Alan F. Troop,
The Seadragon's Daughter
(Roc, 2004)

One cannot help but draw comparisons between Alan F. Troop and Anne Rice (well, early Rice, anyway) because, in a sense, Troop has done for dragons what Rice did for vampires -- recreating them in a rich, original, truly fascinating fashion. The Seadragon's Daughter is the third entry in the Dragon Delasangre series, and it greatly adds to the history and mythology that Troop is developing for the creatures who refer to themselves as People of the Blood. Now we discover that there are actually four very different species of dragons in the world, and they don't always play well together.

All Peter Delasangre, a successful Miami businessman in his human changeling form, wants is to spend as much time as possible with his new wife (who was not an easy catch, as anyone who read Dragon Moon will know) and children, enjoy the luxuries and seclusion of his private island estate, stretch his wings in true dragon fashion, and -- every now and again -- enjoy the succulent pleasures of human flesh. A rare steak is tasty, but nothing beats the taste of live human-kabob. As usual, though, life just isn't that simple for Peter. A string of missing boaters and islanders in the areas has brought a lot of unwanted attention to his island paradise, as rumors on the mainland begin to point a finger of suspicion at the wealthy Delasangre. Peter's innocent -- he's always careful about preying on solitary victims far away from his island -- but that doesn't keep prying eyes away.

Peter has bigger problems on the horizon, though. A mysterious young female begins appearing on the island; not only will the seemingly innocent Lorrel place quite a strain on the Delasangres' marriage, she threatens to take Peter away from his family forever. He's as surprised as anyone to discover that Lorrel is a member of the Pelks, a sea-dwelling race of dragons thought to be extinct. The race is indeed dwindling, though -- and faces extinction if it can't infuse its society with some fresh dragon blood. That's where Peter comes in, as he's poisoned and transported to the sea-dwelling dragons' underworld kingdom (where he will learn some surprising things about the history of his family and of his entire race). Without the antidote to the poison, it looks like he will never see home again. Then Peter learns that his wife and children are in danger -- and that changes everything. There will be blood in the water before this drama ends, as no Delasangre gives up without one heck of a fight.

Despite the moral ambiguity (from a human perspective) of the People of the Blood, Peter Delasangre's story is in many ways a very human one. Sure, he takes great delight in eating people, but Peter Delasangre is every bit of a family man who will do anything to defend those he loves -- even if it means sacrificing his own life in the process. Alan F. Troop seems to improve with every novel, and the introduction of no less than three new dragon races adds a surprising amount of depth to a series that could have begun drifting toward stagnancy by this point at the hands of a lesser writer -- and, just as importantly, it promises truly great things for the future of the Dragon Delasangre series.

by Daniel Jolley
25 February 2006

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