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The Adamantine Palace Hardcover – 19 Mar 2009

3.9 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (19 Mar. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575083735
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575083738
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.4 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 898,607 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Deas does scary dragons very well. The plot moves along briskly and surprises occur. Promising enough and neatly set up for a sequel. (Jonathan Wright SFX)

[Dragons] are restored to all their scaly, fire-breathing glory. The tale rattles along at a nifty pace with action and intrigue. (Peter Ingham THE DAILY TELEGRAPH)

With the dragon's destructive abilities never far from his mind [Deas] puts on a good show. The story runs like a whippet, while its politics keep up the amusement with Jehal's relentless treachery. This is a better first book than many, and good fun. (Francis Smallfield DEATHRAY)

The Adamantine Palace is a fast, furious and entertaining book that grabs hold of the reader and whisks them off like a rollercoaster. The dragons, as promised, indeed kick ass and the book's ending is enticing enough to make the year-long-wait for the second volume feel irritating. (THE WERTZONE)

"In short: dragons, intrigue, poison, mercenaries and a Big Dark History. If you like that sort of thing then this is definitely worth a look. (SANDSTORM REVIEWS)

Full of everything that I like about fantasy right now; strong characters, a complex plot and loads of dragons. These dragons are brutal and vicious predators that are only held in check by human ingenuity, Deas does a great job of showing the reader just what these animals are capable of and that's before they are freed from captivity... When that happens, Deas ramps things up to a completely different level with awesome displays of draconic power and cunning. (GRAEME'S FANTASY BOOK REVIEW)

It is a difficult thing to write a novel that uses many of the icons of High Fantasy and make it enjoyable; this is something though that Stephen has done here. The book is an entertaining mix of Pern and Westeros, with the knowing characterisation of Abercrombie and the endearment of Novik. (SFF WORLD)

Giving the book its edgier, more contemporary look meanwhile, are the characters and plot. At first glance, a cast of scheming princes and queens, over the hill kings, and money-hungry sell-swords may seem overly familiar, but Stephen does a great job of constantly surprising the reader. It's a fun and entertaining debut that will appeal to fans of both classic and contemporary fantasy. In short, Gollancz has discovered another winner. (FANTASY BOOK CRITIC)

"Roll over McCaffrey, there's a new Dragon Lord in town." (Gareth Wilson FALCATTA TIMES)

....a busy, fast-paced narrative. (Lisa Tuttle THE TIMES) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

Betrayal, deceit, savage power-plays, brutal politics and dragons. The arrival of an exciting new talent on the fantasy scene.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
With Dragons having been done to death in the fantasy world, a new author always has to come up with something new to thrill and fascinate the reader. After all we've been treated to the mythical beast in many forms from the Dragon Riders of Pern to the Napoleonic War with dragons in Temeraire. So what has Stephen brought to the fore that changes this from the typical formulaic approach?

Firstly the dragons are enslaved to mankind and then only to the nobility who use them shamelessly more as horses than beasts of intelligence, yet it isn't until one of the beasts shakes off the effects of millennia of human drugs that we get to see the creature in all its glory as a small band of humans aid the White Dragon in seeking freedom for all.

Secondly we have a tale that blends mystery, intrigue and above all politic double dealing that will confuse and surprise any readers as the intricate politics of court twist and turn more than a snake doing the Twist with a whole host of fully formed three dimensional characters. Top it off with a Spartan descriptive style so the reader can jump straight into the main course (and a side dish of revenge) and you've got a book to thrill the readers of numerous ages.

The books fun, the books lively and above all it's a different take that allows the readers to get behind the underdog (in this case the dragons) as well as fulfilling the needs and wants of a modern reader. Roll over McCaffrey, there's a new Dragon Lord in town.
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Format: Paperback
There is a lot of promise in this book. A truly malevolent and ruthless cast list. A fast moving story with a twisting and turning plot line...and yet the author somehow fails to harness all this potential and something was missing. I never quite got those feverish page turning attacks that keep the bedside light glowing late into the night. Also I never really cared that much when cast members died and I was never sure who's side I was on.

I felt the dialogue was a little stilted and predictable and the characterisation a little flacid when compared to masters like Abercrombie and GRR Martin.

I would normally groan a bit at the use of Dragons, but they here, the best part of the story and I liked the idea of them awakening from their drugged state and discovering their true nature. The story ended with enough going on to finally kindle my interest just as it was ending. I have the next book in the series and will definately read it in the not too distant future, but I will be hoping for a bit more colour and excitement.
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By Chantal Lyons VINE VOICE on 12 April 2010
Format: Paperback
The Adamantine Palace begins with an interesting premise: dragons, once hunters of humans, are now slaves to them, kept in check by alchemists' potions. But one day a single dragon goes missing, threatening to undo everything the humans have done since they triumphed over the dragons.

It's a relatively light read, one that can be finished in a few days, and perhaps not for readers who like narrative padded with description and well-rounded world-building; the book is a little thin in these aspects. The characterisation of the power-hungry characters is also a little flat. Neither does it help that there are few if any sympathetic characters in the entire novel; at first, the rogue dragon is endearing in her innocence, but as she learns more about the reality of the world she becomes merciless and as hard to like as the humans.

The key weakness of the novel is that it hinges on "Machiavellian" politics (the blurb's words, not mine) rather than the rogue dragon, but Deas just isn't a skilled-enough writer to justify this. You get the sense that he aspires to the level of George RR Martin, but he just hasn't reached it. It's all confusion and no excitement, and as a result you simply end up not caring, and scanning over these parts.

Nevertheless, it's still a book worth reading and I will probably be buying the sequel. It's mildly gripping (the dragon's parts, at least), and there a few lines that'll make you snort/laugh in amusement. It's not wholly satisfying, but you could do worse.
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Format: Paperback
Deas has a complicated plot. One strand follows the machinations of an assortment of princes and princesses each hoping to be the next Speaker (roughly, Overlord). Another strand follows a previously tamed dragon becoming wild and setting off to free others of her kind. Unfortunately, Deas is too busy trying to do everything to get anything right. He shoots through the political scheming too fast, so that the reader is simply bewildered, and can't work out who anyone is, who they are scheming with / betraying / pretending to betray (I told you it was complicated!) or why. The dragon side of the story is at least comprehensible, but not very good reading; readers are clearly meant to sympathize with the dragon, but it is mostly presented as an engine of destruction without much attempt at personality.
More than anything else, Deas' book lacks even one genuinely sympathetic character. Everyone in the book is ruthless, greedy, treacherous, or dangerous. It is actually quite a depressing read.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I generally like the idea of the story and the world that has been created. the dragons are nice as well and their history too. however, the humans and their world are a massive letdown. the whole story turns around a handfull of humans and their power play; the rest of the world is forgotten. you learn nothing of the common people, what the world looks like "on the ground". all you hear about are castles, fortresses, the sky and clouds. the politics that are taking place are meaningless because they have no impact on the world, it's all about personal gain of a few people. the alliances are not explored in depth, the links between the main characters are too weak, the politics don't draw you in, the characters are too shallow.

i like the concept and the idea behind the story, but it would have been nicer to explore the story in more depth. i was hoping that this issue was because this book was a debut and the sequel might be better. so I read the second book as well, but it doesn't get better, unfortunately. this book is not for me.
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