The Dark Glory War (DragonCrown War Cycle Series #1)

The Dark Glory War (DragonCrown War Cycle Series #1)

by Michael A. Stackpole


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New York Times bestselling author Michael A. Stackpole is a recognized star of military fantasy. The Dark Glory War is a thrilling new tale set in a world threatened by an unstoppable foe. . . .

In the sacred season of the Moon Month, four young men don the masks that herald their coming-of-age celebration, a time of testing, ritual, festival, and romance.

But for Tarrant Hawkins and his friends Leigh, Rounce, and Nay, their first test becomes a desperate struggle for survival. For they will encounter the vanguard of an invasion force poised to overrun their homeland of Oriosa, and all four will find their lives changed forever when they encounter a legendary weapon that brings its wielder invincibility. Yet the magic sword may prove more curse than blessing, signaling the arrival of a cataclysmic battle with ancient foes. And in the face of dire sorceries and terrible battles, these youths will come to manhood . . . or to death.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553578072
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/29/2000
Series: DragonCrown War Cycle Series , #1
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 4.24(w) x 6.89(h) x 0.86(d)

About the Author

Michael A. Stackpole is the New York Times bestselling author of many titles in the Star Wars universe, including many of the Star Wars X-Wing novels and the New Jedi Order: Dark Tide novels Onslaught and Ruin. When not chained to a desk madly fighting deadlines, he plays indoor soccer, rides a mountain bike, and reads, but not all at the same time. Stackpole lives in Arizona with Liz Danforth and a small pack of Cardigan Welsh corgis.

Read an Excerpt

The day they gave me my mask was the first day I felt truly alive.

Though I received my mask over two decades ago, I remember the events surrounding it clearly. The tinge of winter had not quite left the air that year, so even as we were coming to Mid-Summer's Eve the days were cooler than normal. Many people were happy with the weather, since the previous year had been a scorcher, and some went so far as to suggest that the mild weather might have betokened the death of Chytrine, the scourge of the Northlands. I didn't care about the weather or the tyrant of Aurolan because this was my eighteenth summer, which made it special and me anxious.

The mask I got was not, of course, the first mask I had ever worn, nor would it be the last. It was a simple moonmask, as white as the orb for which it was named. If the gods smiled and I proved worthy, as the moon again became full I would be awarded my first life mask, and this moonmask would be a memento of my transition from childhood frivolity to adult responsibility.

It had been my intention, that morning, to wake early and dress myself, as befit my new station in life. I wanted to be able to greet my father as an adult in all but the mask he would bring. Unfortunately I awoke much too early, spent time in my bed wondering if I should get up or go to sleep again, then fell asleep and remained so rather solidly until, dimly, I heard my father's heavy tread on the stairs. Before I could rub sleepsand from my eyes, the door opened and he entered my room.

My memory of his coming to me that mid-summer morning, bearing the mask, still endures and is one of my most favorite of him. All over Oriosa other children in their eighteenth summer were also receiving their masks. For many of them the presentation would be a family affair, but among the Hawkinses, fathers presented masks to sons, mothers to daughters, making it a more intimate and solemn occasion. I welcomed this moment of serenity before what I guessed would be a month of controlled insanity.

My father stood there, at the foot of my bed, looking down at me. His life mask, which he seldom wore in our house, had a fearsome visage. White temeryx feathers, with their shifting rainbow highlights, splayed out and back at the mask's temples. The cut of the mask's lower edge had been sharpened into a hawk's beak over his nose. This had been done both as a play on our name and the fact that Lord Norrington and his father before him had often used my father to hunt enemies the way another might loose a hawk on a varmint. Orphan notches had been cut by each eye and the brown leather had two green ribbons stitched into the portion covering his forehead. Those marked awards for bravery, one from Lord Norrington and the other from the hand of the Oriosan queen.

A hank of blond and silver hair hung down over the mask's forehead and bisected the ribbons. My father refused to wear a cowl, though entitled to do so, preferring to let others see his full head of hair. Through the mask's narrowed eyeslits I could see his brown eyes, perhaps the hint of a tear glistening in an orphan notch. He never cried from pain, my father, physical pain, anyway. But other hurts, or life's joys, could tickle a tear from his eyes.

Though he did not stand as tall as I, he was still a big man and broader through the chest and shoulders than I was. Growing up, he'd seemed bigger, and yet even as I grew into my adult size, I always thought of him as bigger than me. Though he was entering the twilight of his life, my father still possessed the strength of his youth and served as Lord Norrington's Peaceward in Valsina.

He raised his hands slowly, bearing between them the simple strip of white leather I would wear for the next month. "Arise, Tarrant Hawkins. At an end are the carefree days of your youth. Upon this mask, and many like it, will be written the story of your life as a man."

I threw back my blanket, and with only the crackle of the straw mattress and the groan of old floorboards to break the silence, I stood before my father. I plucked a piece of straw from the sleeve of my nightshirt, then ran fingers back through my black hair and snagged another piece. They fell to the floor as my hands returned to my sides.

I'd waited for this day forever, it seemed. The full moon closest to mid-summer marked the day we'd get our moonmasks. Everyone my age knew the full moon would fall exactly on mid-summer, which meant we would be blessed and special. Great things would be expected from us, and I hoped I would prove worthy of such an auspicious omen. Ever since I'd learned that the full moon would fall on mid-summer in my year, I had worked to prepare for this day and the rest of my life beyond it.

