In this incredible conclusion to the epic fantasy saga, continuing from When Dragons Rage, New York Timesbestselling author Michael A. Stackpole returns to a world of mystery, prophecy, and magick, where dreams-for better or worse-can come true...The Grand CrusadeThe hope of the future, Will Norrington, prophesied to bring down the northern tyrant Chytrine and redeem the world, is said to be dead, lost in the heart of a fiery volcano. The news has thrown the Council of Kings into a furor and drained the spirit from once united factions. As questions swirl about as to Will's legacy, and even his identity, one thing is clear: a divided alliance lacks power. And this may be exactly the opening Chytrine needs to seize control-and capture the empowering artifact, the DragonCrown-once and for all.
The last volume in Stackpole's DragonCrown trilogy (after 2002's When Dragons Rage) should please his many fans with its large helpings of violence, intrigue and plot twists. Still reeling from the unexpected death of prophecy-bound hero Will Norrington, his friends and allies struggle to marshal a coherent defense against the sorceress-dragon Chytrine, whose forces continue to further fracture the squabbling nations of the Southlands. Should Chytrine gain all the long-ago scattered pieces of the legendary DragonCrown, she'll be able to reconstruct the crown and open the way for the return of the treacherous Oromise, an ancient race long banished from the world. With Will Norrington gone, only a handful of heroes can stand against her: the young upstart sorcerer Kerrigan Reese, the charismatic war leader Princess Alexia of Okrannel and her lover, Crow, and the Vorquelf Resolute. While Chytrine schemes with King Scrainwood and manages to kidnap Sayce, Will's pregnant lover, the blind seeress Oracle has a vision that suggests all is not lost. This is fantasy on the most epic of scales, with plenty of bloody conflict and treacherous double-dealing. Readers new to the series will be at a distinct disadvantage, but those who can successfully navigate a course through the dense backstory in the opening chapters will find plenty of excitement and adventure. (Dec. 30) FYI: Stackpole is also the bestselling author of titles in the Star Wars X-Wing series. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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December 31, 2002
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Excerpt from The Grand Crusade by Michael A. Stackpole
Princess Alexia of Okrannel raised a gloved hand to shade her eyes as the green dragon upon which she rode dipped his right wing and began a lazy circle. Below lay Narriz, dusted in snow and spread out in several concentric semicircles emanating from the crescent harbor to the west. King Fidelius' castle stood on the highest hill, with a clutch of cylindrical white towers that soared toward the sky. The brightly colored flags and pennants flapping away added an element of reality that banished any hope that she was dreaming.
Beneath her the dragon's flesh undulated as powerful muscles drove its wings. Though the air so high was quite frigid, the heat from the green dragon's body made the space beneath a long red cloak quite warm, and she gladly shared that warmth with Crow. She pressed herself against his side, then turned and kissed his scarred right cheek.
He smiled and his brown eyes sparkled. "What was that for?"
"To make sure you don't forget that I love you. And that I support you, no matter what happens below."
He tightened his arm around her shoulder. "Thank you."
The dragon turned his head back toward them. "Perrine is circling the castle's courtyard. We are welcome."
Resolute, a Vorquelf with sharpened elven features, pointed ears, and eyes of pure silver, curled his lip in a sneer. "Hardly welcome, Dravothrak. We will be tolerated until we deliver our news, then we will be reviled. We bring them word that hope has died, and few will have the heart to continue on past that."
Prince Erlestoke of Oriosa adjusted the black mask he wore. "They know they cannot stop you from landing, Dravothrak, so they accept with feigned grace what they cannot prevent."