Book One of Memory, Sorrow and Thorn
Wanderers in the land of Osten Ard are cautioned not to put blind trust in old rules and forms, and to observe all rituals with a careful eye, for they often mask being with seeming.
The Qanuc-folk of the snow-mantled Trollfells have a proverb. “He who is certain he knows the ending of things when he is only beginning them is either extremely wise or extremely foolish; no matter which is true, he is certainly an unhappy man, for he has put a knife in the heart of wonder.”
More bluntly, new visitors to this land should take heed:
The Qanuc have another saying: “Welcome stranger. The paths are treacherous today.”
THE DRAGONBONE CHAIR is the story of Simon, a young kitchen boy and magician’s apprentice, whose dreams of great deeds and heroic wars come all too shockingly true when his world is torn apart by a terrifying civil war — a war fueled by ancient hatreds, immortal enemies, and the dark powers of sorcery.
In Osten Ard, a land once ruled by an elvishlike race known as the Sithi, the human High King is dying. And with his death, a long-dormant evil is unleashed on the land as the undead Sithi ruler, the Storm King, seeks to regain his lost realm through a pact with one of human royal blood. Driven by spell-inspired jealousy and fear, prince fights prince, while around them the very land begins to die, poisoned by a sorcerous force sworn to annihilate the humans whose ancestors had driven the Sithi from their rightful home long ages ago.
Only a small, scattered group, the League of the Scroll, recognizes the true danger faced by Osten Ard, only they hold the knowledge of times past, of threats fulfilled, and of a riddle of swords, which holds out the one small hope of salvation. And to Simon — unknowingly apprenticed to a member of this League, and unwittingly touched by magic both good and ill — will go the task of spearheading the search for the solution to this riddle of long-lost swords of power, a quest that will see him fleeing and facing enemies straight out of a legend-maker’s worst nightmare!
THE DRAGONBONE CHAIR is a fantasy tour de force, a treasure trove of reading for anyone who has ever wished to discover a world as rich and complex as Middle Earth and characters as memorable as any in the tales of King Arthur.
“Panoramic, vigorous, often moving…Williams adroitly weaves together the tales…heralding a suitably epic and glorious conclusion.”
“…a grand fantasy on a scale approaching Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.”
–The Cincinnati Post
“The fantasy equivalent of War and Peace”
Hardcover: 672 pages
Publisher: DAW Hardcover (October 25, 1988)