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The Dragon Masters by Jack Vance posted 23 March 2005 in ReviewsThe Dragon Masters by Jack Vance by Alric, Auditor

Rounding out my recent focus of classic scifi novels, I finished reading, about a week ago, the hugo winning The Dragon Masters by Jack Vance.

As is the case with many classic scifi stories, this one isn't very long, about 150+ pages in trade form, and was package with another Vance story, the classic novella, "The Last Castle". However, for as short as the story was, Vance managed to capture a great deal of character, action and imagination. Of the few Vance novels I've read to this point, and that is admittedly few, this has been my favorite.

Humans live in vales and valleys of a rocky and harsh world lost somewhere in space. Millenia ago, the Old Human Empire stretched forth throughout the Universe, controlling and populating many planets around many suns. That empire collapsed in war and strife. Now, this lone planet might be the last human dwelling in a universe were the word "earth" only refers to the mythical home planet of the human race.

Joaz Banabek is the ruler of one of the more prosperous valleys. He is ambitious and eager to recapture some of the lost technology and knowledge from the past. He'd like to visit other worlds, find the lost human civilzation. His neighbor, Ervis Carcolo, is bent on domination of his own planet. Within the control of both men are powerful armies of dragons... itelligent, deadly and bred for specific duties.

However, looming over them, is the ever present threat, or myth, of a vagrant planet, home of the dragons ancestors, who have invaded in the past and may again, with their genetically enhanced and changed human warriors.

The writing is crisp, and the story flows quickly. There is an interweaving of PoVs and various plot elements that come together to create a rather fulfilling short novel. Vance is very good at capturing the imagination of his readers by linking strong images with interesting ideas and captivating action sequences.

My only complaint is that the book really deserved to be another 100 to 150 pages longer. I think Vance had the story and material to give the world more development, push the characters more and make for a more complete novel. As is, it seems just a bit chopped.

I've you're a scifi fan and are looking to read a classic, pick up Jack Vance's The Dragon Masters. view post


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