THE STORY: Five actually. In the first we meet Kitiara's son, an honourable knight in the thrall of darkness, his only hope being Caramon and Tanis, the ageing heroes. The second introduces the reader to Caramon's three sons and shows how one of them walks the path of the mage. The third is a humourous tale about Caramon's three sons being caught up in a wager involving a powerful gem, a gambling god and a ship full of gnomes. The next tale is about the mage Raistlin, who deplores all other beings, and his short romance with a mysterious woman. The final story is about the growing schism among the elves and how Tanis and his son become embroiled in dark plots. WHAT'S GOOD: The true genius of this book is the way in which the next generation of heroes are echoes of their predecessors, but with new character twists. The knight Sturm is echoed by his son Steel, but the latter has fallen into dark ways. Caramon's sons Sturm and Tanin are clear reflections of him, but with his character divided between them. The third son, Palin, walks a similar path to Raistlin, but ultimately turns away from the temptation of dark magic. Tanis and his son play excellent counterpoint to one another as they share the same values but fail to see each other's worth until the end. As with all Weis and Hickman's work, these short stories are well written and flow easily. Also, I should say that the book's worth buying if only to read about the bizarre gnome ship (which makes a worrying kind of sense!). WHAT'S BAD: Naturally, because this is a stepping stone between the 'Dragonlance Chronicles' and 'Dragons Of Summer Flame', it's essential to have knowledge of the previous books and you're gonna want to buy 'Summer Flame' to find out where the unresolved issues here lead. A good solid bit of late-night entertainment.
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