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Dragons Deal (Dragon Series) Paperback – December 7, 2010
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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Praise for Robert Asprin's Dragons series:
“Asprin tackles a new kind of comic fantasy…featuring a likable rake and plenty of action and quirky humor.”—Library Journal
“Joyous fantasy with continuous action and a creative cast of characters.”—SFRevu
“A fun fantasy frolic.”—Midwest Book Review
About the Author
Robert (Lynn) Asprin was born in 1946. While he has written some stand alone novels such as Cold Cash War, Tambu, The Bug Wars and also the Duncan and Mallory Illustrated stories, Bob is best known for his series: The Myth Adventures of Aahz and Skeeve; the Phule novels; and, more recently, the Time Scout novels written with Linda Evans. He also edited the groundbreaking Thieves World anthologies with Lynn Abbey. His most recent collaboration is License Invoked written with Jody Lynn Nye. It is set in the French Quarter, New Orleans where he currently lives.
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In fact he has moved up so fast that the Krewe of Fafnir-dragon society selects him to serve as the king of the Mardi Gras parade. He has mixed feelings about leading the parade, but the honor is too big of a thrill for him to ignore as his ego is ready to explode with pride. However, he may have crapped out as fuming dragons loathe the newcomer's rise, which means he clawed them out of the way. They form a cartel to bankrupt his casino and other businesses. His superego blinds him to the internal threat until an employee is killed leading to NOPD Detective Harrison investigating and Griff realizing the raging dragon fire could destroy him, his sister, their friends and their adopted city as all hail the king but some want to hail a new ruler.
This is an enjoyable lighthearted entry in the Griffen McCandles urban fantasy as the lead character's ego gets out of control with the honors bestowed on him so he fails to see the danger from jokers within. Not as humorous as Robert Asprin, who died in 2008, was known for in his tales, Jody Lynn Nye has taken control of the series. Griffen continues his coming of age growth; finally he understanding that with great power comes great responsibility and as his business degree reminds him also great accountability. With a wild family affair final twist setting up the next thriller, Dragons Deal is a fun fantasy frolic.
The Dragon series was a wonderful return to Mr. Aspirin's writing style. There were many elements it shared with the early Myth books in fact. The inexperienced and often in over his head protagonist who attracts a bevy of highly capable compatriots while somehow ending up in a position of leadership. In this case, he has more talent of his own but its still a familiar theme for fans of Mr. Aspirin's early works.
In recent decades, most of Mr. Aspirin's works had been co-written with, many people would say primarily written by, other authors. This was due possibly to financial issues, but also to a very long and noted writers block. What made the first two books so wonderful is they were written by Mr. Aspirin alone, the first such books in many years.
The third book was released after his death. Its unclear how much of the book was completed prior to his death, but there are numerous ways the third book fails to follow the first two. First, the characterizations of some of the characters of the book aren't consistent with the earlier two books. In one case, his assistant Jerome, is said to only now be forgiving having been passed over for leadership by the protagonist. In the first two books there was never such tension, in fact Jerome was core to recruiting the protagonist and was clear he was excited to throw in his lot and ride his coat tails given perceived future opportunities. Similarly, the asian girlfriend who returns to the protagonist did so in part bringing a secret offer of allegiance from the younger generation of Asian dragons, while pretending to still serve the elder Asian dragons. In the third book, this subplot is apparently completely forgotten and she's serving the elders only.
There are other examples, but generally it feels like the book perhaps had a general storyline, and Ms Nye scanned over the earlier two books without paying that much attention to them and tried to write a book around that storyline. It no longer feels like Mr. Aspirin's prose and the characters don't really feel quite like his characters. As a book in its own right its a fun read and I would have scored it higher, but as the final book in Mr. Aspirin's last hurrah as a solo author before his untimely demise, it probably shouldn't have been written.
In the previous volume, rumor had it that the Grifter killed Slim. The shapeshifters and Garous decided to check out the rumors. Tammy went along with the Garous.
Harrison was very mad at Griffen. He crashed the party and witnessed the mad dragon. Then Rose closed the case.
In this novel, Griffen McCandles is a nearly pureblood dragon. He is also very good at cards. Grifter is currently running a gambling ring in New Orleans.
Valerie McCandles is Griffen's younger sister. Val is living in the same complex as Griffen, but is working as a bartender.
Mai is an Eastern dragon. She had been Griffen's girlfriend in his college days. Now she is his liaison with the Asian dragon elders.
Jerome had been Griffen's friend, drug source, and fellow card player back in school. Now he is the Grifter's right hand man.
David Harrison is a NOPD vice detective. Harry spends most of his duty time in the French Quarter. He knows Griffen as an up and coming leader in the gambling ring, but only recently discovered that he is a dragon.
Melinda is the mother of Lizzy and Nathaniel. She is a power among dragons in the northeast.
Jesse Lee is an Eastern dragon and a dealer for the Grifter. He had dealt for the Asian dragons before going to Griffin's crew.
Etienne de la Fee is Captain of the Fafnir Krewe. They have not had a parade for Mardi Gras since the War.
Jordan Ma, Rebecca Tan, Winston Long and Peter Sing are players. Peter has played in the World Poker Roundup seven times. They are working for the Asian dragon elders.
Rose is the ghost of a voodoo queen. She is a friend of Griffen.
In this story, Val is having morning sickness. Mai is comforting her in her misery. Mai points out that dragons have difficulties getting pregnant.
Then Melinda calls Val. She mentions that Lizzie is badly injured, but apologizes for her daughter's behavior. Then she offers to help Val with the pregnancy.
Mai tells Val to stay away from Melinda. Val admits that Melinda is already in New Orleans. Mai firmly suggests that Val notify Griffin immediately about the situation.
Griffin is talking with Etienne about becoming King of the Fafnir Krewe. Etienne and his Krewe have been working on getting permits and other required items for two years. Fafnir is the Dragon Krewe and Griffin is the top dragon in New Orleans.
Etienne tells Griffin that he will not have any responsibility for the parade itself. As captain, Etienne is responsible for organizing and managing the parade. Griffen will only have to sit on the float and fling throws to the crowd.
Etienne also tells Griffin that the price of kingship is high. In addition to the normal fees and costs, he can also look forward to the king's party for two hundred or more guests. Griffin isn't sure that he can afford the honor.
Griffin decides to think about it and talk it over with his friends and advisors. Etienne knows that Griffin will say yes. He has had dreams about Griffin becoming King for years.
Jesse is on his way to see his girl friend. It's late, but she will be waiting. Two thugs are following him. If they intend to mug him, they will get a surprise.
Griffen is called down to the morgue. Jerome intercepts him at the door and tells him that Jesse is dead. Harrison takes him back to see the body. It has scales and a single claw.
Meanwhile, Jordan Ma plays in a game run by the Grifter's crew. He touches three decks and learns their order. He drives one player with no noticeable tells out of the game and then frames another player as a cheat.
The dealer calls Jerome and explains the situation. Jerome offers to return their money with a ten percent premium. None of the players are happy about the game, except Jordan.
Rebecca Tan, Winston Long and Peter Sing also disrupt games and start rumors about Griffin. The Grifter is losing money and players. All is going according to plan.
This tale has Griffin in over his head again. He knows little about the Mardi Gras festivities. His gaming revenues are falling below usual levels. And the Feds are back in town.
Griffen beginning to hate coordinating social affairs. The next installment in this sequence is Dragons Run.
Recommended for Asprin fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of magical creatures, the Big Easy, and developing characters. Read and enjoy!
-Arthur W. Jordin