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Book Review

Book Cover

Dragon Age


Author: David Gaider
Titan Books
RRP: £6.99, US $15.99
ISBN: 978 0 85768 647 3
Available 23 December 2011

Following a rebellion of mages, an uneasy peace exists between the mages of Val Royeaux and the Templars who are charged with their protection. Unhappily, for the mages, protection means confinement to a single tower. Unease with the existence of the mages reaches boiling point as two events come to the fore. The first is a series of murders in the tower, by an unknown and unseen assailant; the Templars suspect a mage, although only the mage Rhys knows that the killer is an invisible boy called Cole. When a mage makes an attempt on the life of The Divine, the lands spiritual leader Rhys is suspected of not only the murders but possibly also implicated in the assassination attempt. The arrival of his mother changes everything as she requests his presence on an important mission...

Dragon Age: Asunder is the third of the Dragon Age novels penned by David Gaider, who is the lead writer of the console game Dragon Age: Origins. As can be seen from the compressed version of the novels beginning - the plot bobs around a bit; it's part detective novel, part family reunion - until it settles down into the expected quest.

Gathered together is Ser Evangeline, a Knight-Captain of the Templar's, a woman who rejected the pampered life of a lady of leisure to serve the realm. Unlike the other Templar’s, Evangeline does not hate nor fear the mages, but is aware of the damage that they can do if unchecked, during the journey, she slowly gains an appreciation of how the mages feel.

The centre seat for the novel is given over to Rhys, a thoughtful, if a little too wilful mage. Like Evangeline, Rhys is a very well-drawn character; to the extent empathy for the character allows the reader to even accept that he is protecting a murderer. If Evangeline is the muscle of the book, Rhys is its heart.

Adrian is a fellow Mage and friend of Rhys, a real firebrand, always trying to take on what she sees as injustices of their effective captivity.

The last, official member of the party is Rhys’ mother, an enigmatic figure in his life as he was removed at birth. He had met her only once before, but the woman who rescues him from the dungeons is a changed woman.

This is a wonderfully balanced novel, with an emphasis on character. Their journey takes them through many locations from the game. Here Gaider describes enough to entice the new reader into this world, but not so much that it feels like overkill, or loses the interest of readers who are well acquainted with the game.

The real strength of the book, though, are the characters, well drawn and individual. It became a real pleasure to share their journey. Obviously, fans of the games will delight in another adventure in a world they already know, but it’s worth new readers plunging in. Although this is the third book in the series it works excellently as a stand-alone novel.


Charles Packer

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