from both the cover and the title, this book is about hunting a great dragon. But there’s more to it than that, naturally. The real highlights of this novel are the characters. This series follows Guillot dal Villevauvais, aka Gill, as well as several others, on their quest to deal with the big bad dragon of the world. Gill is a classic fantasy character. He’s been through his fair share of hardships, but he’ll always step up and do the right thing when he’s needed. Dragonslayer is perhaps the best example of epic fantasy to come out in 2019. It’s everything I’ve grown up expecting and hoping for, when it comes to dragon hunting series. It’s tense and dark, with brooding lead characters, and a strong set of supporting characters. Admittedly, I don’t always go for the novels where it’s clear that dragon hunting will be done. I usually tend to lean in the opposite direction, with my dragon preference. However, every now and then I’ll indulge. And I’m so glad I picked Dragonslayer to be that exception for me. This novel was one that slowly built up. It never rushed, and it didn’t really need to. We had plenty of time to get to know the world, the characters, and even the antagonist (the dragon) himself. And there was more than one plan or type of thinking when it came to the humans. The added politics here was very much appreciated. I’ll admit I was both interested and surprised to see some of the tale told from the dragon’s eyes. I hadn’t expected that. But it was a nice twist. Antagonists are almost always better when you can understand their motivations. It did take me a little while to start liking the main hero of this tale; Gill. Though it was actually kind of fascinating to have a hero introduced in such a non-heroic way. I suppose it made his actions seem all the more impressive; that he stepped up to deal with this threat, despite his downward spiral. There are plenty of other characters in this novel as well. Two are more important than the rest, but their development is so integral to the plot, I’m almost tempted to leave it there and say no more about them. I will say that I did have a favorite, and that she appears much later in the novel. I’m honestly curious to see where the next part of this trilogy is going to go. I have a few ideas, but obviously nothing concrete. Once Duncan Hamilton releases a title, we’ll probably have a better idea of what we’re in for. But I’m looking forward to finding out.
Fantastic Epic Read... I've never really read books like this...fantasy, old world, dragons and dragon slayers, princesses and all the things this genre is. I always want to take a chance on the Game of Thrones series, Brandon Sanderson books, Throne of Glass series...and all those others that reviewers rave about. I am tempted and then get intimidated. This book...I decided to chance getting it..and I did and I thought now I don't have an excuse to hold another one of these books off. Stepping into this epic fantasy world has been such a wonderful reading experience. According to other reviewers this is not the typical hard core fantasy story....it's something different...and that's the appeal for me. I enjoy that it was not complicated. The story's main hero is a tortured soul. Once bold and brave and full of prominence is now someone with some serious issues and he no longer stands as high and amazing as he once did. The story brushes past why this mighty person went down like a bag of bricks...but I don't know if that matters....because everything else in this tale is amazing..and substantial. The dragon...the perspective....the way it all plays out. I don't want to give anything away. It's a wonderful read. I really enjoyed it and glad that I took a chance on it.
I enjoyed this book, but I didn’t love it. The writing was good, the characters were good, and the pacing was good. Just good. It was a familiar tale, with familiar settings. That doesn’t make it bad, just not as interesting as it could’ve been. To me, this is the kind of book perfect for someone maturing out of YA, because it would probably feel fresh to them. It wasn’t the kind of book I couldn’t put down, but it was engaging enough that I would read the next in the series.
