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Book Review

Book Cover

Dragon Age
The Stolen Throne


Author: David Gaider
Titan Books
RRP: £6.99, US $14.99
ISBN: 978 1 8485 6753 5
Available 01 March 2010

The young prince Maric has long been on the run with his mother and her rebel army, which is trying to wrest back the stolen realm of Ferelden. When his mother is killed in an ambush Maric finds himself cut off from the army and on the run. A chance meeting with the outlaw Loghain sets in motion events which will culminate in him regaining his stolen throne...

The Stolen Throne is a fantasy novel written by David Gaider and based on Bioware's Dragon Age console game.

The above sentence sent shivers down my spine and did the original thought when I received this book for review. I am not a natural fan of fantasy novels, which either spend too much time trying to emulate The Lord of the Rings or suffer from the handicap that the author has spent so much time constructing their imaginary world, obsessively renaming ordinary objects to the point of making their book unreadable and their characters mere ciphers, so I was more than a little surprised just how much I liked the book.

I have never played the Bioware game, though I may well be tempted to if the script is as good as the prequel books. Making the books happen before the start of the game's story has a number of benefits, Gaider is not restricted to having to write what would be little more than a tie-in novel and his imagination is free to run wild.

Thankfully the book avoids the second criticism, true there are new lands with their own names and characters to meet, but the prose style is pretty straight forward with only a minimum of novel words and even then there are never enough to pull you out of the plot.

Another plus for the book is that it does not attempt to present its characters than anything other than ordinary people, with all their faults, in extraordinary circumstances. Maric is not your ordinary fantasy hero, he is plagued by self doubt and uncertain if he is even capable of wresting his country back from the invaders. He makes mistakes, but he also grows as the novel progresses. His friendship with Loghain, another well drawn character, exposes his character traits to the reader. Maric is sensitive, witty, a good friend and a good man, it was very easy to warm to his character.

With regards to the first criticism, well yes there are elves, dragons and sundry other fantasy staples, however for once these are integrated into a very believable world. Overall the book is very well written with a nice balance of big battle scenes and more intimate moments.

Gaider has a good ear for dialogue and a good eye for character and I would happily recommend even non fantasy fans to pick up a copy. If he can keep this up he might even make a convert out of me.


Charles Packer

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