The Dragon's Path

Orbit: Hachette. (Dagger and the Coin, Bk. 1). Apr. 2011. c.592p. ISBN 9780316080682. pap. $14.99. FANTASY
Soldier-turned-mercenary Marcus wants no part of the war looming between the Free Cities and the Severed Throne, so he enlists a group of traveling players to act the part of guards in a caravan leaving a city in the danger zone. Cithrin, heir to a banking house, joins the caravan to move the bank's holdings to a safe place. They cross paths with Geder, a scholar-soldier whose interest in philosophy and disinterest in the ways of war mark him as expendable in the political and military game of nations. This complex and carefully orchestrated tale by the author of "The Long Price Quartet" (A Shadow in Summer; A Betrayal in Winter; An Autumn War; The Price of Spring) never takes the easy path of good versus evil; the characters embody both moral strengths and weaknesses, and this gives them depth and solid grounding in their world.
VERDICT Readers who enjoy intricate plots and true-to-life characters will appreciate this fantasy series opener.
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