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Steelhands
Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett
Spectra, Aug 2 2011, $26.00, ISBN: 9780553807707
reviewed by Harriet Klausner

The Volstov Dragon Corps was disestablished and the dragon riders decommissioned following their significant help in defeating the Ke-Han. With the heroics being yesterday’s news, the unit’s warriors seek employment. Former Chief Sergeant Adamo the professor, Laure the Amazon, her fiery cross dresser mate Coverer, and Balfour the diplomat in training to use his steel hands agree to search for Gareth.

None expected the quest for a missing student to take them where it does. They find the assembly of new mechanical dragons infused with taboo blood magic. Apparently the Volstov Sear is forming a new Dragon Corps, which violates the peace accords with the Ke-Han. Adamo fears a second war is imminent once the former enemy learns the truth.

The latest Volstov military fantasy (see Have Mercy, Shadow Magic, and Dragon Soul) is an engaging thought provoking tale that rotates perspective between the four prime players. Though for the most part there is limited action, the story line cleverly looks at what happens after the war is over and the treaty signed. General McArthur’s "Old soldiers never die; they just fade away" comes to mind with a coda of until the next war calls them back to duty. When they discover the major violation of the treaty by their side each wonders whether Naval Captain Stephen Decatur’s "My country right or wrong" is appropriate. Although the story line can turn ponderous with each pondering what to do, fans will enjoy this creative cerebral thriller.

contents - editorial - reviews