DragonLance Preludes Volume 1: Darkness & Light

If you have been following along I am on a quest to read (hopefully) all of the books in the DragonLance series. Given how many there are, we shall see if I make it.

So far I have read the following books:

Dragons of Autumn Twilight Nov-84 Chronicles
Dragons of Winter Night Apr-85 Chronicles
Dragons of Spring Dawning Nov-85 Chronicles
Time of the Twins Feb-86 Legends
War of the Twins May-86 Legends
Test of the Twins Aug-86 Legends
The Magic of Krynn Mar-87 Tales I
Kender, Gully Dwarves and Gnomes Aug-87 Tales I
Love and War Nov-87 Tales I
The Legend of Huma Mar-88 Heroes
Stormblade Aug-88 Heroes
Weasel’s Luck Dec-88 Heroes
Darkness and Light Apr-89 Preludes

Darkness & Light is the first in the Preludes trilogy. It takes place five years before the War of the Lance in the Chronicles trilogy and gives us much of the backstory we all wanted after reading those books.

This book focuses mostly on Sturm and Kitiara and their travels somewhat assisted by some Gnomes.

The Gnomes always mean well, and are super good at comic relief but they may not always get you where you want to go by the most direct route possible.

We open up with Sturm and Kitiara practicing their swordsmanship with one another. Kit is obviously the better fighter at this point. As they head out on their travels, after promising to return in 5 years (for the now famous meeting in Chronicles) things don’t go really well from the start.

They are traveling along when Sturm learns a valuable lesson. Never ever fall asleep on guard duty. Had it not been for Kit, the Sturm we all knew in Chronicles would have never made it there.

After a little fight, they get caught in a storm that interrupts their travels. They eventually meet some Gnomes that have a strange method of traveling. They have a ship, powered by lightening that happens to fly.

The only challenge is they end up losing control of the ship (go figure) and end up on Lunitari, the red moon!

I won’t go into what they find there but it does foreshadow the war to come in other books.

No shocker, they do eventually find their way back to Krynn, and at the end, we are treated to how it was that Sturm finally received his father’s armor and sword.

I really enjoyed this book, but anything with the Gnomes is always a joy for me.

DragonLance Heroes Volume One: The Legend of Human

While reading the first 9 DragonLance books in the world of Krynn we heard little bits and pieces about Huma. Mostly legend, no one was sure if the stories were true. Now, you can see for yourself.

Huma is human, he goes through the emotional swings everyone does. He is scared, tired, feels defeated, he isn’t sure if he is doing the right thing all the time. He isn’t sure if he can live up to the expectations of a Knight of Solamnia.

There are times he just wants to figure out how to live through the day!

In this book we also meet Magius, and Kaz a Minotaur that Huma befriends and they save one another more than once despite a long standing feud between the Knights and the minotaurs.

I really enjoyed this novel. I think Richard A. Knaak did an amazing job in filling in the blanks I had in the back story of Huma in the time before the Cataclysm.

DragonLance, The Legend of Huma is one to read! You won’t be disappointed.

DragonLance Legends Vol 3 Test of the Twins

Test of the Twins is the third and final book in the Dragonlance Legends trilogy by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. It is a sweeping fantasy epic that follows the twin brothers Caramon and Raistlin Majere as they embark on their specific quests.

The novel begins where the previous book, War of the Twins, left off. Raistlin has opened the Portal to the Abyss and has entered the realm of the Queen of Darkness. Caramon and Tasslehoff have been transported through time, including to the future, where they witness the dire consequences of Raistlin’s quest.

Along the way, they will face many challenges, including the Queen of Darkness herself.

Test of the Twins is a classic fantasy novel that is full of action, adventure, and suspense. It is also a story about family, friendship, and the power of love. If you are a fan of fantasy novels, then you should definitely read Test of the Twins.

Here are some of the reasons why you should read Test of the Twins:

It is a well-written and exciting fantasy novel.

The characters are complex and relatable.

The plot is full of twists and turns.

The setting is rich and detailed.

The themes are timeless and relevant.

If you are looking for a good fantasy novel to read, then I highly recommend Test of the Twins. It is a classic that will stay with you long after you finish reading it.

Here are some additional thoughts my kids came up with on why you should read Test of the Twins:

The novel explores the complex relationship between the two brothers, Caramon and Raistlin.

It deals with themes of good versus evil, free will versus destiny, and the power of love.

The novel is full of action, adventure, and suspense.

