If you are a regular reader then I'm sure you are already aware, but I'm in the middle of writing my first fantasy novel called Then a Penguin Walked In.

You weren't aware? Well, good news, you can read it while I write it, just go HERE.

Anyway, I have great love for the fantasy genre. In fact, you could say that I cut my reading teeth on fantasy. I mean, from age twelve all the way up through my early thirties, fantasy books were pretty much the only thing I read (apart from Douglas Adams, Stephen King, and the occasional Star Wars book).Yet, to be honest, I don't read much of it anymore.

But then, in the summer of 2016, I began to get the kernels of an idea for Then a Penguin Walked In, and it got me all nostalgic for the books of my youth. So I've been trying, since then, to go back and read all those old books I'd read many times before. But here's the thing, I'd gotten rid of most of those books long, long ago. So it took a bit of doing, and the local library, to track some of this stuff down . . . and I've barely touched the surface.

Recently I lamented the loss of a trilogy I once owned called Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn by Tad Williams. I gave them away to a local library thinking that I'd just go check them out whenever I wanted to read the series again. Yet, when I tried just that not too long ago, I found that they no longer had them. There was much crying and gnashing of teeth at that point.

Then I set myself on the path of tracking these books down, starting with the first book in the trilogy, the Dragonbone Chair.

Sure, I could have just ordered the books on Amazon, but if you know me, if you are a regular reader, then you know that I have no disposable income. I can't buy things that aren't necessary for survival. Food, shelter, clothing. That's what my money goes to for the time being. So I had to get a hold of these books in some other fashion that did not include stealing.

Well, thanks to a deal through Audible, I have been able to borrow, and listen to, the Dragonbone Chair audio book.

It was everything I remember it being back in 1989 or 1990 (I can't recall when I bought the book originally, only that it was released on hardback in 1988 and I bought it on paperback).

Set in the fantasy world of Osten Ard, the Dragonbone Chair tells the tale of Simon, a scullery and servant who lives and works in the Hayholt, the castle of King John Presbyter. Simon is an orphan. His father died before he was born and his mother passed bringing him into the world. He was raised by Rachel the Dragon, Mistress of the chamber maids.

The King dies, leaving his oldest son, Elias, to rule.

Elias is a bit of a jerk, especially to his younger brother, Josua, who lost a hand trying to save Elias' wife. He failed, which is why Elias hates him.

But then Elias gets into some bad stuff, pushed there by his adviser, the creepy and hairless priest, Pryrates. Doors are opened that shouldn't be opened and everything goes to crap.

Simon has to leave the Hayholt. I'm not going to tell you why. It's a spoiler. But he escapes by the skin of his teeth and that's where the book really opens up.

I really enjoyed this book, each time I've read it. This was Game of Thrones before Game of Thrones was even a thing. Yes, I know that Game of Thrones is just the title of the first book in the series, A Song of Ice and Fire, but with the show, it's just easier to say Game of Thrones . . . yet I still typed all that out.


Anyway, I've read both series (well, full disclosure, I still have one book left in A Song of Ice and Fire), and I'll be honest with you, I prefer Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn.

In fact, according to Wikipedia:

Williams has also had an influence on other authors in his genre. His Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series was one of the works that inspired George R. R. Martin to write A Song of Ice and Fire. "I read Tad and was impressed by him, but the imitators that followed—well, fantasy got a bad rep for being very formulaic and ritual. And I read The Dragonbone Chair and said, ‘My god, they can do something with this form,’ and it's Tad doing it. It’s one of my favorite fantasy series." Martin incorporated a nod to Williams in A Game of Thrones with "House Willum": The only members of the house mentioned are Lord Willum and his two sons, Josua and Elyas, a reference to the royal brothers in The Dragonbone Chair.

The only problem I had with the Dragonbone Chair is that I'm well and fully pumped to read the next book, Stone of Farewell, but I've yet to be able to track it down. But I will, I hope. I mean, the Dragonbone Chair ends of a bit of a cliff hanger.

Still, I'm thankful to get what I did. The Dragonbone Chair is chock full of interesting and fleshed out characters and creatures. The world of Osten Ard feels like a real place, not one I'd like to visit, but real all the same.

And what about that amazing cover by Michael Whelan. He did all three covers to Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn and they all kick serious butt.

So thank you, Tad Williams. Thank you for the Dragonbone Chair. I loved it because it drew me in and made me care about the characters I was supposed to care about, and hate those I was supposed to hate. It also made me want to read more. Thankfully there is more to read.

Stone of Farewell is next, followed by To Green Angel Tower.

But it doesn't end there!

Just recently Tad Williams ventured back into the world of Osten Ard with four more books!

The Heart of What Was Lost - Released in January of 2017
The Witchwood Crown - Released June of 2017
Empire of Grass - Forthcoming
The Navigator`s Children - Forthcoming

So yeah, that's reason enough for excitement.

If you like the free content I put out there each week, and feel so inclined to throw a little bit of support my way, it would surely be appreciated.

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