Tuesday 7 May 2019

Dragon Assassin 4 Bitterwaters - Arthur Slade - Dragon Assassin Book 4

Dragon Assassin 4: Bitterwaters
Arthur Slade
Dava Enterprises

This book is part of a series that is being released one section at a time over a year. This is the fourth instalment, and has the biggest twist by far. In many ways it is like being a kid in the 70’sor 80’s and waiting for the next episode of a show. And it harkens back to the day when almost all fiction and especially science fiction and fantasty were published serially. My first thought upon finishing this fourth instalment was ‘Wow, I was completely blown away!’ Especially by the cliff hanger ending. I must admit that I have been a fan of Arthur Slades’s writing since reading both Dust and Tribes in 2002. I eagerly await each new release from his pen. I consider him a master at the craft of writing. This series and this fourth episode in it are wonderfully written. And as we wait to tune in next month to the same Dragon Chanel for the next instalment, here is my review of Book 3 Dark Wings.  

As we progress through each volume in this series we find that each book has a lot on the go, and this time is no different. Though this time we move from the realm of humans to the land of the dragons, and things become very interesting very fast! Ot one point Brax states to Carmen:

“Not once have you inquired about the dragon system of government or our cultures—you’ve been in such a ‘I just want to kill my brother’ mindset since we met. Why do you think I was so averse to you riding my back? Slaves never ride on a dragon. We carry them in our talons or they mope along on the ground.”

Earlier in the book we read:

““I know that, Carmen!” he snapped. “I’m angry with everyone and everything right now. It’s the only emotion that keeps me going. Now be quiet for a long time because I need to concentrate.”
There was another large crack as a ragged chunk of ice broke from the tip of his right wing. But there were ever-growing sections of ice in the center that forced his wings to droop. If I had a pole I could have reached them.”

For this instalment begins with Brax and Carmen flying north, so she can complete her part of their bargain from book one. There is someone Carmen must kill for Brax, and then she will owe him a year of service. But the weather is worse than the last time Brax made the trip, and Carmen is added weight upon his back. His wings are freezing up, and the story starts off in a bleak way, and as the story goes on other than a few major surprises it gets bleaker and bleaker.

In this book we find out a lot more about Dragon kind. We learn some about their culture, their history, and their lives. We also learn a lot more specifically about Brax. And we find out that Carmen having Brax’s eye not only enhances her sight, and provides a connection to him. But that is a surprise you will need to read to find out.  

I have been surprised by events in each of the preceding three volumes, but the end of this one is the biggest by far. This book and the entire series so far are excellent reads. It is a great series, and I look forward to the next instalment each month. It is well worth your time and effort to read these excellent books that are done in such a classic fantasy style. And after reading this one I am reminded of the Earthsea cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin and might go back and reread that while waiting for book 5. But again I will state most emphatically if you love classic fantasy along the lines of Le Guin and Guy Gavriel Kay you owe it to yourself to give the Dragon Assassin books a go!  

Books by Arthur Slade:
The Dragonfly's Journey (1996)

John Diefenbaker: an Appointment with Destiny (2000)
Dust (2001)
Tribes (2002)
Monsterology (2005)
Villainology (2005)
Megiddo's Shadow (2006)
Jolted (2008)
Shades: 17 Startling Stories (2011)

Flickers (2016)
Crimson (2018)
Death by Airship (2019)
Mr. Universe (2021)

Hunchback Assignments Series:
aka Modo Mission Clockwork Series:
The Hunchback Assignments (2009)
The Dark Deeps (2010)
Empire of Ruins (2011)
Island of Doom (2012)

Modo Embers End - Graphic Novel (2014)

The Northern Frights Series
Draugr (1997)
The Haunting of Drang Island (1998)
The Loki Wolf (2000)

Northern Frights Reprint Editions:
Draugr (2020)
Drang (2020)
Loki Wolf (2020)

The Canadian Chills Series
Return of the Grudstone Ghosts (2002)
Ghost Hotel (2004)
Invasion of the IQ Snatchers (2007)

Librarian. Assassin. Vampire Series:
Amber Fang: The Hunted
Amber Fang: Betrayed
Amber Fang: Revenge
Amber Fang Box Set Books 1-3

Dragon Assassin Series:
Twin Fury
Shadow Hunter
Dark Wings
Elder Magic
Royal Blood
Hidden Powers
Burning Empire
Old Enemies
Books as Stephen Shea:
The Not So Simple Life
Viper - Short Story

Visual Bibliography for Arthur Slade
Author profile interview with Arthur Slade.

Author profile interview with Stephen Shea. 

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