- This page is about the book Dragon. For the House of the Dragon, see Dragon. For the animal, see Dragon (animal).
- See also Meta:Dragon (book).
The novel begins in the middle of the culminating battle of a war, and it is revealed that Vlad Taltos has found himself there because of a series of somewhat questionable choices. Through the course of the novel, we are given further glimpses into the final battle, but for the most part, Vlad relates how he arrived at that point.
He recalls receiving an (almost engraved) invitation from Morrolan e'Drien, and going to visit the Dragonlord at Castle Black. While there, Vlad learns of the death of Baritt, not a big surprise considering that both he and Morrolan had seen the dead lord in the Paths of the Dead. After a conversation, Vlad is convinced to assist Morrolan and Fentor e'Mondaar in the security of Castle Black, and to help watch over Baritt's large collection of Morganti weapons.
Vlad and Kragar travel to Baritt's home, after some initial difficulty, and with Daymar's help, are able to set up a psychic trace, to know exactly who has stolen anything. It is only a short time before a weapon is stolen, and Vlad learns who has done it. Fornia, an ambitious and expansionist Dragon, has taken the weapon. Vlad reports the news to Morrolan, and with little discussion it is clear that Morrolan will have to go to war with Fornia, one way or another.
While it seems that perhaps this is the end of Vlad's involvement, Fornia sends a group of warriors, including Ori (a sorcerer) to convince Vlad to stay out of it. Left bleeding and injured, and found by Morrolan, the attack convinces Vlad that on the contrary, he needs very much to be involved.
Morrolan recognizes the use that Vlad might have, and he convinces Vlad to accompany him to Baritt's Tomb to witness the services for Baritt. While there, Morrolan gives the required affront to start a war, learns that Fornia believes that there is more to the stolen sword than Morrolan or Sethra Lavode (leading Morrolan's armies) knew. The confrontation also assures him that Vlad cannot back away.
With just a hint that there is something special about the stolen weapon, Morrolan decides to visit a Serioli, and learns vague and mystical things, one of which is that Vlad may possess some part of a Great Weapon. He also will be enlisting in the portion of Morrolan's army called: Cropper Company.
Vlad then joins the army, and meets his company:
- Cropper, the captain
- Crown, the sergeant
- Rascha, Vlad's corporal
- Virt e'Terics, one of Vlad's tentmates
- Napper e'Drien, one of Vlad's tentmates
- Aelburr, one of Vlad's tentmates
He drills, eats bad food, marches in bad weather, and converses with his comrades, all while vaguely knowing part of Sethra Lavode's plans for the overall war. Morrolan gives him an assignment of sabotage, which Vlad carries out by stealing eleven of the enemies colors without a sword drawn.
Vlad then is involved in a skirmish, picks up a few nice scratches, and again is given an act of sabotage, this time taking his tentmates on a quick food burning mission.
In short order, Vlad and the whole of Morrolan's army are in good position for a final battle, and either by design or great irony, find themselves in the area of Baritt's Tomb. Several serious battles occur, including one which sees Vlad get scorched by a sorcerous attack. While recovering from his injuries, he takes a nice dreamwalk and shoots the breeze with The Necromancer.
With one last roll of the dice, he decides to end the battle, and confront Fornia, while reclaiming the stolen sword. With Napper and Daymar's help, he succeeds, and tosses the sword to the approaching forces led by Morrolan and Blackwand.
In the series of interludes throughout the novel, Vlad relates how Sethra the Younger goes about acquiring Kieron's Greatsword. She had managed to pick up the sword that Fornia had stolen, and with several well placed insults and duels, it is revealed that the sword is none other than Pathfinder. Aliera e'Kieron claims the Great Weapon for herself, and exchanges the weapon with Kieron's Greatsword.
Role of the House
Vlad surprises himself by Dragon-ishly fitting in with military life and not abandoning his comrades in battle.
