Dragonsbane (Winterlands Book 1), by Barbara Hambly

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Dragonsbane (Winterlands Book 1), by Barbara Hambly

Dragonsbane (Winterlands Book 1), by Barbara Hambly

Dragonsbane (Winterlands Book 1), by Barbara Hambly

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Dragonsbane (Winterlands Book 1), by Barbara Hambly

An idealistic young prince convinces an aging warrior and a struggling witch to help him kill the dragon that is terrorizing his kingdom
As a vicious dragon stalks the Southlands, Crown Prince Gareth ventures to the forbidding North in search of the only man who can kill it. He is Lord Aversin, the Dragonsbane, whose dragon-slaying days have won him renown across the land. But when Gareth finds Lord Aversin, he discovers the mighty hero is squat and bespectacled, the ruler of a mud-village who admits that he killed the dragon not with a lance, but with ignoble poison. Still, he’ll have to do. Gareth and Aversin set off in company with Jenny Waynest, a witch with great ambitions but disappointingly puny powers—a ragtag crew destined to become legendary, or die in the attempt. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Barbara Hambly, including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author’s personal collection.

  • Sales Rank: #281869 in eBooks
  • Published on: 2011-03-29
  • Released on: 2011-03-29
  • Format: Kindle eBook

Review
“Barbara is a fabulously talented writer who can write well in any genre.” —Charlaine Harris

About the Author
Barbara Hambly (b. 1951) is a New York Times bestselling author of fantasy and science fiction, as well as historical novels set in the nineteenth century. After receiving a master’s degree in medieval history, she published The Time of the Dark, the first novel in the Darwath saga, in 1982, establishing herself as an author of serious speculative fiction. Since then she has created several series, including the Windrose Chronicles, Sun Wolf and Starhawk series, and Sun-Cross series, in addition to writing for the Star Wars and Star Trek universes. Besides fantasy, Hambly has won acclaim for the James Asher vampire series, which won the Locus Award for best horror novel in 1989, and the Benjamin January mystery series, featuring a brilliant African-American surgeon in antebellum New Orleans. She lives in Los Angeles.

Most helpful customer reviews

41 of 43 people found the following review helpful.
Innovative in its approach to an old theme
By Marc Palmer
Dragonsbane is a story about a witch (Jenny Waynest), a celebrated dragonslayer (John Aversin) and a black dragon named Morkeleb. Without revealing too much of the story, it’s enough to say that it follows a standard formula for a dragon / fantasy book, but does so in a rather illustrative and original fashion.

Rather than give us a one-dimensional baddie dragon which is merely a prop set up to be dispatched by the main characters, Hambly proceeds past this and reveals a depth to the black dragon that I have not yet seen duplicated in other fantasy stories involving such mythical creatures. Needless to say, the characters in this novel are very well developed, as well as the artful descriptions of the story’s tapestry-so well described at times, we often feel we’re really there. This is a talent Barbara brings to her works and is what distances herself from the usual sci fi / fantasy writer “me-too-izm.”

Some may find her long winded descriptions tedious, claiming that she wastes valuable space at the beginning of this novel with filler, but I welcome it as building a solid foundation of character study and depth. If you pay attention, you’ll no doubt increase your knowledge of medieval culture as well.

If you prefer traditional “sword & sorcery” type novels with mounds of action and little depth, pass this by. If, however, you prefer more to your fantasy than warriors, warlocks and mindless monsters, check out Dragonsbane.

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful.
One of Hambley’s best
By Steven Sammons
This book introduces us to Lord John Aversin, one of Hambley’s most endearing characters. John is a northern “barbarian”, who is in actuality quite smart and bookish. He’d rather be learning about engineering feats of the distant past or applying some new theory of farming instead of fighting bandits or the mysterious Ice Riders. But he was born the son of the old Lord, and inherited after his death. He has a strong sense of duty to both his people and the Realm, which has fogotten him and his people since they pulled their garrisons out and sent them back south to the capital more than 100 years ago. He is married to Jenny Waynest, a mage of limited powers whose loyalties are slpit between John and their sons, and her power, which she is still trying to increase.
Into this situation strides Gar, an aristocratic idealist who is as out of place in the royal seat as John is as a bloodthirsty warrior. He is looking for John, because Aversin is the only living Dragonsbane, that is, he killed a dragon several years ago that was threatening his people. Another dragon has appeared down south, and is threatening the capital. Gar persuades John and Jenny to go south to face the monster, in return for the garrsions to be sent north again and the Realm to take interest in the north once again. John, who’d rather study dragons than slay them, reluctantly agrees to go.
Here we start on a high adventure, which in typical Hambley fashion, quickly becomes a web of political intrigue, dark magics, and hidden intents. Gar turns out to be the royal heir to the throne, the king is enslaved to a witch of tremendous but mysterious power, and the confrontation with the dragon turns out to be more than anyone bargained for. This is a great tale, one that will keep you turning the pages long into the night. The characters are so normal, and human, that you can’t help but identify with them. This is not your typical hero slays dragon quest, nor is it a typical mighty mages contest. What it is, is a simple human story, about what is important in life, and why we do the things we do. I highly recommend this book.
Unfortunately, the sequels do not do this story justice, and you really aren’t missing much if you skip them.

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful.
Barbara at her best
By A Customer
Dragonsbane is easily Hambly’s best book to date (26 November 1997). She woos us into her universe, which admittedly is not difficult since there are few new artifacts to engage our attention, but she also manages to woo us into the interior spaces of her characters where we are allowed to see the kinds of choices that people make every day and every lifetime.
The book is full of choices — Jenny Waynest gives up mastery of magic in order to have a relationship with her lover and her sons — and those choices are constantly called into question, both by the characters themselves and by the situations into which the characters are drawn. Jenny knows that her life could have been very different had she chosen to pursue her magic despite its severe demands; only the dragon is able to confront her when he sees clearly into her heart and mind and asks: “Do you cling to all the little joys because you are afraid of the great ones?”
Dragonsbane falters as most Hambly books do: the author is so enamoured of language that the well-drawn tapestry of scene and mood sometimes looks more like the over-busy, tassled throw rugs my Aunt Geneva used to embroider, applique, and give away to all the grandkids. Sometimes, a simple image does the trick.
But the great strength of the book is that it is not overwhelmed by the artifacts of the genre. The story is clearly about people, not about magic, and Hambly is able to use the artifacts to seduce us into a story where dragons love gold for its singing of their names.
Dragonsbane is the most accomplished, most polished, and most poignant of Hambly’s work.

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