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The Dragonbone Chair: Book One of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn [Kindle Edition]

Tad Williams
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (370 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $9.99
Kindle Price: $7.50
You Save: $2.49 (25%)
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

A war fueled by the dark powers of sorcery is about to engulf the peaceful land of Osten Ard--for Prester John, the High King, slayer of the dread dragon Shurakai, lies dying. And with his death, an ancient evil will at last be unleashed, as the Storm King, undead ruler of the elvishlike Siti, seeks to regain his lost realm through a pact with one of human royal blood. Then, driven by spell-inspired jealousy and hate, prince will fight prince, while around them the very land begins to die.

Only a small scattered group, the League of the Scroll, recognizes the true danger awaiting Osten Ard. And to Simon--a castle scullion unknowingly apprenticed to a member of this League--will go the task of spearheading the quest for the solution to a riddle of long-lost swords of power...and a quest that will see him fleeing and facing enemies straight out of a legend-maker's worst nighmares!

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

YA-- Williams, author of Tailchaser's Song (NAL, 1986), scores with the first book in another fantasy trilogy. Simon is an ordinary kitchen helper who is taken under the tutelage of the magician Morgenes. When King John Presbyter dies and his son Elias ascends the throne, the way opens for a long-dormant evil to enter the realm. Elias, a pawn of the black magician Pyrates, moves to eliminate his brother Josua, and the brother-against-brother, good-versus-evil clash begins. Simon is thrown in with Josua and muddles through adventure and peril, maturing into a hero by book's end. Williams weaves all of the classic ingredients of fantasy into his tale--trolls, giants, elf-like sithi, and dragons. Simon must travel from drought-stricken lands to ice-bound peaks as he follows his far-seeing dreams. The land of Osten Ard is well created, and readers quickly become immersed in the story. Unfortunately, despite the high adventure and excitement, The Dragonbone Chair leaves many loose ends, so readers, like Simon, are left waiting--for book two.
- Margaret Sloan, Willowridge High School, Sugar Land, Tex.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

