This stunning epic fantasy debut introduces two exciting new authors—and a world brimming with natural and man-made wonders, extraordinary events, and a crisis that will test the mettle of men, the boundaries of magic, and the heart and soul of a kingdom. Thanks to its elite Dragon Corps, the capital city of Volstov has all but won the hundred years’ war with its neighboring enemy, the Ke-Han. The renegade airmen who fly the corps’s mechanical, magic-fueled dragons are Volstov’s greatest weapon. But now one of its more unruly members is at the center of the city’s rumor mill, causing a distraction that may turn the tide of victory. With Volstov immersed in a scandal that may have international repercussions, the Ke-Han devise an ingenious plan of attack. To counter the threat, four ill-assorted heroes must converge to save the kingdom they love: an exiled magician, a naive country boy, a young student—and the unpredictable ace airman who flies the city’s fiercest dragon, Havemercy.
Jones and Bennett vividly convey the testosterone-saturated world of fantasy fighter pilots in this fast-paced debut. When the stereotypically Asian Ke-Han threaten the Volstov empire, graduate student Thom is sent to rehabilitate the Dragon Corps, an ersatz air force of rebellious, violent young men who fly enormous metal dragons animated by magic. As Thom struggles with his task, challenged most by the brutish ace Rook, the Margrave Royston, banished for an illicit homosexual affair, befriends Hal, an innocent but brilliant tutor who eventually becomes Royston's lover. These four join minds and skills to solve the mystery of a devastating plague and defend Volstov from the foreign army. The insular corps culture of combative homoeroticism and masculine archetypes dominates the book, as female characters fade far into the background. Despite few surprises or original flourishes, Jones and Bennett credibly bring the decadent empire and its inhabitants to life. (July) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
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1 . not as bad as other reviews say.
Posted March 04, 2011 by Kwelduh , Spruce Grove, CanadaAlthough other reviews tore apart the city building aspects of this book, I found the characters completely worth reading the book. The book follows 2 major storylines, and I (at the beginning) fell in love with one and despised the other, but by the end of the novel I was emotionally involved with the entire works. This is a worthwhile read for those who enjoy dynamic and rounded characters.
June 23, 2008
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Excerpt from Havemercy by Danielle Bennett
That morning, I awaited my arrest in Our Lady of a Thousand Fans. I wasn't alone, but it seemed I might as well have been, for the young man in the bed next to me was asleep. He had no particular reason not to be--after all, it wasn't his future upon which fell the shadow of impending arrest--and though I found that I could not look at him, neither did I begrudge him the repose.
It was rather a curious situation in which I'd found myself. Truth be told, I'd considered myself clever enough to avoid such entanglements altogether. Yet the problem with doing foolish things was that it was quite often impossible to tell what was foolish and what wasn't until you'd swum too far out to turn back again. After that point, it was either carry on or drown.
Of course, you were hanged either way if another man stood up to accuse you of doing all manner of things you were relatively sure you hadn't.
And that was the thing about men: They could so easily change their minds, become frightened of what might happen to them, and throw you to the wolves. If you were very, very unlucky, they might even do all three.
At least--if you were more than passably wealthy--you might be able to go out in style.
I was waiting that morning for the footfalls I knew were coming. They were neither the trained, delicate rhythms of Our Lady's skilled professionals nor the uneven steps of sated patrons, but rather those that held all the surety and sharpness of a man of the law. The man who was coming for me was one who did not need to hunt his quarry because he knew very well where it would be. Though my offense was by all accounts a serious one, the way in which it must be handled would demand a touch of finesse. Most political matters did, though it was a philosophy lost on some men.
Despite my assumptions, I couldn't have said quite what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn't the Provost of the city himself, leaning in the doorframe as though he hadn't a care in the world.
There was a large mirror hanging on the wall opposite the bed--for people who liked that sort of thing, I supposed--ornately framed in dark cherrywood. So I saw the scene as it must have appeared to him: the lines forming thin and faint at the corners of my eyes, gray hairs glinting at my temples more obviously than I'd have liked in the late- morning sun. I thought ruefully of how little I deserved those marks of age, and how well I had won them, for a man just past thirty-five years of age. Next to me the young man slept on, his tanned shoulders smooth, his mouth open and vulnerable. I tilted my head, fingers measuring the dark unkempt edges of the beard creeping over my cheeks and under my chin.
I'd not had the time to shave before--and after, it had seemed like something of a trifle. After my betrayal by Erik, many things had seemed a trifle.
"Margrave Royston," said the Provost. "You're a hard man to track down."
"Not particularly," I said.
His nose wrinkled at the smell of burnt cloves that permeated the air, and I could sense how very badly he wished to tell me to stop smoking. His excellent comportment prevented him from doing so; or perhaps it was his keen attention to protocol. Nevertheless, there were those who believed the Esar had made a grievous error in letting a commoner enforce his laws. The Provost was a man of the Charlotte district, center-born and center-bred. The people liked him because he didn't put on airs, and everyone else liked him because he minded his own business--with the exception, of course, of those rare occasions when the noblesse went out of their way to do something exceedingly imprudent or alarming; and then his intervention was required.
There was a bowl carved from black stone on the nightstand, in anticipation of the possibility that the wealthy patrons of Our Lady might need a place to put their cuff links or jewelry. I myself had adopted it as an ashtray, a purpose for which I felt it was peculiarly suited.
"You'd better get dressed," the Provost continued, removing a round, gold watch from his pocket. "There's a ruling to be had."
"So soon?" I didn't know myself whether the surprise in my voice was feigned or genuine. I decided on the third option, which was trousers, and got out of bed. "Dmitri, I must say the efficiency of this nation in condemning a man is simply astounding."
The Provost continued to examine his pocket watch with somewhat forced interest. "Your duties within the Basquiat will be assumed by another, in accordance with the sentencing."
"Sentencing?" I caught a glimpse of myself again in the mirror, hair dark and sleep-wild, half-dressed, white shirt voluminous and untucked, my nose stark and sharp and the new lines tight around my eyes and mouth. I'd lost my cuff links under a mound of ash. I looked exactly as I felt: a man thrown off center.
"Oh. There's no official trial,"