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Cannonball Read 09/10 VII

Discussion in 'BoM Blogs' started by Fabius Maximus, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. Fabius Maximus Gems: 19/31
    Latest gem: Aquamarine

    Feb 18, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Book 7: The Gargoyle King by Richard A. Knaak

    Alright, this one's going to be a bit more difficult, because this book is the third of a trilogy. There are major spoilers ahead, for those of you who might want to read The Black Talon and The Fire Rose (what I hereby strongly recommend), you probably want to stop reading this review at some point.

    The Ogre Titans trilogy takes place on the world of Krynn, known through the Dragonlance campaign setting published first by TSR, and the well known novel series Dragonlance Chronicles and Legends written by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Richard Knaak is best known for his contribution of The Legend of Huma, set in the same world.

    In The Ogre Titans, Knaak continues the life story of Golgren, a never before seen hybrid of elf and ogre, who fought his way from slave to warlord in The Minotaur Wars (also written by Knaak). Due to his mixed heritage, Golgren is not as intellectually hampered as his ogre kin. He's also very ambitious and calculating, making him very suited and also successful in becoming the ruler of the united ogre nations of the continent Ansalon. He also wants to give back the ogres a modicum of culture, for they once were a race of unsurmountable beauty, grace, and sophistication. But they became selfish, power-hungry, and were ultimately cursed by the gods to live a barbaric existence in very ugly bodies.

    Golgren becomes ruler by allying himself with the enigmatic ogre titans, ogres who stumbled upon a magical process to enhance themselves though blood sacrifice. They are bigger, stronger, prettier, more intelligent, and claim to be the High Ogres reborn. They also embody all the bad traits of said race. Of course, they see Golgren just as a pawn and strive to replace him when it will suit them. Matters get complicated when two other parties involve themselves in the political intrigues of the ogre nation. It slowly becomes clear that all these players want to get possession of a very powerful magical artifact called The Fire Rose, a tool of change and creation, forged by the fire god Sirrion, who's also responsible for creation. The guy is also a selfish bastard, even by deity standards.

    The second novel in the series concludes when Golgren and Safrag, the leader of the ogre titans, struggle for the artifact. Golgren is defeated, but not killed. With the help of his unreliable ally, the mage Tyranos, he gets back on his feet and sets out to reconquer his realm. Meanwhile, the ogre titans have taken control of capital, and Safrag is completely enraptured by the Fire Rose and continuously reshapes the city, while keeping his titan subjects at bay, who also want to use the artifact. And there is the mysterious Gargoyle King, a powerful mage who commands legions of, well, gargoyles.

    Knaak creates an epic story that starts out small and develops into something much bigger and more threatening, as the Fire Rose could potentially reshape the whole world. The author conveys a sense of urgency and suspense that is rare in this kind of novel. He doesn't screw around, which results in a tight, entertaining story. Knaak's characters are pretty well developed, too. Especially Golgren comes across as a real living being. He's not really a charmer, but he has his moments. Most of the time, you get the impression that he always thinks about his next steps, regardless of what happens, much like a blitz chess player. The secondary characters are no less well written. There is Golgrens personal elf slave Idaria, who loves him, but also spies on him. Tyranos struggles with his heritage and wants to gain the Fire Rose for personal reasons. Safrag behaves much like an addict, constantly reforming his surroundings, but going nowhere. And there are the gods themselves, who, as always in Krynn, meddle in the affairs of mortals and manipulate them towards their own goals, even if their are benign.

    In closing, The Gargoyle King is a very well written book, like it's prequels. I again strongly recommend reading the whole trilogy. Novels in the RPG genre don't get much better than this.
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