My actual rating is 3 1/2 stars Note: This review contains NO spoilers Being a first time reader of Duncan M. Hamilton's book(s), I wasn't sure what to expect. Based on the synopsis, this fantasy is inspired by the history of the Dark Ages/Medieval Ages/Middle Ages (whatever anyone wants to call that time of history). Anyways, I for one have been fascinated by that time period. Oh, there's that dragon(s) part, too, that helped grab my interest... Ha! Dragonslayer, from beginning to end, has a steady pace as the story, characters, and setting is being laid out; however, there were parts that I felt the pace slowed. Among the character POVs that is an integral part of the story is the dragon's point of view. Yes! I got to "see" through the dragon's eyes. I got to "feel" what the dragon was feeling. Despite all the world building and character development, I still felt like the book started in the middle of an aftermath of some major event that affected all these characters. Hence, all that wondering brought up questions of "whys." I don't know... Maybe this first book in the series is just setting up for the next books to follow. Don't get me wrong. I did enjoy this read. I want to know if these questions, or "whys," will be revealed in the following book(s). I just felt that this first book, like most first book in a new series, is pretty much used to introduce readers to the various characters and the setting of the story. I already know that this read is not for everyone. I only say this, because, despite Dragonslayer being an enjoyable read, I really didn't connect or "feel" this read. But, don't let that deter you from reading epic fantasies set in the Medieval Ages. Reviewer: Jasmine
This was a medieval fantasy, set in its own world, that I didn’t get too many details from if it weren’t for the map at the front of the book. But those details didn’t seem pertinent so it didn’t bother me until I was retelling to a friend. It’s been while since I’ve read a dragon narrator so this was a welcome addition. I really enjoyed the plot and went in knowing this was the debut of a new trilogy, so I have high expectations of what is to follow. It was a little but if a slow build but the characters and plot was introduced really well and built the anticipation for what was to come. The writing style was easy to digest and not too wordy or hard to pronounce. I believe the world was quite European based so the names of people and places were not difficult to pronounce. I’m not sure if this works was entirely new or if the authors other work are set in the same place, I would be interested to find out. One of the main characters, Gill, struggled with alcohol addiction, but it never felt like a touchy topic to me and more like you expect to see in characters like pirates, retired knights and cowboys- coming with the territory. I enjoyed this book and the plot- it didn’t blow me away but was a solid fantasy novel to get into!
This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I loved it. I can’t wait for the next one. I loved the world he has created. I felt like the dragon and hero had a lot in common. And all the magic the heroine could do but wasn’t allowed. That would really suck. Although we didn’t see as much action as I would’ve liked, it was understandable because I feel this was the world being created and everything getting set in place. It would make sense to have a build up for things to come in a greater big picture. I feel like it will be really epic and can’t wait. I really hope they make a miniseries out of this world and books. I think it would do great. I mean, who doesn’t love dragons and a kingdom like this?
Dragonslayer is a brilliant beginning for a brand-new trilogy that has more than magic and magical creatures. It’s a story with clear and dynamic characters that each have their own wants and needs, which some are still unclear adding a suspenseful need for book 2. The writing style of the book is quick, engaging, and entertaining with a straightforward storyline that you can clearly see where it’s heading with unique perspectives through various characters’ point of views. The dialogue jumps from proper to modern English between various characters distinguishing their place in society as well as their age. The one-liners are unique, funny, and very witty. Duncan M Hamilton gave us an adventure-filled book one, but there’s so much more that can happen in the following novels.
It starts off slow at first and the genre was not what I’m used to reading. These two factors made it a longer read than I expected. However, I stayed for the story and setting. I’ve been really interested in the time period from the 15th-17th century lately and have been reading books and watching shows set within this time period. This book was a great magical fantasy. I quite enjoyed the storyline. The main character, Guillot, is the last of the Chevaliers of the Secret Circle. The Chevaliers were dedicated to slaying dragons during their time but have now become nonexistent. Years later, Gill is called upon by his Prince to slay the last living dragon . The dragon, Alpheratz, just awoke from a long sleep and is hungry and ready for revenge. He sets his eyes upon the small villages in the area including Guillot’s demesne. As a result, Gill must do anything he can to protect his land and people. Guillot and Solene, the “witch” he encounters upon in the beginning of his journey, are such interesting characters. The author was able to build upon a relationship between the two while at the same time not losing the essence of the story. I’m interested to see how these characters develop in the upcoming books.
