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    TOR, May 2003

    For three hundred years, the Priestesses, guided by the Mistress of Dragons, have defended their kingdom against the dragons that rule the rest of mankind. Melisande, High Priestess, lives to serve the Mistress who is now growing old. What Melisande doesn't know is that the entire legend is based on a lie. Dragons exist, but their role is far more complicated than the simple black-white struggle that Melisande has been taught.

    Draconas is a walker--one of the few dragons allowed to reshape themselves into human form and move among the weaker race. Even in his human form, magic barriers prevent his entering the kingdom protected by the Mistress. But someone is murdering dragons--someone has stolen the secret of dragon magic and is teaching it to humans. Draconas is sent as a spy to determine who has broken the ancient Dragon laws--and end the threat to the peace that dragons have been attempting to establish between their race and the humans.

    Margaret Weis (see more reviews of novels by Weis) develops an enthralling world of dragons and humans. Draconas, along with King Edward, scale the mountains that separate Edward's kingdom from that of the Mistress. Although their search is successful, what they discover is worse than either had feared. Dragons have violated all of the basic laws of their kind and are systematically gaining in strength, using humans with dragon magic to extend their sway. If allowed to continue, they may overthrow the Dragon Parliament. And even Draconas is powerless to stop them.

    Weis's strong writing and interesting characters more than compensate for several plot holes that would otherwise detract from the reader's enjoyment (specifically, Draconas's original plan to use Edward to help him enter the Mistress's kingdom doesn't make sense and, in fact, is dropped without any mention). Draconas, in particular is a complex and interesting character.

    MISTRESS OF DRAGONS is the lead book in a new series. I'll look forward to seeing the next.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 6/18/03

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