The writing is clear and engaging.

The characters are well-developed and believable.

If you are a fan of fantasy novels, then you should definitely read Test of the Twins. It is a classic that will stay with you long after you finish reading it.

It is a fantastic ending to the first six books in the DragonLance series.

DragonLance Dragons of Autumn Twilight Chapter 4, 5

Chapter 4

The Open Door

Flight into Darkness

When we last saw the party in Chapter 3 they were running out the back door of the Inn of the Last Home.

Here they are fleeing into the night’s they try to answer questions about what is going on. Can they trust Goldmoon? Can they trust Riverwind?

Is she and the staff really able to hear people or is it all a trick?

Can the barbarians trust the party of friends?

As they find a place to hold up for the night as the town is being searched they try to answer some of these questions. Is the staff blessed by the gods? Is it a sign of the true gods everyone has been looking for?

All is going well until their hiding spot is found and the party may have to run again because they may have accidentally killed a few more guards. While we don’t get many answers in this chapter it does move fast and it does make us try to figure a lot out, and make us want to turn a lot more pages!

Chapter 5

Farewell to Flint!

Arrows fly. Message in the stars.

They have to flee again. This time they have to get out quickly but all of the roads are blocked by guards searching for whomever is hiding with the blue crystal staff.

The answer is to go across the lake in a boat…except Flint really doesn’t like boats. He has a crippling fear of them thanks to that time Caramon almost accidentally drowned him.

As they are trying to get in the boat, and argue with flint a group of Goblins find them. Arrows fly in both directions! Will Flint go or will he stand his ground and fight?

Raistlin shocks everyone when he casts a spell to solve the problem in one shot. As they finally find safety they look up, and notice something missing.

There are two constellations of stars that are no longer in the sky. That of the Queen of Darkness, and the Valiant Warrior. Have the gods of evil and good come to Krynn to fight for control?


DragonLance – Dragons of Autumn Twilight Chapter 3

Knight of Solamnia

The Old Man’s Party

We find that Kitiara (the twin’s sister) isn’t going to make the reunion but now we also know she is a mercenary and probably pledged to something she couldn’t get out of.

For the first time in the book we meet Sturm Brightblade, seen in the painting traveling with Flint, who walks in the Inn, and everyone instantly recognizes him as a Knight of Solamnia. Strum is oddly proud of being a Knight. The knights themselves have fallen out of popularity as they have corruption issues in the rank and file.

He is accompanies by two barbarians in clothes recognized as those of the Plainsmen.

These two characters are Goldmoon and Riverwind. They are very proud people that Sturm found tired and hungry on the side of the road.  He brought them into town so they could find food and rest.

Throughout the chapter we hear again about Armies massing to the North. But this time we learn they may not be made up of humans. But given the amount of chatter it is obvious something is going on and there is about to be a war, but what kind of war? A war against all living things or is it something else?

As we progress the old man comes back into the story, this time telling stories to kids around a fire. We learn that Dragons have long since left the world and children want to see them (DragonLance did that before Game of Thrones so hush!).

The action really starts when the High Theocrat starts a drunken argument about the old Gods not being true Gods, he gets hurt, the mysterious blue crystal staff shows up (Goldmoon had it). It has magical healing powers that everyone is afraid of! Now the real brawl starts, our companions leave quickly out of the back of the Inn through the kitchen as the local authorities start the search for whomever was responsible for injuring the theocrat and using dangerous evil powers to heal someone!

The real story starts here as the party escapes out the back of the Inn through the kitchen! The authors brilliantly rocketed through character introduction, and combining it with action in these first chapters and thrust us headlong into a story that we can’t wait to experience.

DragonLance Dragons of Autumn Twilight Chapter 2 – Return to the Inn, A Shock, The oath is Broken

In this chapter, we return to the Inn of the Last Home as our setting and learn more about it and Solace, the town where it is located.

The Inn isn’t just a place for weary travelers. It turns out to be the place where local townspeople go as often as they can just to escape, and get some news. Solace is at a crossroads between a bunch of interesting places:

  • Haven, The Seeker Capital
  • Qualinesti, the Elven Kingdom
  • The Barren Plains of Abanasina

The Inn itself is one of those places that is known to everyone around the world. Like most restaurants that gain notoriety, it is known for something food related. In this case Otik’s spiced potatoes. The smell alone is enough to make you want to try them!

Interestingly there is a book called Hero’s Feast that gives a bunch of Dungeons and Drgaons/DragonLance recipes, and I have made those potatoes. They are pretty darn good.