This was such a fun read, full of dragons, magic, and a courageous but disgruntled dragonslayer! For whatever reason (probably nostalgia from all those fantasy series I read in the summer as a kid) I’m always drawn to epic fantasy series in the summertime, and Dragonslayer was the perfect fit for me! I loved the hero, Guillot, and the reality of his character as a has-been, down on his luck knight. In Dragonslayer, a dragon has been awakened for the first time in thousand years in the empire of Mirabaya. The dragon is Alpheratz and he awakes to find all of his brethren, including his mate, slain by humans. He has no idea how long he has been asleep and he is NOT happy. He proceeds to do what classic medieval dragons tend to do and he begins wrecking havoc and demolishing villages across the countryside. The king and the Prince Bishop send a man to call upon their last hope, Guillot, aka the last surviving Chevalier of the Silver Circle, the order known to have been able to defeat dragons. Unfortunately for the kingdom, Guillot has spent years in essentially alcoholic depression after being kicked out of the city for an incident involving the prior king. The bannaret officer who is sent to retrieve Guillot manages to coerce him into visiting the Prince Bishop and they set off on their journey to the king. Along the way they rescue a young girl named Solene accused of using magic and bring her along with them. As the characters head out on their journey, and then their mission to defeat the dragon, Guillot begins to realize something darker is going on with the Prince Bishop than he first assumed. And Solene begins to realize just how special her magical abilities truly are. Meanwhile, the whole time Guillot is dealing with some pretty heavy withdrawal issues as he tries to go off of alcohol use. I loved following the character Guillot around as he interacted with other characters and “prepared” for his journey to hopefully defeat the dragon. Guillot is the perfect mix of sincere and crabby, and I truly got attached to his character throughout the story! I also really appreciated that the author dealt with Guillot being an alcoholic throughout the whole story, and that it actually had an effect on his life, rather than having him simply “be better” when the need arose. The only semi-qualm I had with the whole story (which isn’t really a qualm, it just felt slightly unbelievable) is that Solene’s magic is a little too powerful. For the most part this didn’t really bother me, but it did seem a little too convenient at times. There is a specific scene in the library where she can suddenly just understand essentially another language, just because she wants to. And she can also find content in books, within a massive library, just by “thinking” about a topic and the book falls down. I’m all for female characters being extremely powerful, but this felt like a little too much to me. That being said, I really enjoyed Solene’s character and her part in the story otherwise! Overall, Dragonslayer is a great read for readers like me who are looking for an epic fantasy to immerse themselves in for a few hours!
This story was so great to lose myself in! The world was just so immersive and I really was able to forget real-world problems when I opened up the book. The characters were just so intriguing and I really couldn't help but want to root for them. After having just recently finished watching Game of Thrones, I was so antsy to get back into another epic fantasy world and luckily this did just that for me! The action was exciting and really had me on the edge of my seat quite a few times. The fantasy aspect was really just well-done and the world building was solid throughout. Plus I'm just such a sucker for dragons, so really it couldn't go wrong for me. As soon as I opened my mail and saw the cover, I was set.
If you're looking for a book that's just plain fun, then Dragonslayer is definitely right for you! Gill is the fantasy embodiment of dad bod Spiderman from "Into the Spiderverse" - he's been out of the game for a while after life struck him with personal tragedy and professional disgrace, but a newly awoken dragon isn't waiting around for him to get back in shape. The Prince Bishop, his formal rival, isn't exactly keen that Gill, the last surviving member of a once-legendary brotherhood of dragonslayers, is quite possibly Mirabaya's best chance at surviving the beast's inferno. The mutual disdain between the duo leads to many moments of dry wit and a pervasive undercurrent of humor. For his part, Gill devotes a highly entertaining amount of thought to spending as much of the Prince Bishop's money as possible. If he's going to be called back into action and possibly flambéed, he's going to eat a lot of good food and stay in some swanky inns before that happens. Add in Solène, whose possesses a potent amount of untested, untrained magic, and things are poised to either vault to a higher level of possibilities, or simply unleash chaos. Dragonslayer also adds in a unique twist I haven't seen before - a few chapters are delivered from the point of view of the dragon itself. We are led to develop a touch of sympathy for the beast, woken after many years asleep to find everything he's ever known destroyed by mankind. However, it's not so much sympathy that we don't still side with Gill on his quest to stop the dragon's unchecked revenge against innocents. Dragonslayer is in a good position to appeal to a wide age range of readers. It's an adult fantasy, but it would certainly be suitable for an advanced younger reader, as it does not contain mature content in terms of sex, gore or excessive language. Plus, if you like to read series book in quick succession, all three of the trilogy are poised to publish within twelve months!
