(Published February 9th 2016 by Titan Books, Ltd)
Once a year on Dragon Day the fabled Dragon Gate is raised to let a sea dragon pass from the Southern Wastes into the Sabian Sea. There, it will be hunted by the Storm Lords, a fellowship of powerful water-mages who rule an empire called the Storm Isles. Alas, this year someone forgot to tell the dragon which is the hunter and which the hunted.
Emira Imerle Polivar is coming to the end of her tenure as leader of the Storm Lords. She has no intention of standing down graciously. She instructs an order of priests called the Chameleons to infiltrate a citadel housing the mechanism that controls the Dragon Gate to prevent the gate from being lowered after it has been raised on Dragon Day. Imerle hopes the dozens of dragons thus unleashed on the Sabian Sea will eliminate her rivals while she launches an attack on the Storm Lord capital, Olaire, to secure her grip on power.
But Imerle is not the only one intent on destroying the Storm Lord dynasty. As the Storm Lords assemble in Olaire in answer to a mysterious summons, they become the targets of assassins working for an unknown enemy. When Imerle initiates her coup, that enemy makes use of the chaos created to show its hand.
‘Agenta’s thoughts trailed off…
She studied the faces on the aft deck, then the quarterdeck, then the forecastle, but the person she was looking for was not among them. Could they be belowdecks? Or in the captain’s cabin, perhaps? … A hush settled on the quarterdeck as everyone tried to hear what was being said.
The kalischa, though, had already worked out the reason for the altercation.
‘Imerle. She’s not on board.’
Senar Sol is a Guardian, a fugitive warrior from Erin Elal who stumbles into Olaire through a hidden and very secret portal. Fleeing from the horrors of his own past, Senar finds his fate flung headfirst into the hands of the emira and her followers and is quickly thrust into the dangerous game the Storm Lords are playing. He’s a trespasser, an enemy, and quite possibly a spy. So why is Imerle keeping him alive?
Kalischa Agenta Webb is the daughter of a Gilgamarian dignitary. Gilgamar and the Storm Isles are unlike in almost every way, and yet Agenta quickly becomes swallowed in her own perilous plots as well as the emira’s. But when her father accepts the emira’s offer to join her on her ship bound for the Dragon Hunt, it quickly becomes evident that Imerle has her own strategy in mind, and Agenta may not be the only one with nothing left to lose.
Septia Kempis Parr is a Watchman, assigned to the protection of the Storm Lords’ capital city. But when mysterious assassins start picking off the water-mages, Kempis is forced to track the sorcerers down and become part of a carefully laid plot against the Storm Lords themselves. No one is safe, and everyone is an enemy.
Karmel Flood is a priestess of the Chameleon Order, and for the first time in her priesthood, is assigned a mission: Sabotage the Dragon Gate. Imerle’s orders, the High Priest tells her, but that is all. Suddenly she finds herself having to trust her brother’s vague hints and her single companion’s subtle hostilities and soon finds herself eaten by deception and betrayal on all sides. The High Priest will not tell her why she was chosen for the task, on such short notice… but why?
Marc Turner is a fabulous storyteller. Riddled with epic battles and intense action sequences, Dragon Hunters had me hooked from the start. Turner has created an entire world of its own myths and powers, cultures and the abundance of suspense. I literally couldn’t put the book down.
I really liked how he used four different characters on four sides of conflict to tell his story. It gave the story depth and new perspectives, and it helped me not get bored with one character because it switched repeatedly between them. There was so much happening that I kept guessing loyalties and plot lines, and I was amazed at the intricacy of all the plots and subplots. Turner tied everything together and all the characters had their individual resolutions.
I would recommend this book for teens or young adult readers. The action sequences are gritty at times, and there is some language that must be noted. There are also a few subtly inappropriate interactions, but none of them is graphic or descriptive in the slightest.
Reviewed by Z