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The Dragon Delasangre

Alan F. Troop

ROC / New American Library /Penguin Putnam

US Mass Market Paperback First

ISBN 0-451-45871-5

292 Pages ; $5.99

Date Reviewed: 02-18-02

Reviewed by: Rick Kleffel © 2002



Horror, Fantasy

02-14-02, 02-25-03

A novel doesn't need much to get off the ground and lift into those realms of good, even great reading. Novels of world-class literature have been launched sans plot or characters. Best-selling mega-hits have had their starts in books that are little more than crude eating diaries, redeemed by a unique voice or vision. Like, say, 'Interview with the Vampire'. Alan F. Troop doesn't do much with the vast mythology of dragons in 'The Dragon Delasangre'. Presumably he'll find the time in other outings with his cleverly voiced character, the dragon Peter Delsangre. For the presumptive first novel in this series takes flight on the strength of Troop's first -- uh person -- dragon -- narrator. He never lets up, he never loses focus, and he never loses the reader's attention. This all in all is a great thing.

Troop's Peter Delasangre has the world-weary voice of bored aristocrat, one who has been trained by a stern parent for an uncertain, but probably lengthy, destiny. Here's the deal. Dragons have lived amongst humans for centuries, at least. They are shape shifters, and may live as humans in human form. Some prefer the dragon form. As humans they can heal themselves rather quickly, and as dragons they're impervious to all but the most potent arms. Peter Delasangre was brought up on an isolated island near the Florida Keys. His family is fabulously wealthy, probably from some pirate treasure they stole back in the 1800's. Now, like most of a piratical nature, they're financiers. Peter's father is a rather severe dragon, who has insisted along with his mother that he be well versed in the human side of his nature, and in his dealings with humans. But he's old, and he dies shortly after Peter scents his first female dragon. Since there aren't a lot of dragons in this world, Peter gets the lead out and hies himself southward to seek his bride to be. And as one might suspect, with a woman comes trouble.

In fact, it's a human woman who first brings trouble into Peter's world. Dragons, you see, prefer to feast on humans and Peter and his kind do quite a bit of that in this novel. One of the accomplishments here is that in spite of their appetites, dragons come off as rather sympathetic. Score one for the carefully told tale -- it's the voice that carries all this carnage. And it will carry the reader through a pretty darn interesting tale, though the plot is not the bullet train of pointless action that one might come to expect in such a novel. When the plot does kick in, it's not a surprise filled thrill fest, but rather the gradual revelation and interaction of characters that is in the driving seat. One woman character in particular does definitely get the short shrift. 'The Dragon Delasangre' is the kind of novel that could lead to a great series and suggests that Troop -- if he investigates all the possibilities he opens up -- might really be on to something as big as his titular characters.