As war threatens to rip apart a once peaceful land, a young kitchen boy turned magician's apprentice embarks on a journey that could save his world from the dark machinations of a king gone mad. The author of Tailchaser's Song draws on many mythologies for the background of his fantasy epic, creating a solid story spiced with political intrigue and strong, appealing heroes. Highly recommended. JC
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2104 KB
  • Print Length: 800 pages
  • Publisher: DAW; Reprint edition (March 1, 2005)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00316UMPS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,101 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
151 of 160 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Starts off slow but worth staying with December 26, 2000
By shel99
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
People who have picked up this book fall into two categories: those who gave up after 100 pages or so, saying that it was too slow and didn't hold their interest, and those who stubbornly stuck it out through the slow parts and to their delight, found themselves in the middle of one of the best epic fantasies written so far. Yes, the beginning of the series is a bit long and drawn-out, but it is really worth sticking with.
The basic plot of this book - of this entire series - is nothing new. Those who have read a lot of fantasy will find a lot of familiar elements - the standard young hero coming of age, a mysterious nonhuman race driven out of the land when men first arrived, an ageless wisewoman who seems to know everything, a king corrupted by evil, and magical artifacts of all sorts. The brilliant thing about Tad Williams is that he rises above the cliches to create a story that is more original and less predictable than it should be.
The world of Osten Ard is detailed and very real, and the characters even more so. The cast of characters is very large, yet somehow easy to keep track of (and if the reader gets confused as to who is who, there is an appendix at the end of the book listing all of the names with tips on how to pronounce them). Simon, the main protagonist, grows and changes in the time-honored fashion of kitchen-boys-turned-heroes everywhere, yet the story never feels old or cliched.
Williams is a master storyteller. I would recommend this series to any fan of epic fantasy.
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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great book. June 9, 2000
By Nathan
This is one of the better of those epic fantasy sagas that are out there. Strong writing, good characters and superior world-building are marred only by a lack of originality in the plot.
The story is essentially the same as in most other fantasy trilogies since Lord of the Rings. The invincible evil guy is back from the dead and out for revenge, so the lowly, unknowledgeable kid is suddenly thrust out, aided by a cadre of unlikely characters, to find some sort of talisman to stop the evil dude before he destroys the world, or at least messes it up too badly. However, this same-old story comes off very well due to the author's skill.
The world-building in this story is very good. The entire population of the world doesn't all speak the same language, or have the same religion, or get along with each other. The author doesn't use the same old mix of elves and dwarves and goblins so frequently encountered in other stories of the sort. Rather, we get new races which are essentially the same as the familiar, but with some differences.
The characters are also superb. Simon, the boy, is likable, believable, and pitiable, and his characterization is not only good, but it's consistent. The characters grow logically and believably in this story. Of course, there are some of the compulsory characters as well. There's the witch-woman who's the equivalent of Tolkien's Tom Bombadil, the mentor-figure who dies before he can reveal too much, and the travelling companion who seems to know everything.
The story proceeds logically, but at times it difficult to get through. The names of people and places are exotic and unneededly difficult to pronounce. And the story doesn't even really take off for more than 200 pages.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very personal realism, meets epic fantasy September 15, 2002
The first time I read this series (on the advice of a friend), I found it hard to get through the first half of 'The Dragonbone Chair'. At the time, the only fantasy I had read was Tolkien and a select few mixed series. I was ready to read an epic fantasy, with all the battles and magic to match. What I found Myself reading was a less-than-epic story of the mundane exploits of a kitchen-boy. Or so I thought.
After I got the "feel" for the book It really opened up. For the first time I found Myself actually caring for the characters I was reading about (something even Tolkien's Masterpiece didn't entirely do for Me). Tad Williams writes with a very personal style, actively and effortlessly making you a part of his tale, while bringing such a sense of reality to the unreal it's uncanny. Almost nothing in this series seems completely unbelieveable. From the undying Sithi, to the little folk of the 'Troll-Fells', every character in these books seem like someone you know (or wish you knew). How they act. How they think. You're in their heads for better or worse. And the reality of it is dazzling!
All My Gung-ho loyalties aside, this was an amazing series. As afore-mentioned, What really hooked Me with this series was the realism. I'm sure for some of the die-hard fantasy readers out there, this may sound like an affront on the flashy/Magic-laden fantasy that has been a staple of their literary cuisine. But with Mr. Williams in the kitchen, fantasy and reality mesh into a most enjoyable morsel that goes down easy and leaves you ravenous for more. And yes this series does contain magic. But even magic is given a realistic twist (for the most part). Usually being referred to as "the art", and being applied through the means of natural law.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Genre Original and must read fantasy
One of my favorite series - Tad Williams has a gift of writing magical prose. His characters are alive and engaging, and the story epic. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kristen A. Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book and story
Published 2 months ago by Martha J Weir
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful fantasy
Highly recommended. Great characters, and a fresh look at old themes. One of my favorite epic fantasy series. Definitely worth the read!
Published 3 months ago by Kristal L. Hebden
5.0 out of 5 stars Third Time Through
I first read The Dragonbone Chair back in the 90s and a few years later I reread it and now I've just completed my 3rd trip to Osten Ard and loved every minute of it. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Terry Fowler
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, Bad Kindle Edition
I love this book/series and ordered it on Kindle so I could return to Osten Ard even when I don't have space to bring the giant hardcover editions already on my shelf with me. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Amanda Crowell
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
A bit slow to start, but I understand that something this good needed an excellent foundation before it got into the 'meat' of the story. Read more
Published 3 months ago by mel_rose
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Too many characters, too much jumping from one thing to another
Published 4 months ago by Dorothy Parker
3.0 out of 5 stars Very slow
as much as I enjoyed the book it was dreadfully paved. this is Common for Mr. Williams though. the end was good enough to keep reading the series. I only hope the pace picks up.
Published 4 months ago by Martin Heidorn
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good
I really enjoyed the writing style. The storyline is good, but a little slow. At the end, you definitely get the impression that the story isn't over and need to read the rest of... Read more
Published 4 months ago by TBLO
4.0 out of 5 stars great read
It was a really great read. I did however think that the history was a little rough for me and I had to keep going back and re-reading it just to understand the ramifications. Read more
Published 5 months ago by D. Ernstzen
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More About the Author

Former singer, shoe-seller, radio show host, and inventor of interactive sci-fi television, Tad Williams is now a full-time writer. His 'Memory, Sorrow and Thorn' series established him as an internationally bestselling fantasy author. The series that followed, 'Otherland', is now a multi-million-dollar MMO launching in 2012 from dtp/realU/Gamigo. Tad is also the author of the fantasy series, the 'Shadowmarch' books; the stand-alone Faerie epic, 'The War of the Flowers'; two collections of short stories ('Rite' and 'A Stark and Wormy Knight'), the Shakespearian fantasy 'Caliban's Hour' and, with his partner & collaborator Deborah Beale, the childrens'/all-ages fantasy series, the 'Ordinary Farm' novels. Coming in September 2012 are the Bobby Dollar novels, fantasy thrillers set again the backdrop of the monstrously ancient cold war between Heaven and Hell: the first is 'The Dirty Streets of Heaven.'

Tad is also the author of 'Tailchaser's Song': his first novel spawned the subgenre of cats and fantasy that we see widely today. 'Tailchaser's Song' is currently in preproduction as an animated film from Animetropolis/IDA.

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LE Modesitt Jnr
These books are awesome...the plot goes places most books won't.
Oct 9, 2010 by Shaun |  See all 2 posts
kindle format in the UK Be the first to reply
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