- War is hell
- Confronting Fornia
(all copyrights Steven Brust, quotes for review and enjoyment only)
"No shit, there I was..."
Vlad teleports to Castle Black
Eventually I risked a look down. There were trees below me that looked like miniature bushes, and the two roads, and one river, were lines of brown and blue respectively, meeting and crossing and running almost parallel, to form a design that, if I tried, I could convince myself was a mark in some runic alphabet. Maybe it was a symbol that told the castle, "Don't fall down." That was a comforting thought.
"Oh.... You know, the first time I met him I had the feeling he wouldn't be...."
"I don't suppose you have any experience in military reconnaissance?"
"I assure you, in the small fishing village I come from it forms the sole topic of conversation."
On Morganti weapons
"Back before the beginning of the Empire, they were invented by a Serioli smith in order to make war so horrible that no one would fight anymore."
I snorted. "You're kidding. Do you believe they could be that stupid?"
"Oh. but it worked."
"Among the Serioli."
"If something is missing, and we don't know how, Kiera took it."
"I designate you Speaker to Daymar."
"Boss, there's a lot going on here that we don't know about."
"You think so? Really? Next you'll tell me that a Dzur in the wild can be dangerous."
"How 'bout if you do the killing and I do the irony?"
"You sound like a Dragon."
"I'd challenge you to a duel, but that would just confirm your opinion, so I'll pass."
"Going to buy me something?"
"Catnip? Does catnip affect you? When did you-?"
"Probably not. But I don't want to eat it myself."
"I will rip your soul from your body, and bind it to an iron kettle so I can contemplate how your arse burns when I cook my stew."
"Good thinking. I know some excellent stew recipes if you need them. Adding a little fennel, for example, will - "
Sethra the Younger visits
"... Where are you going?"
"To drink seawater. It'll leave a better taste in my mouth than this conversation. Excuse me."
"Boss, was he singing what I though he was singing?"
"A young man tells his beloved of his love for her."
" 'My little hairy testicle-' "
"It's a cultural thing. You wouldn't understand."
"I seem to remember Kieron the Conqueror promising to come after you if you gave his sword away."
"Yes," said Aliera. "And that is, of course, another advantage."
Morrolan and Vlad, being rather refreshingly honest:
- "Are you prepared to strike another blow for freedom?"
- "Is that what we're doing?"
- "No, but it sounds better than helping a wealthy and powerful aristocrat maintain his wealth and power."
"Shut up, Loiosh."
"I beg your pardon?"
"Never mind. Private joke."
- "Loiosh, I just want you to know, for the sake of my familiar having complete information, that my feet hurt."
- "I think you're cheating, Boss. Everyone else has to either carry on without complaint or be known as a complainer. You get to complain without anyone knowing it."
- "Because I had the foresight to show up with a ready-made listener to complaints."
- "That's a new job for me. Do I get a raise?"
- "Sure, Loiosh. Your salary just doubled."
And she probably said it with a straight face, too:
- "For one thing," said Sethra [Lavode], "we don't know any thieves."
Vlad is dreamwalking
"I mean if I drop dead I'll be really dead, and my body will be found here in the morning."
"No. Your body will actually float downriver from here, at least as far as the next bend. If you climb up on the shore - "
“Go back to your tent, Easterner. Go to sleep. Dream of bearded women.”
- "Napper," I said aloud. "I think it's time to die valiantly. What do you think?"
- "Yes!" he said.
- "How 'bout you, Daymar? Want to join us?"
- "In what?"
- "We're going to attack, of course."
- "Oh. Very well," he said.
- "He's not armed," pointed out Napper.
- "I most certainly am," said Daymar, sounding slightly offended.
- Well, he wasn't carrying a blade, but I believed him.
- [...Vlad explains the objective...]
- "All right," said Napper.
- "Very well," said Daymar.
- "Any questions?"
- There were none.
- "Charge," I said conversationally.
- We walked forward at an even pace.