Servant of the Crown: A faltering close to the trilogy

Servant of the Crown by Duncan M. Hamilton science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsServant of the Crown by Duncan M. Hamilton science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsServant of the Crown by Duncan M. Hamilton

Servant of the Crown (2020) closes out Duncan M. Hamilton’s DRAGONSLAYER trilogy, a series that I thought started out weakly with Dragonslayer and then improved somewhat, though not quite enough, with Knight of the Silver Circle. Unfortunately, I can’t say the third book continues that improvement, meaning I can’t recommend the series.

The book picks up shortly after the events of its predecessor with Guillot, Solene, and Pharadon trying to stop Prince Bishop Amaury from gaining the last Cup of Enlightenment. Guillot and Solene want to prevent Amaury from achieving a nearly unstoppable level of magical power while Pharadon needs the cup to enlighten what may be the last of his kind. When they fail, Pharadon has to seek other lost cups (finding another dangerous foe in the process) while Gil has to turn to more mundane military efforts to stop the Prince Bishop.

As with the other books, Servant of the Crown moves along quickly and smoothly. The strongest moments are the fight scenes, both one-on-one scenes and major engagements, all of which are rendered in clear and excitingly vivid fashion. Servant of the Crown by Duncan M. Hamilton science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviews

Unfortunately, the rest of the novel doesn’t fare so well. The plot, despite being quick-moving, is marred by more than a few events that happen too easily (magic, in particular, comes too easily and does too much), too conveniently, or too implausibly, leading me to write several notes along the lines of “why wouldn’t she…” or “why didn’t he… ”

Characterization is thin, and that, combined with how quickly the plot moves, means emotional moments that could have been mined to some strong effect fall flat. With my highest ranking of the three novels being a 2.5, as noted in the intro, I just can’t recommend the DRAGONSLAYER series, though Hamilton’s facility with action scenes and pace shows promise with a bit more work on plot and character.

Published in March 2020. The Exciting Conclusion to the Dragonslayer Trilogy. Long laid plans finally bear fruit, but will it prove as sweet as hoped for? With the king on his deathbed, the power Amaury has sought for so long is finally in his grasp. As opposition gathers from unexpected places, dragonkind fights for survival and a long-awaited reckoning grows close. Soléne masters her magic, but questions the demands the world will make of her. Unable to say no when the call of duty comes, Gill realizes that the life he had given up on has not given up on him. Once a servant of the crown, ever a servant of the crown… 

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BILL CAPOSSERE, who's been with us since June 2007, lives in Rochester NY, where he is an English adjunct by day and a writer by night. His essays and stories have appeared in Colorado Review, Rosebud, Alaska Quarterly, and other literary journals, along with a few anthologies, and been recognized in the "Notable Essays" section of Best American Essays. His children's work has appeared in several magazines, while his plays have been given stage readings at GEVA Theatre and Bristol Valley Playhouse. When he's not writing, reading, reviewing, or teaching, he can usually be found with his wife and son on the frisbee golf course or the ultimate frisbee field.

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