4 out of 5
Many fantasy readers know Tracy Hickman from his collaborations with Margaret Weis on the Dragon Lance novels but he is on his own with this, The Annuals of Drakis, series. The book definitely has a Dragon Lance feel to it. The reader is immediately immersed within this world and it takes time and several chapters before much of the background story is explained. The theme of this first book is interesting, what happens when slaves forced each night to remember a false life and past suddenly remember. Drakis is an Impressed Warrior of a rural elven household, a rare human slave fighting with other slaves from a variety of races to win a war for the honor of his household. Through a series of events the nightly Devotions that elves use to force false memories on slaves are interrupted causing havoc and allowing Drakis and several other slaves to escape. The dwarf Jugar, a prisoner of war, opens Drakis’ eyes to his races past and the legends surrounding the song that plays constantly in Drakis’ mind. This song is a constant throughout the novel and the lyrics change to match what is occurring. Charged with bringing the slaves back, the Iblisi Interrogator Soen chases them through the country side, convinced there is no way he can fail. The writing style is much like the Dragon Lance novels, complex and interesting. There is a density to Hickman’s writing that gives the reader the feeling that they are reading something substantial. The novel is a definite recommend.