Walking into town Tanis can feel that something is off. It raises the tension of the story just a bit, you can feel the conflict coming.

The Seekers are everywhere. The Seekers are a group of people who “seek” the new Gods.

Interestingly to me the clerics in this religion apparently started out as decent people but in the times when the story is set the clerics have become power and money hungry. Like that would never happen with a religious group or a mega-church at all..Right? Wait, it would? Well crap.

As the trio we met in the Chapter 1 discussion enter the Inn they find twin brothers Caramon and Raistlin already among the crowd.

Caramon is a fighter, pure and simple. He is a huge man with a sword that you would not want to meet on the battlefield.

Raistlin is the polar opposite. A frail man who is a mage.

One brother uses brawn the other uses the brain. The pair can be seen in the painting here along with a large dragon.

The old friends meet, have a drink, and start to catch up when we learn of their sister Kitiara who had pledged to return but didn’t make the reunion. Of course, Flint grumbles and is annoyed by all of this.

In short, what this chapter does is more character introduction, but it does it while moving the story forward. The pacing is amazing, it really does grab your attention and make you want to stay up late reading. Can not recommend these books enough.

DragonLance Dragons of Autumn Twilight – Chapter 1

Dragons of Autumn Twilight

Book 1

Chapter 1

Old Friends Meet – A Rude Interruption

This chapter does a lot to introduce us more to the area around The Inn of the Last Home and brings in three of the major characters for the story. It is a world-building and character chapter but does it with action, it is a page-turner, and a necessary one to really start to dig into things.

It opens with Flint Fireforge, who we learn is a Dwarf, as he decides to take a break from his travels and sits down on a nice warm boulder. Flint, despite being alone, likes to talk to himself. As a dwarf, he lives much longer than humans and keeps to himself, and who better to keep him company as everyone else seems to annoy him.

He is clearly of the opinion that he should have never left his most recent home of Solace, the town where The Inn of the Last Home is found, and that he has missed it a great deal. The surrounding area is beautiful in Flint’s opinion, it has wonderful trees, a lake, valleys, and from his position an amazing azure-colored sky.

As Flint rests along the path leading into town he is met by Tanis, who we learn because it is important to the story, is half elf, half human. The authors are some of the best I have come across at keeping the story moving, so to get us to understand that these two are old friends, they start behaving like old guy friends would, just right away.

Flint looks at Tanis and says, “Why the beard? You were ugly enough.”

Who but two old, very close men would do such a thing?

Well, we learn that being gone for half a decade from one another that they still consider themselves tight. They have also found that there is trouble here in Solce, which they consider to be their home.

We also learn that in the world of Krynn, different people believe in different Gods and are willing to go to War over it. These two have been off looking for evidence of the “true Gods.” So we know all of this will play an important role in the story.

I got the feeling reading this chapter that Flint will grumble about almost anything, who doesn’t have that kind of person in their family? They are grumbly and upset all the time, but you love em anyway. Flint is that person! He is the favorite Uncle, who is always just annoyed.

The two are so in-tune, and always alert that anything out of the ordinary will get their attention, which is when we meet Tasslehoff Burrfoot.

Tasslehoff we discover is from a race of beings called Kender. They tend to be very small, very thin, and almost childlike in appearance. They also tend to annoy anyone. They are known to question everything and be constantly curious. They also have a unique view on property and who owns what, so hold only your money near them, very carefully.

The trio is about to head into Solace for a reunion when they run into a group of Hobgoblins led by Fewmaster Toede, who are acting under orders from someone that the group doesn’t recognize as an authority figure and is searching everyone for a blue crystal staff. Well, the trio doesn’t like that and battle the hobgoblins, and fight together like they had just practiced working as a team the day before. They are obviously old, and very well acquainted friends and adventuring companions.

That, thrusts us forward into the world of Krynn, and three very unforgettable characters. So much more depth in this story and world to come!



What drives me into reading, gaming, writing, and all this junk

I get asked every once in a while, why waste your time on fantasy novels, writing books, being a gamer…Isn’t your time too valuable?

Yes, I have a high level of education, worked in some fantastic engineering spaces as well as scientific ones over the years. And yes, that is reasonably well compensated financially.

So why waste my time on these things?

It is these things that made me who I am. I would never have become a scientist if science fiction hadn’t caused me to become interested in how that stuff works. I would have never had that focus, that drive, or even curiosity if I hadn’t spend a ton of time reading fantasy adventure novels (like Tolkien, DragonLance, etc).

