Dragons of Autumn Twilight

A few weeks ago, I was facing the prospect of the end of the spring semester and the approach of summer. The heady realization broke over me that I would be free to read something I wanted to read, rather than something for class, and as I dug through my memory of what we owned that I would like to read, a lightbulb fired above my head. I wanted to return to the DragonLance Saga, books that had practically raised me, teaching me the difference between good and evil, my moral code, and a great many other things. Excitedly, I went to our library to find the Chronicles series… only to discover that we did not actually own them.

Presumably, I initially checked them out from the library, but it really surprised me that I hadn’t purchased them before now. Therefore, I made a shopping list of books I needed to own, and when April and I made it to Barnes & Noble, I picked up a half a dozen must-have books for DragonLance lovers.

The first of these is Dragons of Autumn Twilight, first published in 1984. The book begins heavily in media res, as the Companions return to the Inn of the Last Home, having parted ways five years ago to search the land for signs of the old gods. The reader is immediately given numerous hints to their past, hooking our attention into the book and making it hard to put down. It is a fast read, flowing quickly and smoothly, and is a clear demonstration of Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman’s mastery and profound partnership.

The Companions quickly find themselves thrust into the middle of a war, and the book delves into the lives of these normal people turned heroes in a fashion not seen in today’s literature. It seems that, these days, the heroes are practically superhuman, indestructible and uncannily intelligent. In DragonLance, the heroes never sought to be such, and they serve because they know it is the right thing to do. They do so out of love, and the theme of death is not shied away from.

Dragons of Autumn Twilight is the beginning of the series, and as such is something of a mystery. If you don’t mind having the answers revealed slowly through some of the most masterful storytelling yet to be seen in fantasy fiction, I heartily recommend picking up the DragonLance Chronicles.

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