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King's Dragon (Crown of Stars, Book 1) Paperback – 2 Apr 1998

4.1 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Paperback, 2 Apr 1998
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Product details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; New Ed edition (2 April 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857236092
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857236095
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 3.6 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 506,175 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


This could be the breakout book for Kate Elliott . . . what really counts are her characters. Well-drawn and vivid, they come alive as both people from a very foreign place and people we care about. They keep the plot irresistibly moving forward and draw us into her work. The book is solid, exciting and engrossing - a grand and powerful piece of writing all in all. (Katharine Kerr, author of DAGGERSPELL)

Entirely captivating... an indispensible technique in conjuring convincing fictional worlds. (PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY)

enough adventure, suspense, and character development here to reward most readers. (STARBURST)

I look forward avidly to the next volume. (INTERZONE)

Book Description

The first book in what promises to be a gripping and enthralling fantasy epic' - THE TIMES

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 12 July 2004
Format: Paperback
I'm still not sure about this book, though I will probably try the second in the series to see how it progresses.
On the one hand, traditional fantasy fare; a pair of teenagers thrown into events that they would never have dreamt of being involved in a year before, largely seeing the world through their innocent eyes. In other words, derivative of most other fantasy novels, and therefore, as a basis for a book, frankly now rather boring.
On the other hand, it is well written, there are a number of subplots surrounding the central theme, not to mention hints of plots that have yet to be uncovered - presumably in later novels. And above all, a rather more realistic portrayal of such a world than you traditionally get.
But my biggest problem with the novel, and what most discourages me about reading it, and further entries in the series, stems from that realism. The author acknowledges at the front the role various experts on medieval Europe have played in her writing of the series. Which is just the problem - to a large extent the novel is SET in medieval Europe. The Church, in particular, is blatantly the Catholic Church anytime up to around the reformation. She's even hardly bothered to change the names - the pope has become the scopos, bishops are now biscops and so on. The Emperor that people keep referring to is Charlemagne. Frankly, in my fantasy novels, although I like realism, I also like the author to have put a little effort into creating something unique. Kate Elliot hasn't, she's merely changed the names, and introduced references (medieval Europe references, at that) to sorcery. Oh, and she's made women more politically powerful. Much as I think this has potential, I can't get over the feeling that it should really be in the historical fiction section.
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Format: Paperback
An unlikely choice for me, Kings Dragon proved to be a good one. I have never read fantasy and was given this book but have to say it was spell-binding. I was on Liath's side from the beginning, hated Hugh, fell in love with Sanglant, hoped for Alain and was intrigued by Wolfhere, Rosvita and many others. The politics and infighting in this story gave it a realistic feel and the number and calibre of characters give it good pace. Bit too much scripture for my liking but I have gone on to read the 2nd and 3rd in the series aswell as Jaran (which I also consider to be excellent) ... Not bad for a Fantasy Virgin.
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By A. Whitehead TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 Sept. 2007
Format: Paperback
Kate Elliott (the pen-name of American writer Alis A. Ramussen) sensibly starts things off on a small scale with the opening book in the Crown of Stars series. The setting is the continent of Novaria, a fantasised version of Europe in the early medieval period. The opening volume takes place in the unified kingdoms of Wendar and Varre (Germanic states by other names), which through dynastic marriage are now ruled jointly by King Henry. However, his elder half-sister Sabella plots rebellion against him and mobilises the Varren nobles to war. At the same time, the savage nonhuman Eika are heavily raiding the northern coast of the kingdom and besieging the city of Gent, and King Henry's court is involved in intrigue as Henry plots to make his bastard son Sanglant (the result of a union between Henry and an Aoi or elf woman in his youth), his heir, to the displeasure of his eldest legitimate daughter Sapentia.

This opening novel follows three principal characters. Alain is a foundling, raised by his foster-family and promised to the Church. However, the destruction of the local monastary by Eika raiders sets Alain on a new path as his destiny intersects with that of Count Lavastine, who coincidentally once had a bastard son sent to be raised by freeholding family, a decision he now regrets. Readers may groan at this cliche and it is rather predictable in this opening volume. However, Elliott cleverly subverts this expectation in later volumes in the series.

The second POV character is Liath, a beautiful young woman who has spent much of her life on the run with her father, fleeing from unseen, unknown enemies who desire her father's immense knowledge of astrological magic.
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Format: Paperback
This is another one of my faves. The story spans 6 huge books-the last of whch has not yet been published. King's Dragon was extremely good and the only reason it didn't get 5 stars from me was because it was so long and descriptive that it was hard to read for long peiods of time. However if you like a series where the author manages to write a large number of subplots and lets you make the links between them to realise what is happening-then Elliot is the author for you. I have actually been awed at her prowess at being able to link everything in so many subtle ways to ultimately form an intricate story that keeps you on your toes. Not for the lazy minded readers who like to have the story spelled out for them-this one makes you think
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I think that there was a good story underlying this series, but I can't say that I enjoyed reading it. Call me a Philistine but I think books should be a pleasure to read - not just a challenge. For a seven book series to be a pleasure and not a challenge, the author needs to make it easy to read. And that's where old Katie falls down.

First, there was the arcane Shakesperian dialogue. At first this was a neat touch. By the end it was looking like a howling blunder. What it did was it made the book a struggle to read. Contrast this with (say) David Gemmell, Geroge Martin or (outside fantasy) Paul Auster. They're authors whose work glides down like honey. I can get through pages and pages of their work without getting tired. without finding my mind drifting onto other things.

Second, I don't have a brain the size of a planet. My paranoia is where the Marvin resemblance ends. With a series as big as this, I expect to have a cast list at the back of every volume (not just volume 6!) and I expect a recap at the start of volumes 2-7. Even if I'm reading the novels in succession, because of the way my mind's drifting, it's comforting just to have the author confirm to you that you took in the whole story and didn't miss something important.

Third, with multiple story lines, it's good to make it more clear to the reder who we're talking about. George Marin had the great idea of having the name of the viewpoint character in big letters at the start of each chapter and it would have been great if Kate could have copied this. That's a WIBNI - "wouldn't it be nice if". Not a big issue. What I found unforgivable was when the first couple of pages of a chapter didn't mention the names of the people involved. He did this, she did that, etc.
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