Dragons!!! I really enjoyed reading this book. The main reason was...dragons!!! I enjoyed reading from different points of view including Gill, Solene, and Alpheratz. I did not enjoy Amaury's point of view as much because he is an evil jerk that wants to take over everything and hates Gill. I felt so bad for Gill who lost his wife, child, position, and skills and then was expected to slay a dragon. Solene is an amazing kick-butt character who has had a difficult life, but still perseveres. I also sympathized with Alpheratz, the dragon, who is the last of his kind as far as he knows. I was a bit disappointed as far as his character was concerned. His chapters made him sound intelligent, so I was a bit disappointed when he could not (or would not) talk. I cannot wait to read the next book, especially after reading that last chapter!
Guillot dal Villerauvais was once the best swordsman at the Academy, winner of the Competition, a Banneret, and a member of the King’s personal guard. Now, as Lord Villerauvais, the last surviving Chevalier of the Silver Circle, and the town drunk, Gill is asked to do something that hasn’t been done in generations: find and kill a dragon. Solène is a simple woman who simply wants to own and run her own bakery. When her not-so-simple magical powers are discovered, her dreams are put on hold as she learns about and hones her craft. Alpheratz is a dragon with a desire for vengeance. Need I say more? Dragonslayer, the first novel of the trilogy, follows Guillot on his quest to kill Alpheratz. Along the way he gets some help from some friends, but will it be enough? Dragonslayer was an quite the adventure, and I enjoyed being along for the ride. Like any adventure, there were some slow moments, but the action more than made up for them. Many of the characters kept me on my toes, surprising me with their loyalties, their backstabbing, and their internal strengths. Experiencing some of the the action from Alpheratz’s viewpoint was gnarly: the flying, the fire, the destruction! It also made him seem more “human,” with his pain and sadness, his love, and his desire for revenge.
I like dragon stories. This one is particularly enjoyable because parts of the book are from the viewpoint of the dragon, Alpheratz. And he isn't a completely bad dragon either. Most of his attacks were either because someone attacked him first, or in retaliation for men killing his mate and their eggs. Sadly, only a small part of the book was about Alpheratz. Most of the book was actually about Gill, a character that I liked more as the book went on and he started to show his courage and morals through the endless drinking he had been doing to forget the death of his wife and child. And most of the problems in this story came because of the Prince Bishop of Mirabay, Amaury, the typical over ambitious man that is willing to throw anybody's life away to get what he wants. Solene was a nice addition to the story because a story can always use a good sorceress to make the story better. This is the first book I have read by Duncan Hamilton, but after reading this, I look forward to reading more by him.
