Mystic Warrior

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Galen Arvad fears he is going mad. Doorknobs and carved figurines talk to him, and visitations of a winged woman replace his normal dreams. Worse, those adjudged mad are identified and taken away by those who serve the Dragon King. None have ever returned; being “Elected” this way is the most dreaded fate in his world. When the eye on the great dragon staff points him out, Galen is dragged into an incredible journey of danger and discovery.

Lest his story resemble a hundred other fantasy quests, Tracy and Laura Hickman have told it in a setting of three interlocking, but separate worlds. The human world, Galen’s own, is under the rule of mighty dragons and their human “enforcers” in religious guise. The faery world, in the throes of dynastic wars, is bogged down in a rigid caste system and the resentment of lesser creatures like the centaurs. Then there is the world of goblins, who serve machines left by a mysterious race of Titans. Each world seems on the cusp of momentous changes.

Galen’s dreams and other symptoms turn out to be the key connecting them. No actual dimensional travel takes place, but communication happens through dreams and visions, with parallel events forming a strong thematic unity. Galen’s winged woman is revealed as Dwynwyn, a Seeker faery and guardian to a princess. Each world is full of secrets, some uncovered in the characters’ struggles. Others await unraveling in the next two books.

Tracy Hickman is the bestselling author of the Dragonlance series—a “dragon king” of a different sort. Mystic Warrior: Book One of the Bronze Canticles his first venture written in collaboration with his wife Laura, is an ambitious work. The descriptions build vivid word pictures of almost every significant place in the story. With a few exceptions, the characters are not as memorable. Still, this novel is so full of elements that fantasy fans love that it’s sure to find an appreciative audience.