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The Legion of Flame: The Draconis Memoria    by Anthony Ryan order for
Legion of Flame
by Anthony Ryan
Order:  USA  Can
Ace, 2017 (2017)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Legion of Flame is the second, following The Waking Fire, in Anthony Ryan's Draconis Memoria series. He also wrote the outstanding Raven's Shadow fantasies. After starting The Legion of Flame, I realized I had somehow missed the first book - I managed to catch up, but definitely recommend reading them in order.

The action occurs in a world that has been controlled by the Ironship Trading Syndicate, their power built on dragon's blood (our use of oil would be a fair comparison) harvested from captured or hunted Reds, Greens, Blues and Blacks. What's it used for? To create elixirs that give the Blood-blessed magical powers. But that source of power is running low. And the Syndicate needs it to avoid war with the Corvantine Empire, which is ruled by a mad Emperor.

The first book set the scene and sent rogue Blood-blessed petty thief Claydon Torcreek on an epic quest for the Syndicate - to track down a legendary, uber powerful breed of White dragon. What Clay found changed the world order. Syndicate assassin/spy Lizanne Lethridge's Corvantine mission left her with the moniker Miss Blood and with Arberus as her lover. And Ironship second lieutenant Corrick Hilemore pursued brigands to the edge of the world.

As The Legion of Flame opens, we see Lizanne accept another very perilous mission, to infiltrate a horrific Corvantine prison in search of the Mad Artisan, whose knowledge they desperately need. Clay and Corrick head to southern seas, surviving an encounter with legendary Blue dragon, Last Look Jack, en route. And back in Mosvale, Sirus (who loved Tekela) becomes a Spoiled slave of a potent White dragon, forced to do its will - can he resist at all?

The author alternates between these three major plot strands as the story develops, with non-stop action, regular betrayals and in surprising ways - especially deep in the southern ice shelf. Clay's visions lead his questing team (which includes his frail cousin Loriabeth) there. And they meet Blood-blessed Kriz, who has slept for a very, very long time. She shares old secrets and a powerful weapon.

But what does mad young society beauty, Catheline Dewsmine, have to do with all this? We only find out at the end of the episode - which closes on more than one cliffhanger! I look forward to more!

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