Dragons of Hourglass Mage (Book Review) Lost Chronicles, Volume III
Hardback book-cover for Dragons of Hourglass Mage
Raistlin Majere, a Fantasy Legend
This review will reveal details about this book which could be considered deleterious to your reading experience. You've been warned.
Fans of the Dragonlance Saga have been waiting for this story to be told for almost twenty years. But a select few have always known this dark and secret chapter to our favorite wizard's journey (Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman, and a select few) and have finally, and graciously decided to fully explore it, and share it with us.
This book is titled "Dragons of the Hourglass Mage: The Lost Chronicles, Volume Three
" and takes place in the time-period in between the middle of Dragons of Spring Dawning (Dragonlance Chronicles, Book 3)
and the end of that book. The precise time in which this book takes place is directly after Raistlin betrays his brother Caramon and, his friends, to certain death in the clutches of a legendary maelstrom in the middle of the blood-sea. Raistlin, having become increasingly confident in his mastery over the Dragon Orb, uses his new found powers to save himself; while in the process condemning his loved ones to an unavoidable death.
Raistlin's got it all figured out, right?
We've always wondered "what was Raistlin doing in between that pivotal betrayal, and his dramatic appearance beneath the Dark Queen herself in that final confrontation with the evil Emperor Arirakas?"
I think we all just naturally assumed Raistlin continued on his perfectly devised plan, and showed up at the exact right time with the exact powers he needed to do his thing. Well ... That's not entirely true.
Dragons of Hourglass Mage explores Raistlin's uncharacteristic tumult in dealing with the death of his brother. In some ways, the murder of his brother. Raistlin often wonders to himself "Could I have saved him? Would my magic have been strong enough to save him?" The answer makes his soul quiver. The quiver is then followed body a body-racking cough, and the soft dabbing of blood from his withering lips.
Here are the original books in the Dragonlance Series known as the Chronicles
The mysterious key, and his monumentous failure
Raistlin appears, through the corridors of magic opened by the orb, in the mighty city of Palanthas. But he does not appear like a mighty archmage who just cheated death, but a humbled, pathetic wizard casting two shadows on the doorstep of the all-knowing Astinus.
Raistlin's time in the Library at Palanthas is explored in part in Dragons of Spring Dawning, but is not simply glossed over in this book. Raistlin had made the choice to dawn the black robes (walk the self-serving path of evil) while desperately searching for a way to keep both of himselves' alive. During his search his pleads for his life with Astinus. Astinus inadvertently gives Raistlin the mystery "key" - a fragment of knowledge - that empowers him with the knowledge and motivation to accomplish one of his most desired goals.
To cast only one shadow.
His plan nearly costs him those hourglass eyes of his, and that golden hide!
I'll will travel the corridors of magic, easily bypassing the security in Neraka, and appear before the Dark Queens followers, in all my majesty, in the middle of her unholy temple! They will recoil in shock, to only feel the awe of my presence. Takhisis, the Goddess of Fear, will be so impressed with my powers she will immediately recruit me into her ranks, and put me to work for the side of the army destined to win this war!
His audacious plan lands him where he planned it to, but what he was not expecting was that no one was impressed. Instead, they immediately labeled him a threat and took him to the dungeons where he faced fear like he's never known before. Hidous masked executioners frothing at the mouth to hear the word from their master, the Nightlord, that they were to "Adjudicate" the intruder.
An unexpected adventure, akin to the Soulforge and Brothers in Arms
The book explores his escape from the dungeon and the befriending of the beautiful, cunning, and ostensibly evil Iolanthe. He quickly learns that his tactics and his plans are not very well accepted in the evil city - military stronghold - of Neraka. He is forced to bide his time, think, and form his plan.
He discovers humility, gets a lowly job cleaning slobber and cooking cabbage, and is forced to mix potions like a factory to make ends meet. While not the focus of the book, or the plot, these elements felt nostalgically similar to the lifestyle type of writing found in The Soulforge (Dragonlance: The Raistlin Chronicles, Book 1)
and Brothers in Arms (Dragonlance: Raistlin Chronicles, Book 2)
Conclusion, Politics, and the Hourglass of Time
Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman explore writing styles from The Chronicles, The Legends Trilogy, The Raistlin Chronicles, and Lost Souls, and in Dragons of Hourglass Mage they highlight (reinforce) their ability to create engaging material, classic characters, and imagery that keeps you up at night craving the next scene.
You're the spectator while Raistlin continues his battle with the most vile, wretched, and powerful sorcerer who has ever lived - Fistandantilus. He tries everything. He battles the leech of a specter in his mind. He enters the realm of the Dragon Orb and fights the wizard in the ethereal plane, and surprisingly he confronts the evil Archmage whos mysteriously assumed a physical body! The wild an unexpected thing is that Raistlin wins ... We all know what happens in the Legends books, and that famed comment made by Fizban in the end of Spring Dawning, and it is for these things that I was so surprised when Raistlin displays his ascendancy over Fistandantilus. Could he truly have won?
Dragons of Hourglass Mage spends a significant amount of time exploring the interesting politics and plights of the wizards Conclave in the tower of high sorcery in Wayreth. You really get to enjoy the dynamic between the heads of the White, Red, and Black Robes as they all face destruction at the hands of not only the dark queen, Takhisis ... but the wicked black robe, Raistlin Majere.
I think it is possible to have read this review and not have totally spoiled the adventure if you haven't read it already. This review is vague enough for the uninitiated to immediately need to run out and buy the book and read it, but allusive enough to inspire several head nods and sighs from vets who have already read the book.
It is an excellent read, and great adventure, and fills a much needed gap in the historical, dare I say legendary, Dragaonlance Saga.
Buy Dragons of Hourglass Mage, the Lost Chronicles Volume III - this is where I got my copy.
Get the hardback at a price that can't be beat. Plus, it ships pretty quick.
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