"Stopping this dragon was his life's great purpose, but it had come to him when he was least ready for it.....If it had come at any other time, would it have been a true test?" Hundreds of years after dragons are believed to be extinct, a group of explorers searching for a magical relic awaken a beast. When Alpheratz awakens from an unknown length of sleep, he realizes that he may be the last of his kind, and goes on a rampage to make mankind pay for their genocide of his kind. Guillot is a drunken lord, an ex barrister, betrayed and cast out by a senile king after simply taking a day off after his wife died. As one of the Chevaliers of the Silver Circle, he is the last of a group of the King's Guard who were historically dragon slayers. It seems that the new king and his Prince Bishop, the man who, coincidentally or not, sent the expedition who accidentally awoke the dragon, are now in need of his services. Whether he's actually slayed a dragon or not. Solene is a witch. Guillot saves her from a painful death, and she finds herself with the opportunity not to hide what she is for once in her life. But her new status may not be any safer. I was so excited to receive this ARC from Tor books, because in the preview I knew that some of the perspective in the book was from the point of view of the dragon himself. That was something I had not come across before, and was interested to see what his motives were, and what he thought of the whole situation! This book had so much potential. The writing is skillful and the plot is very interesting. I was especially thrilled to find a witch among the main characters! But unfortunately the story fell a little flat for me. Perhaps it is because it is going to be a trilogy, but I found so much information to be missing. Why does the Prince Bishop hate Guillot? The main enemy of this story is not the dragon, it's the Prince Bishop. But he and Guillot never have a confrontation. The ending of the story - don't worry, I won't spoil it - leaves a little hint that they will, but it wasn't enough to keep me in suspense of the second story. I think I just wanted a plot twist, and didn't really get one. Not that there aren't surprises, there are, but I didn't FEEL enough. I wanted a little bit of romance between Solene and Guillot, trope or not. I wanted to know what motivated the Prince Bishop. I kind of wanted Alpheratz to win! I felt for him. But the story just sort of, progressed. I almost feel like maybe parts of this story were edited out that shouldn't have been, because this writer clearly has skill and imagination. Perhaps the next two books in the trilogy will clear up some of the missing information, but then again, the new publishers tactic of cutting up what should be one book into multiple books (Bella Forrest anyone?) is an abhorrent practice that I refuse to propagate. I would read this book to my 5 and 7 year olds, who would enjoy it, but I probably will not read the next books in the series, but I'm torn because this writer truly has potential. So I will give this book a 3/5.
Okay, can we just take a moment to appreciate this gorgeous cover? The dragon looks epic and I absolutely love it! Its one thing that drew me in along with the synopsis and of course, the title. Although I liked the idea of this book, it just felt lackluster to me. The book is written with multiple point of views. Usually I enjoy it because it adds to the characters and their development throughout the story. I didn't feel that it added it much to the characters as much as I would have liked. My favorite point of view was from the dragon, Alpheratz. It was a great detail that I have not seen before. The main character Guillet was interesting and had a harsh background. Since he was a drunk, he took everything so lightly at times. He was always calm and collected through the bad and I loved his character. I found myself laughing at a few of his lines. When it came to the other characters, they were just okay. They added to the plot but at times it felt like they knew things about the other characters plans without any context. Maybe I missed it. I also felt like some of the characters weren't as developed as others and when it came to connecting with them it just wasn't there. The plot was good but I love plot twists and all were quite obvious minus one. I wish there would have been more from the dragon. The ending felt very anti-climatic and didn't appeal to me. The author did set it up for a second book but it wasn't a major cliffhanger that makes me want the second book instantly. Overall, I just wanted more. I am hoping there will be more character development and more world building in the second book. (I received a copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.)
Other than the books my son loved when he was younger, that we would pore over for hours at a time, I never read a book that had dragons in it; however, I have to say, I really enjoyed this story. The author, Duncan M. Hamilton, brings to life an unforgettable cast of characters: there is the dragon, who I couldn’t help but feel a bit sorry for in the beginning until he sets out on a path of revenge; the former member of the King's personal guard who spends most of his days drinking and mourning his dead wife and child until he is called upon to kill the dragon; and the young woman who was born with magical abilities who has to hide it because anyone with magic can be put to death. I loved this set of people and thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent immersed in their world. Of course, like any good story, there are a few characters that I did not like at all, who only cared for their own plots against others to work out to their own advantage. Another really great thing about this book is that it does not contain sex or cursing, so it is a good one to share with the younger members of your family.