By Tracy & Laura Hickman
"Three universes converge-faerie, goblin and human-in this impressive and provocative fantasy, the first of a new series from bestseller Tracy Hickman and [his] Dragonlance cocreator, Laura Hickman. Galen Arvad, a newly married blacksmith, struggles to discover the nature of a dream state connecting him with inhabitants of the faerie and goblin realms. Galen tries to hide this uncanny connection, but fails when he runs afoul of the Dragon Priests in Benyn Township, whose people equate magic with insanity. Galen's wife, Berkita, and his dwarf friend, Cephas, vow to rescue him. Meanwhile, Galen strives to understand how his fate intermingles with the destiny of a faerie Seeker who wishes to aid her war-torn people and a goblin toiling amid the vast mechanical machines left by Titans. This emotionally intense novel's meticulously crafted magical system and likable characters evoke an atmosphere both timely and timeless. While lively action sequences and rich descriptive passages provide plenty of excitement, mature examinations of politics and individual responsibility lend philosophical weight and emotional poignancy. Sure to hit many bestseller lists, this is a fine example of socially conscious and unpredictable imaginative fiction." --Publisher's Weekly
Author's Note: Book one had some wonderful ideas ... especially the concept of three fantasy worlds coexisting in the same space but in different lines of reality. Also the idea of the hero who really doesn't want the job but whose destiny is dragging him in a different direction is a fascinating one for me.
In the land of the Five Domains, Dragonkings and Dragonqueens destroyed the Rhamasian Empire more than 400 years before; now they're in conflict with rebel humans who possess the Deep Magic rediscovered by blacksmith Galen Arvad 23 years earlier. Mystics can connect to the other worlds in a dream state, but this ability doesn't really add much to the rambling quest Arvad's sons, half-brothers Caelith and Jorgan, embark on to find Calsandria, fabled Lost City of Gods. In the eerie yet lovely fairie world, Princess Aislynn becomes one of the Oraclyn-loi ("Vision Pilgrims in training") to serve Dwynwyn, queen of the dead, and joins a dangerous expedition to discover another lost city. And in the amusing goblin world, Thux, grand wizard to the goblin emperor, finds himself on another life-changing quest.
Author's Note: Book Two represented a startling departure in fantasy trilogies -- with a generational gap between the first two books. It was part of their vision of producing a 'trilogy of trilogies' (nine book series) where the story of an entire history of one family was told and how legend often grows out of more mundane foundations. However, I failed to communicate this concept in this second book (and especially the third) or perhaps it just wasn't what readers wanted in their fantasy. Readers (and reviewers) were expecting book two to pick up where book one left off -- as most other fantasies had done prior to this -- and were confused when the book started with our previous main characters there but rather sidelined. The approach may have been more realistic in terms of the flow of history but in hindsight was not what readers were expecting.
Eighty Years have passed since the Mystics founded Calsandria, and now their nation is mired in politics and bloodlines. A woman with no magic, Theona Conlan leads the desperate search for the missing Prince of House Arvad. In the faery realm, Dwynwyn learns that slave creatures are mastering a magic that threatens the fragile peace between the faeries and their enemies. And while the goblin Lunid builds a device to reach across worlds, her masters plot to use it for their own dark ends. But unknown to them all, the gates between realities are about to burst open and plunge humans, faeries, and goblins into a war that can be won only with an undiscovered magic... One that will unite--or destroy--three worlds.
Author's Note: If the generational break between book one and book two were troublesome for readers, the century break between book 2 and book 3 was completely baffling. Again, readers were expecting a contiguous story between the books. This expectation, in part, is due to the father of modern fantasy: J. R. R. Tolkien and the Lord of the Rings. Referred to as a 'trilogy', the original book was actually one, unified contiguous novel of epic length -- but the publisher could not put out a mammoth book of that size. So, being practicle, the publisher split the book into three parts: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King. In point of fact, this is not technically a trilogy. Nevertheless, readers of fantasy came to expect two things out of their fantasy novels: (1) that they have a contiguous storyline and (2) that they must come in threes. 'Bronze Canticles' challenge that, producing three books with stories that would stand alone but which were unified by a theme (more like what would be a true trilogy). Unfortunately, being innovative and rebellious does not translate into acceptance. The series did not performs as well as the publisher would have liked and the nine book original vision -- which would have tied all the themes together in a time of cataclysmic unification of the three worlds -- was not to be reached. This, in part, explains why the ending to book III felt completely dissatisfying to many fantasy readers: they were expecting an end to a story whose actual ending was planned for six books further into the future.