• The Dragonbone Chair

  • Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, Book One
  • By: Tad Williams
  • Narrated by: Andrew Wincott
  • Length: 33 hrs and 12 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (3,398 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A war fueled by the dark powers of sorcery is about to engulf the peaceful land of Osten Ard - for Prester John, the High King, slayer of the dread dragon Shurakai, lies dying. And with his death, an ancient evil will at last be unleashed, as the Storm King, undead ruler of the elvishlike Siti, seeks to regain his lost realm through a pact with one of human royal blood. Then, driven by spell-inspired jealousy and hate, prince will fight prince, while around them the very land begins to die.

Only a small scattered group, the League of the Scroll, recognizes the true danger awaiting Osten Ard. And to Simon - a castle scullion unknowingly apprenticed to a member of this League - will go the task of spearheading the quest for the solution to a riddle of long-lost swords of power...and a quest that will see him fleeing and facing enemies straight out of a legend maker's worst nighmares!

©2016 Tad Williams (P)2016 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about The Dragonbone Chair

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Work of art

One of the best fantasy series ever written. An example to modern writers of what can be done within the span of a trilogy, where the writer actually finishes the last book even if it takes him a couple extra years (hear that Patrick Rothfuss?). I downloaded the audio version twenty years after purchasing the first edition of the book, and I was worried that it would not be well done. Well, i no longer have to worry. The reader does an exceptional job, the narration is superb, the pacing and voices are excellent. I was transported back to Osten Ard in a wonderfully immersive experience. To those of you that are picking it up for the first time, yes it does start slowly. The first 6 hours or so are slow as Tad Williams builds his characters and worlds with care, something which will pay off in spades later. And if you can invest the first few hours, once the action starts, it will not let up, through book two and the masterpiece that is the third and last book in the series. I read a couple of reviews from people who were encountering the book for the first time worrying about the character growth of Simon. Well, if you stick with it to the end, there are few series out there that do a better job of showing the growth and maturity of characters. This is a beautiful series, one of the handful of fantasy masterpieces, and this audio edition is everything I could have hoped for. Thank you Tad Williams and Audible for bringing it to us.

50 people found this helpful

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Glad it's finally available in audio

I have to admit that I'm only a few hours into this audiobook at this point, but I've already read it in print, so I know what happens. That being said, I'm very glad that this great series is finally being made available in audio. So far, I'm very impressed with the narration. Mr. Wincott does an excellent job differentiating between characters, so it's easy to tell who's speaking, and he reads at a comfortable pace while infusing the narration with the proper emotions. The books themselves are fantastic, and Memory, Sorrow, & Thorn is one of my all time favorite series. This series was written back in the 80's, so the plot may seem familiar to many readers, but It's very well written with characters you can care about.
The bottom line is that I highly recommend this book. Back to listening!

46 people found this helpful

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Better than I had dared hope

I knew this was one of my favorite stories but the incredible performance brought new life to the tale.

Like meeting a loved one after a long absence and finding them better than you possibly could imagine.

30 people found this helpful

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A nice find.

I can't believe I've been missing out on this author and series for years. I can certainly how this has inspired writers. It's a wonderful epic fantasy. Give it a try.

Don't get frustrated by all the names in the beginning, they will begin to make sense as the story goes on.

29 people found this helpful

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An excellent reading of an old favorite!

I first read this series in my 20's when I received The Dragonbone Chair and The Stone of Farewell in paperback as a gift. I quickly fell under the thrall of Osten Ard, and bought the hardback of To Green Angel Tower when it was released. (And eagerly bought every book/series by Tad Williams as soon as they were released thereafter.)

In the 24 years since then, I've reread the series twice - rather like visiting with an old friend. This is the first time I've listened to it - and I'm thoroughly enjoying it! I think the narrator does a fantastic job of infusing character and suspense, thought and action, truly bringing the story to life. (After all, it's not easy to convincingly orate lines in a made-up language!!)

A great use of a book credit!

23 people found this helpful

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Boring for 34 hours then at the end is decent

This book is slow and for the most part uninteresting until the very end. I nearly quit listening 3-4 times through this. The writing is good but the story and plot are boring until the very end.

19 people found this helpful

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Am drifting again.

I am at chapter ten. I keep drifting away to other thoughts while listening to this book. This guy knows how to write. He spends time describing details I have no interest in. And do to me the story tends toward dragging. And my attention keeps flagging. I know that he could simply be building up to something. But right now I don’t care enough about any of the characters to keep going.

15 people found this helpful

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It's about time

The story is great. It's well written and keeps your interest. The narrater has a great voice and his different voices and accents were just what was needed. I've been waiting for an audio version of this series for many years and I wasn't disappointed

14 people found this helpful

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Revisited an old friend.

I read this book in 1992. I was 12. It opened my eyes to a world of Fantasy and adventure. The narrator does a superb job of giving each character their own voice as well as accent even. It was wonderful to revisit Osten Ard once more. Enjoy!

13 people found this helpful

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One of the worst fantasy series I have read

Review of the Series with some spoilers.

I know that some people will enjoy this series, but I am not one of them. I always try to finish a series, but I struggled a lot with this one. There are lots of secrets, prophesies, and odd mysteries in this book, but to me there were no characters that felt REAL to me. The main character does not really seem to accomplish anything great throughout the book by himself. Everything that happens to him is usually dumb luck. Also he complains the whole time and is very arrogant as well even when he kind of fell into situations that made him "great." Also the rest of the characters are just weird. When the evil guys loose battles they act all arrogant and say that it is alright nothing can stop us, and when the good guys win they say things like "Well we won, but it probably won't matter we are going to die anyways later." In this series this is how both sides react constantly and it got really grating to me since time after time the good guys win they are just gloomy and negative. Also after reading this whole series you may realize that most characters can be replaced by anyone since no one ever really makes their own decisions.

There are dreams and warnings in most of this book. Sometimes it feels that about 50 % of the book is in the dream world, where hints about dealing with the dark terrible evil will be hinted at. Well they do not always remember the dreams and are really daft when they do and keep it to themselves. Too many characters have "unexplained" things in their past that is somehow too hurtful to ever say except maybe in secret. Also the character use way to many metaphors and description while talking to one another. Crucial information while in the battle is riddled with metaphors and just bad speech. It never felt like they were really talking since nearly every single person used metaphors while talking about anything.

The main character is the worst. In the end all the other characters see him as some awesome amazing hero, and he does to, but he is terrible. He becomes an apprentice and does not want to learn anything from the start. Then he becomes a knight and when someone says he is not a complete knight till he learns the virtues, learns to care for his horse and everything he says he says that he does not really care about learning them. He does start taking care of his horse though I guess. He is just a selfish kid who gets constantly lucky and does not have many admirable qualities. Even when he is "brave" he is stupid and arrogant about it. Then at the end of the book everyone is looking up to him and says that he has grown to a good strong man,he is noble, great, but no he did not if you look at examples from the whole series he might of become even more childish. How am I supposed to think of him as some hero when during the whole series he does nothing to deserve anything except maybe an arrow.

Anyways I disliked the series, but some people must like it since it is rated so high. I think part of it was that I have read a lot of fantasy and this book just had way too many tropes and just obvious things in it.

12 people found this helpful

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