The creativity it takes to do some of what I have done (and still do) for a living is born in those other things that I do. It also gives a mind break.

It isn’t a waste of time to do things that relax you and foster creativity. Every person is different. But for me, I don’t feel watching TV and Movies constantly fosters that in my brain. But, your brain is different.

If you want to be a novelist, or engineer but feel like you have trouble coming up with “concepts or ideas” try something that fosters creativity. Try something new. Everyone can be creative, you just have to find what works for you.

The video below discusses all this stuff a lot further.



Why did I write The Diocese Dilemma – I mean…really?

I recently released a novel called The Diocese Dilemma, and it is a pretty far departure from the other things I have written. Why would I do such a thing?

And more importantly why would I turn a Catholic Priest into a Serial Killer?

Well, that is not that easy to answer but I will give it a try.

I grew up in the Catholic Church, I consider myself a spiritual person, I believe in God, but I think dogmatic religion is a challenge, at least for me. If it works for you, please, don’t think I am trying to talk you out of it.

In order for me to really work through some issues I have with people who exercise religion in a more hypocritical way are pretty deep.

I have personally been told by a Christian that if I drink alcohol I am going to Hell?

Ok, so Christ isn’t in Heaven because didn’t he turn water into wine?

I have seen people who profess to be deeply rooted Catholics (and other religions) repeatedly be unfaithful to their spouse. The swore before God to forsake all others?

I see these Scriptures that say one thing and people who love to quote them do another.

It made me question things. And if people can so routinely misinterpret and pervert Scripture to justify their own actions, and I can notice it, surely clergymembers see it.

What happens if a Priest, who sits in the Confessional and listens to people confess their sins over and over gets just fed up with the hypocrisy and says you know what…some of these people are beyond absolution.

Eye for and Eye, right?

Make the punishment fit the crime?

Priests are supposed to be the sword and shield of God according to Scripture.

Can a Priest get so frustrated that he takes the worst sinners, pulls them out of the confessional and goes Old Testament justice and takes that Eye for and Eye a bit further than he should (kind of hypocritically).

And given all of the cover ups the Church has done over the years (and many religions have done) could and more importantly would the Church cover it up? What if the Church leadership agreed with his actions?

This book helped me really understand and see that these things (Scripture) are very often quoted by people who rarely think about the words, they just use them in a way to get you to do what they want, make themselves feel better, or justify some action.

While violating the crap out of other Scriptures (and Commandments).

I do think that this sort of thing could happen. Mind you I have no evidence that it has, but I do know that the Catholic Church (during the Inquisition) did kill a bunch of “sinners”

Would that happen again?

Could they get away with it?

Would they cover it up?

I dunno, you be the judge, and I can tell you right now I am not sorry about what Father Santini did to that person who was selling access to very young underaged women for purely perverted (and rough) pleasure of powerful people.

That guy had it coming.

What’s the Worst That Could Happen? – Movie and Book

I recently re-read the Donald Westlake Book What’s the Worst That Could Happen, which also has a movie adaptation starring Danny Devito and Martin Lawrence.

The movie adaptation is freaking hilarious, so let’s talk premise here.

The novel is one of several by Westlake about main character John Dortmunder (name changed for the movie). John is a burglar who never uses violence, and rarely pulls off much more than a robbery where he makes a much. So, he works hard, and is clean in that he doesn’t get caught because he is a pro after all. In the movie this is Martin Lawrence (who has a fence he uses played by Bernie Mac).

The story is centered around a ring that John’s girlfriend gives him that is supposed to be good luck. While John is robbing a home he gets caught and the house owner that catches him, and while he is handcuffs the house owner steals the ring from a thief.

A thief got robbed, during a robbery! What’s not funny about that.

This sets off a series of competitive robberies trying to steal the ring back, but John continuously “fails” and only manages to steal tens out thousands of dollars in cash and goods. And John feels he has failed…

The conflict between these two go back and forth, everyone on both sides just telling them to let it go, not worry about it, just move on. This can’t happen, once two people that are fighting for pride lock horns, it is hard to get them to stop.

Both the book and the movie are HILARIOUS. The book in the photo is my first edition copy of it. Fantastic stuff, and the movie did change a few things, but it totally works, and isn’t so changed that the story is different. It was an amazingly well done adaptation. The cast knocks it out of the park. A must see, and a fantastic read.