The Fall of Dragons (The Traitor Son Cycle #5)

The Fall of Dragons Book Cover The Fall of Dragons
The Traitor Son Cycle
Miles Cameron
Fantasy
Gollancz
October 19, 2017
Paperback
560

The blood-thirsty, epic Traitor Son Cycle comes to its gripping conclusion in this fifth and final book.

In the climax of the Traitor Son Cycle, the allied armies of the Wild and the Kingdoms of men and women must face Ash for control of the gates to the hermetical universe, and for control of their own destinies. But exhaustion, treachery and time may all prove deadlier enemies.

In Alba, Queen Desiderata struggles to rebuild her kingdom wrecked by a year of civil war, even as the Autumn battles are fought in the west. In the Terra Antica, The Red Knight attempts to force his unwilling allies to finish the Necromancer instead of each other.

But as the last battle nears, The Red Knight makes a horrifying discovery...all of this fighting may have happened before.

 

The Fall of Dragons marks the end of the Traitor Son Cycle. The story picks up immediately where A Plague of Swords left off; no time skip this time around. Miles Cameron has long since found his footing with this series and written it as a true epic. The first book feels somewhat standalone, but the others all segway into each other marvelously. On structuring, the Traitor Son Cycle is a bit like The Lord of the Rings. Each book is more of Part I through Part V than standalone novels. The series could be read like one giant volume that was only split up because the publisher insisted.

Miles Cameron, as a historical scholar, knows what he is talking about when it comes to a medieval setting. The function of politics in those times, the use of different weapons by soldiers, the way armies maneuvered around each other, and other relevant factors all come into play throughout the series. On top of that, he manages to artfully weave fantastical creatures and magic into the real-world elements. All the while it produces this incredible story that focuses as strongly on the characters as people as on the events reshaping them and the world they live in.

There is so much happening throughout this book. Armies are engaged in a war spanning the world and POVs jump between the various conflicts throughout. Cameron seems to have polished this part of his writing a bit as the series progressed. Some chapters are short, others are long; some events need more detail than others. By the end very little is unresolved; the sub-plots are wrapped up as neatly as the main conflict. And all throughout, everything feels real. People die, friend and foe alike, as the war rages towards its end.

Compared to the other books, particularly A Plague of Swords, The Fall of Dragons feels a bit rushed. There is little time for the characters to stand around and talk in this final segment. If they are not fighting, they are catching their breath between battles. And despite the sheer level of everything happening, it is made very clear that this is a small piece of a much larger story. Wars of this scale have happened before. If the survivors and their descendants are not careful, it will happen again. Yet despite this sense of a greater history, the story in no way feels incomplete. While this is a small chapter of the world’s history, it is The Red Knight’s story. And just as his story started with the actions of others, who is to say what new stories will evolve from his legacy?

January 20, 2019

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