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The Stone of the Stars: The Dragon Throne Book 1    by Alison Baird order for
Stone of the Stars
by Alison Baird
Order:  USA  Can
Aspect, 2004 (2004)

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This is the first of a new Dragon Throne trilogy, set in a well developed world of gods (good and evil) and men, whose mythology is not as hidden in history as everyone believes. Alison Baird has written other fantasy series - I enjoyed her Tales of Annwn (for teens) in particular.

The Stone of the Stars comes with the usual collection of young people, who are more than they seem. Ailia grows up amongst fisher folk on Great Island. She is a storyteller who does not fit in with the rhythms of that community, and has applied to the Academy on Maurainia. Rumors of war (King Khalazar and his Zimbourans are on the rampage) send her there sooner than anticipated. Orphaned Damion Athariel is a (very handsome) priest of the Faith, who has begun to question his vocation. While escaping the island of Jana's invasion by the Zimbourans, he helps tomboyish young Lorelyn to flee, bearing with them a scroll that the invaders badly want. It documents the location of the Star Stone of Trynisia, and many believe that Lorelyn is the 'Tryna Lia', prophesied to wield the Stone against the power of the evil Modrian.

Of course, these young people need a mentor, and old Ana, witch and telepathic Nemerei, fills that role well. There is also the mysterious and powerful Mandrake, who keeps interfering in events, and has a particular interest in Lorelyn. Ailia is kidnapped almost by accident, along with Lorelyn and Damion, by the Zimbourans, who sail north to the world's end and the island of Trynisia, which holds the Stone. Along the way the good guys subvert Jomar, a half-breed Mohara/Zimbouran, forced to work for the Zimbourans, but hating his life. On Trynisia, they encounter a variety of dangers from the mists of time, and seek the Stone, without much success. Eventually the Tryna Lia is revealed, as is the Dragon King, in the Otherworld. The stage is set for further adventures.

This is an enjoyable new fantasy series, though at times its mythological underpinnings seem a little unwieldy in this first episode. It will be interesting to see where the author takes her Dragon Throne next.

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