Downfall (Dragonlance: The Dhamon Saga, Book 1)

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9780786918140: Downfall (Dragonlance: The Dhamon Saga, Book 1)

How far can a hero fall?
Far enough to lose his soul?

Dhamon Grimwulf, once a Hero of the Heart, has sunk into a bitter life of crime and squalor. Now, as the great dragon overlords of the Fifth Age coldly plot to strengthen their rule and to destroy their enemies, he must somehow find the will to redeem himself. But perhaps it is too late.

Downfall marks the return of Dhamon and other characters from author Jean Rabe's bestselling Dragons of a New Age trilogy.

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Review:

It's not easy being Jean. For some Dragonlance fans, the world of Krynn ended with Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's Dragons of Summer Flame. Many Lancers would just as soon forget Jean Rabe's famously awful Fifth Age kickoff trilogy (The Dawning of a New Age, The Day of the Tempest, and The Eve of the Maelstrom), and that's putting it nicely. (Imagine the Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons saying, "Worst fantasy author ever," and you'll begin to understand the enmity that Rabe has generated for herself.)

But Weis and Hickman returned triumphantly to the Fifth Age with Dragons of a Fallen Sun, proving that the reports of Krynn's death were, at worst, an exaggeration. So maybe--just maybe--Rabe deserves a fresh start in Dragonlance, too. Downfall begins a trilogy revolving around Dhamon Grimwulf, former Knight of Takhisis, ex-Hero of the Heart, and erstwhile co-protagonist of Rabe's aforementioned Dragons of a New Age series. Dhamon is on the outs, running around robbing the sick and the weak in cahoots with a kobold, a tattooed half-elf floozy, and a suspiciously powerful thief-wizard named Maldred. (Hmmm, there's something fishy about that guy...) In rolls plate-mail babe Fiona (a spit-shined Knight of Solamnia) and pirate-turned-good-guy Rig Mer-Krel, presumably to clean up Dhamon and set him on the straight and narrow. But faster than you can say "Charm Person," the entire crew ends up on the road together, heading off to bargain with an ogre chieftain, rescue a herd of goats, and ransom Fiona's brother from the black dragon overlord Sable. Or so they think. Quite a few switchbacks and blind canyons here, enough to keep you wondering what's around the next corner, but don't expect emotional, involved Weis-and-Hickman fare: while many Dragonlance fans would consider it damning praise, Downfall reads a lot like a decent Forgotten Realms adventure. --Paul Hughes

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