(Appologies up front for posting this on a Wednesday. I meant to post it sooner, but got caught up with other stuff)

Hello peoples, and welcome to the second D&D-related review for November. Since I’m writing this ahead of time, there’s no updates from me, so let’s dive into the review.

Today, I want to tell you all about Dragon Precinct, by Keith R. A. DeCandido.

Blurb from Goodreads:

Humans and elves, dwarves and gnomes, wizards and warriors all live and do business in the thriving, overcrowded port city of Cliff’s End, to say nothing of the tourists and travelers who arrive by land and sea, passing through the metropolis on matters of business or pleasure-or on quests. The hard-working, under-appreciated officers of the Cliff’s End Castle Guard work day and night to maintain law and order as best they can. Gan Brightblade is one of the world’s greatest heroes and a personal friend of the Lord and Lady of Cliff’s End. So when he’s brutally murdered in grubby lodgings in Dragon Precinct, on the eve of a great quest, the Captain of the Guard puts his two best investigators on the case. The half-elf Danthres Tresyllione and ex-soldier Torin ban Wyvald soon discover that the crime scene is empty of any forensic evidence — physical or magical. They have no clues, and the heat is on.
The Lord and Lady want their friend’s murder solved — now. The populace is mourning the loss of a great hero. The ever-unhelpful Brotherhood of Wizards could take over the case at any minute. And then another member of Brightblade’s party turns up dead….

So the last review focused on a fairly standard group of adventurers in an official D&D setting. It’s good, but you can admittedly find similar stuff elsewhere.

Dragon Precinct, along with the other novels in the series, don’t focus the adventurers. Instead, they take the novel approach of telling the story of possibly some of the most over-looked characters in any adventure – the city guards.

And I for one love the novelty of this idea. To my knowledge, the only other works in the fantasy genre that focus on the exploits of the city guards or watch in a fantasy setting are the ones in the Guards sub-series of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. There may be some others, but none really stand out in my mind. And as much as I love those, the Discworld books are – at least for me – equal parts fantasy and comedy. The Dragon Precinct books, on the other hand, aren’t. If the novels of Ankh-Morpork’s City Watch are the Keystone Cops, then the Dragon Precinct books are Law & Order.

I came across this book a while back, and decided to support the author’s Kickstarter or GoFundMe campaign, and as a reward, I got to read a short story about one of Gan Brightblade’s previous adventures. I believe it was after I read that that I decided to pick up the first book in the series, Dragon Precinct. I enjoyed it, and even put the other books in the series on my “to read” list on Goodreads, but it was only this past Labor Day that I actually picked up the sequel, Unicorn Precinct.

This book, and the sequels, are also really short, with the current paperback runs clocking in at about 180 pages each, so if you’re like me and can read reasonably fast, you can blitz through these books pretty quick. Or, if you find they’re not to your liking, you’ll only waste a few days.

My only complaint is the price-tag. I got the first book for my Kindle, but sadly, these books are no longer available in that format. And the price of a new paperback comes to about $15, which is about twice what I’d normally expect, especially for something that’s less than 200 pages long.

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  1. Juracan on 17 November 2017, 17:15 said:

    I like to see when fantasy branches off into playing in other genres, and crime stories is one that I have yet to really see much of. The closest thing I can think of is Obsidian and Blood, which is certainly fantasy murder mystery, but it’s also historical fantasy set in the real-ish world of the pre-conquest Aztec Triple Alliance. I don’t know if I’ve read a high fantasy murder mystery, and your summary does sound quite intriguing.

    That price does make me hesitate though…

  2. The Smith of Lie on 18 November 2017, 16:08 said:

    I like to see when fantasy branches off into playing in other genres, and crime stories is one that I have yet to really see much of.

    You might want to check out Glen Cook’s Garret P. I. series. I only read the first book or two, but it was pretty decent and it mixed fantasy setting with a ciminal noir tropes quite nicely.

    The few books from Vlad Taltos were a little bit like that too. Not to the extent of Garret, more like classic fantasy with a little touches of crime story.

    Also, the second Mistborn trilogy has elements of crime stories as well, set in more steam punk-ish setting. But I would advise against reading it before finishing the first trilogy and that one is more classic fantasy.

  3. Apep on 19 November 2017, 22:30 said:

    That price does make me hesitate though…

    Yeah, I have no idea what the original price of the ebook version was, but I’m fairly certain it wasn’t that high. I feel like that version might have been pulled from Amazon at some point, though I don’t know why – probably publishing industry stuff.

    I’ll also support Smith of Lie’s recommendations for Garret, P.I. and the Vlad Taltos books. I’ve read the first Garret book, and it was very fantasy noir, and I’ve read several of the Taltos books, the first five or so of which are very much like if The Godfather were set in a fantasy world. Though Brust’s world is a bit weirder than the typical fantasy setting – like, maybe halfway between Tolkien’s Middle Earth and China Mieville’s Bas-Lag.

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