Title: The Dragon Ring
Author: C.Craig Coleman
Publication Date: Aug 14, 2014
This book was chosen as BOTD on onlinebookclub.org. Check it out here!
I am reviewing it as part of their reviewer rewards program. This does not affect my opinion in any way!
This coming of age, epic fantasy occurs at the twilight of primal beings and the emergence of man. Wizards, witches, elves, dwarves, trolls, ogres, orcs, dragons, and new fantastic creatures still interact with men in this classic struggle between good and evil.
The Dragon Ring opens in a politically charged kingdom on the Powterosian continent. The reigning queen has recently ascended the throne at the insistence of the nobility who forced her corrupt brother to abdicate. The former queen, a soulless upstart, ruthlessly schemed to attain power and position. The sudden loss of status has unhinged her. She’s resorted to witchcraft to destroy her sister-in-law and the royal family to regain the throne. Caught in the middle are the royal children including young Prince Saxthor, the second son and spare heir.
The unexpected discovery of Saxthor’s unique powers aggravates the political conflict. The witch feels threatened and attempts to kill Saxthor shattering his carefree world. His mentor wizard sends Prince Saxthor racing into exile that he might survive to grow into his mysterious powers. But he’s followed.
The witch also has a co-conspirator, a ruthless warlock. He’s using her for an end she’s unaware of. The sorcerers draw in the ultimate personification of power, dragons, bending them to good or evil in the conflict for ultimate control. Only Saxthor can alter the looming war’s outcome.
Can Saxthor survive his pursuers’ attacks? Will he overcome his own doubts and rebuild lost confidence? Will his character develop and restore his self-assurance sufficient to face his worst fear? He will need exceptional character to control his unique gifts without succumbing to them. This epic provides fantasy entertainment atop undercurrents of political and psychological depth.
Within The Dragon Ring, the reader will recognise the various tropes present in most epic fantasies; the chosen one with special abilities and or magical imbued objects, the loyal companion, the mentor, the dark lord and other villainous characters and of course impending doom. There are also a wide array of fantastical creatures too numerous to mention but most noteworthy, since they are my favourite, Dragons!
The author does a fairly good job of incorporating all of the aforementioned elements without it seeming burdensome. The main character, Saxthor, second in line to the throne, is the chosen one and has to be protected from his aunt, the evil witch Earwig who is out to eliminate him by any means necessary to have a shot at the throne herself. This of course can’t be allowed to happen if he is to fulfill his destiny so his mentor, the wizard steps in and sends him far away in the company of his trusted companion Bodrin and a half-elf Tarquin. Along the way, he will fulfill a quest and fight many fearsome creatures and have crazy adventures which will prepare him for what is to come.
I loved the overall flow and plot of The Dragon’s Ring and the characters were relatable and memorable and well suited to their given roles. The witch was in particular quite villainous in her actions. I couldn’t help but notice a Lord Of The Rings feel due to the presence of a magical ring, the dark lord and orcs and Saxthor and his companion Bodrin but it is not a photocopy, it has its own unique elements and twists, merits and style.
It was not however without its ‘flaws’. I definitely had problems with the weird extra long names and had to suspend my belief quite a lot. Saxthon came across many fearsome creatures most of which were killed in the space of a couple of sentences. I love a good fight scene and I wish they were more detailed. Most of the conflicts were too easily resolved so that I never felt like the main character was ever in any real danger. The dialogue was also somewhat stilted at times , unrealistic and corny.
Despite it’s shortcomings, I felt the overall arc of the story was intriguing and I enjoyed it. It had a unique take on classical epic fantasy, it was filled with many of the elements I love reading about and it was clean and often humorous adventure. I had enough fun reading that I would be willing to continue the series. Plus, the covers are awesome!
About The Author
I studied mythology and developed my own language that has served me well through life. My most prized names took form in the characters and places of my books all these decades later.
I went to college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where I graduated with a BA degree in Ancient and European History. An elective course on castle and cathedral fired up a love of medieval architecture. Little did I know political histories, biographies, art, and architecture would again arise in the fortresses and palaces in my books.
I served my country in the Vietnam War, repairing the display computers on the Air Force’s F111 aircraft, though not in Vietnam. Then I audited agriculture courses at NC State University for a year before returning to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduating with a MBA, Masters of Business Administration.
A long career in the textile industry working in materials inventory, computer systems development, and finally, manufacturing operations ended abruptly due to a corporate buyout. The imploding industry left little economic opportunity. I found myself looking ‘outside the box’ for future options. A seed suggestion to write down some of my stories, planted by a doctor of literature in my youth, germinated. I decided to write a fantasy story. I had no inkling it would lead me on the greatest adventure of my life. Though I didn’t know the stern mandates of creative writing before I started, I learned backwards by rewriting my epic over the years correcting the point of view, show don’t tell, ‘ly’ adverb, passive voice, etc. issues until at last I have the story down pat.
My greatest supporter and companion through the years of writing this epic was my little silky terrier, Miss Delia. She passed away after sixteen years just prior to my publishing my first of the four books. This epic is dedicated first and foremost to that precious little girl.