The Companions have been separated, both by decision and by circumstance. The Queen of Darkness, Takhisis, has returned to the world and is preparing her armies to conquer as the second book in the DragonLance Chronicles trilogy, Dragons of Winter Night, begins. Clearly, a lot has happened since the last novel, and we are told about it rather than shown to save pages and time; much like the first novel in the trilogy, this one also begins heavily in media res and will leave you wondering what has been going on. As a side note, in 2006 and 2008, a couple of books were published that detail what happened between Dragons of Autumn Twilight and Dragons of Winter Night. Check out The Lost Chronicles for more details. I intend to read these after finishing the original novels again, prefering to read the books in the order they were published rather than in the story’s chronological order.
Focusing heavily on the Knights of Solamnia, Dragons of Winter Night reveals more about why the order of knights have fallen into disrepute and focuses heavily on the character of Sturm Brightblade. Sturm is a squire of thirty years, young as far as the knighthood is concerned, though one of the eldest of the Companions (among the humans, anyways), and often morose. Sturm is depressed, melancholy, and pessimistic about the hope left in the world. However, as more is revealed regarding the knighthood and his past, Sturm’s personality is seen in a new light, and his nobility and code of honour becomes paramount. In particular, the question is raised near the end of the book which is more important: strict adherence to a binding set of rules or a more flexible, subjective interpretation of events based on one’s code of honour. The question is answered through the story, but I find it unfortunate that the subject isn’t really expanded upon.
Dragons of Winter Night is a solid middle-book to the trilogy, facing the same challenges as any middle-pieces in that it has no real beginning or end. It overcomes this challenge by providing action that is fast paced and exciting, heartbreaking romance, and the true introduction of dragons as Takhisis’s power on Krynn is revealed. The personalities of the Companions make for a highly entertaining read, and the books ends with a satisfying conclusion that still urges readers to pick up the next book in the series. If you liked Dragons of Autumn Twilight, you will love Dragons of Winter Night.