The Fire Dragon is the third book in the Dragon Mage sequence. In this book we spend about half of our time in the past, concluding the storyline concerning Lillorigga, princess Bellyra, Maddyn the bard and the prince Maryn. The second half of the book shifts the plot forwards concerning Rhodry, Dallandra, Niffa, Raena and the dragon Arzosah.
In my opinion this is by far the best book written by Katharine Kerr in the whole Deverry series. I was gripped throughout. Of necessity considering the curse of the dweomer tablet, the first half of the story was bleak and heartbreaking. A number of my very favourite characters from this particular timeline came to fairly dire ends, which left me close to tears. Each of the various characters was treated with respect, except for Maryn and Oggyn - by the end of this section, it became very easy to hate both of them.
I was mightily relieved that Rhodry's story pushed forwards - but the ending to the book also left me near weeping with how sad, and yet how appropriate it was. Rhodry truly stepped forward to save the people he both cared for and had grown apart from. He and Arzosah became true soul mates in terms of how they viewed each other.
The other character that came into her own in this novel was Dallandra. I made no secret in my reviews of the previous Deverry books that I held a great dislike for this Elven dweomer master. Her treatment of Aderyn and the way she pandered to Evandar's every whim annoyed me intensely, and every part of her journey seemed particularly boring in comparison to the other threads of the story that were occurring. However, here she became a compassionate and wise teacher, someone who put others before herself and sought only to do what is right - including trying at the very end to redeem Raena.
This novel left a very powerful impact, and I sense that Kerr is starting to unwind the real crux of the Deverry tale. I look forward eagerly to more.
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