High Fantasy often faces the criticism that it is a poor reflection of the works that have gone before it, most notably Tolkien. By employing the same basic mythos with a highly Western European (and generally, British) composition, many chide that too much of fantasy falls into this trap and needs to be refreshed with something edgier, or something more original. The end result is generally a poor facsimile that inevitably fails to shine in comparison.
"A Guile of Dragons" is not some mere copy.
Yes, it employs many of the elements that we might quickly label a High Fantasy trope - dwarves, dragons, ancient terrors, and the name Merlin (or at least his son, Morlock). Its important to remember that it is not what elements a writer uses, but how they use them, that brings distinction. Enge does not treat these elements lightly - the history and culture of the dwarves alone are an integral part of this story, hinting at a depth we never see a bottom to. The shortness of the work (@300 pages) is belied by the depth and fullness of the characters that populate it. These are thick characters, populating the pages not because they fill a need but because it is their story to tell.
Set as a prequel for Enge's character, Ambrosius, aka Morlock syr Theorn, "A Guile of Dragons" introduces us to a small cast of recurring characters, each of whom demonstrates a depth and fullness usually reserved for the titular character. Not having read the other books in this milieu proved to not be a problem - as a prequel, it is a well contained volume, beginning with the birth of Morlock, son of Merlin, and the circumstances that place young Morlock in the care of the dwarves of Thrymhaiam to the north. This is also the story of Morlock's first real adventure (other feats are alluded to, but nothing so grand), following a metre and pace that is reminiscent of a classic saga even when the story telling is modern.
For in the Northold, the dwarves find themselves cut off from the Graith of Guardians as a guile of dragons invades, reigniting the Longest War from before the dawn of history. Morlock, a thaen of the Graith, adopted son of the dwarves, trapped between both worlds, faces the failings of each as he is thrust into battling the dragons themselves.
Enge, who's unsecret real world identity is a classics professor, demonstrates that a writer is influenced by the books and life you lead. "A Guile of Dragons" is a worthy epic for any fantasy reader, containing a surprising depth and fullness that is rarely found in so short a book. I cannot say more about this book without spoiling it, so I will just say that I wholly and heartily recommend that it be read.
~Fantasy Book Addict