King Cullin may be known as "the Dragon Slayer", but he fears his son’s legacy will be as "King Maurice Who Speaks with Proper Grammar". The boy keeps his nose buried in parchments, starry-eyed at the idea of noble knights and eager to hand royal gold to any con man hawking a unicorn horn. Tonight, though, Cullin will educate the prince in the truth behind minstrels’ silly songs of glory….
Long ago, in a kingdom, well, not that far from here really, young Cullin traveled the countryside as squire to brave Sir Dalbry, along with Dalbry’s trusted sidekick Reeger, selling dragon-protection services to every kingdom with a coffer. There were no dragons, of course, but with a collection of severed alligator heads and a willingness to play dirty, the trio of con men was crushing the competition. Then along came Princess Affonyl.
Tomboyish and with a head for alchemy, Affonyl faked a dragon of her own, escaped her arranged marriage, and threw in with Cullin and company. But with her father sending a crew of do-gooder knights to find her, the dragon business just got cutthroat.
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This amusing romp is free of bad language, steamy sex, and gratuitous gore--and is decidedly not for kids. Its wry commentary on modern business, deliberate anachronisms (an area is described as being suitable for a RennFaire--a futuristic event) and sly innuendos are not likely to be things that kids can relate to. On the other hand, those of us who belong to the demographic to which this book would have the greatest appeal might recall enjoying Rocky and Bullwinkle or Bugs Bunny when we too did not understand a lot of what was going on.
The narrator strikes just the right note for this tale, which is probably better experienced as an audiobook. Things that are amusing and unexpected when spoken often come off as forced in print.
I have always enjoyed Kevin J. Anderson's storytelling. He knows just how to spin a tale to make it interesting and to feel real.
It felt a little scattershot sometimes, and I felt like the end was a touch unsatisfying, but all in all it was excellent. Especially if I assume there will be a sequel, then the feeling of "more is to come" will be justified.
I liked the voices he did. Especially for Reeger.
I don't know if I'd say "moved", but I liked the reveal of the actual dragons. I honestly didn't see this coming. I expected more of a "liar revealed" story to happen. I liked the surprise.
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