The problem was, however, that preparing for the unknown was not a simple task. I knew, in general, what would happen during my Moon Month. While I'd been barred from the festivities surrounding similar awards to my brothers and sisters, the results of their Moon Months were not hard to see. Noni, my eldest sister, had emerged betrothed from her month, while my older brothers had won positions in the Frontier Lancers and the Oriosan Scouts respectively. It seemed to me to be pretty clear that during their month they had been the subjects of negotiations or recruitment that set them on a path for the rest of their lives.

Reaching up, my father pressed the leather mask against my face, then raised my left hand to hold it in place. I turned in compliance with his pressure on my shoulder and felt him tighten the mask in place. A bit of my hair caught in the knot and pulled, but I knew that had not been an accident. The hair and the mask are equally now part of me. I am the mask and it is me.

"Turn around, boy. Let me look at you."

I turned back to face him and saw a proud smile broaden the lower half of his face. "You already wear the mask well, Tarrant."

"Thank you, Father."

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The Dark Glory War (DragonCrown War Cycle Series #1) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
sferguson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Darker than much that I have bee reading as of late, The Dark Glory War still retains the draw of a good tale and acts as a great prologue to the epic that is the DragonCrown War Cycle. Stackpole is a name not often mentioned in the discussions of epic fantasy, but this and the following series are enough that his name deserves to be etched amongst the many others to have contributed to this greatest of all fictional pursuits.The Dark Glory War introduces a world of good and evil, magic and sorcery as well as steel and courage that is rarely matched within the genre and possibly without superior, a good read for anyone who enjoys epic fantasy.
BeezerMN on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Dark Glory War by Michael Stackpole is actually a prelude novel to his Dragoncrown War Cycle Trilogy. The first book of that trilogy is Fortress Draconis, which I believe takes place 30-40 years after the events of this book. The one thing that I think needs to be said right away is that this book is written from the first person perspective, and follows young Tarrant Hawkins throughout many trials. Normally, I am not a fan of first person books; they just don't `work' for me. Yet, I found myself easily engaged in both the story ad characters. Mr. Stackpole certainly has talent for writing. The plot of this book, especially when the book is only 402 pages, is absolutely huge. After finishing the book and looking back at everything that happens in this book it's amazing that it was all included. Being that the book is written in first person, Mr. Stackpole is allowed to make some rather large leaps with the plot and phrase it as the `author' or Tarrant, is merely reminiscing about past event, versus needing to write every detail about those events. There are some traditional pieces within this plot, such as a group of young friends becoming men within their city/village by doing deeds that separate them. The nature of the coming of age ceremony in this novel is simply amazing. I really enjoyed the twist Mr. Stackpole placed on it and the rich tradition that seemed to emanate from it was a joy to read. As I said before, the plot of this book encompasses a great deal and introduces the reader to countless things within the world, a variety of places, creatures, people, and cultures. It is quite evident that Mr. Stackpole certainly had a vision of what he wanted to accomplish, I have yet to read the Dragoncrown War Cycle but after reading this novel I fully intend to search it out and read it. The characters in this novel are very good, and well thought out. There are several characters that are very memorable to me. From the main character Tarrant, to some of the supporting characters Leigh, Nay, Resolute, Seethe to name a few. Tarrant is well fleshed out, which can be expected since the story is his and in his words. It was interesting to read his thoughts and how he perceived some of the events that took place. The supporting characters weren't as well fleshed out as they would be in other fantasy novels, mostly because of perspective and the focus of the story. While I would certainly have liked to know about the other characters, it was just not meant to be based on how the story was written. However, even the glimpses that we are given into these supporting characters are very well written and leave the reader wanting more. To me, that's the mark of a good character, one that you ant to know more about after finishing the book. There are many good characters in this novel, Mr. Stackpole certainly didn't leave character development behind in this novel, but to fully explain that I would have to write some spoilers and I don't want to do that. Suffice it to say, that the characters are well worth reading this book. I do have a few minor criticisms about this book however. There are a few cases where I would have liked to read some more detail about places, events, or people that Tarrant encountered. There is a balance between giving the reader too much information to where they have little leeway to make their own mental picture and not providing enough for the reader to make that image. A few instances there was simply not enough information to work with. The other thing is a few instances were Tarrant would reflect on something, an event, a secret, or something and then brush over it as if he assumed the reader know what he was talking about, however, I had no idea what was being discussed and it lost me a couple times. Maybe, these instances were simply victims of maximum word count; however, leaving the reader wondering about what is going on is not a very good habit for a writer to develop. With all that said, I must
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Okay, the ending may be very sad and depressing, but one must remember that there is a whole series that comes after this book and all loose ends are taken care of. The battles are amazing, the charectors are very likable, and the story is captivating. Tarrant Hawkins lives in a society that uses masks to show who they are which contradicts the automatic assumption that a mask is used to conceal an identity.Throughout the story you journey with Tarrant as he goes and finds who he is. A jolly good read, and quite possibly the best book ever writtin. When it ended I cried, and I'm not a very emotional guy, and the point I'm trying to get across is that this book changed me. Go out and buy it emmediatly, and you will not be disapointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'The Dark Glory War' was the first book I read from Michael A. Stackpole. It was very different. The creatures in this book were very well descibed such as gibberers. They were all different and created by Stackpole. I like that kind of change of creatures instead of goblins, orcs, and minotaurs. Michael A. Stackpole described all of the characters very well. I only give this book 4 stars because of the ending. I thought it was a great twist to the book but it was also sad in a way. My favorite character in this novel was Resolute. Although you don't get to hear from the Vorquelf very much, he still plays a good role in the book and the books to come. This a great book with good action and good fantasy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Stackpole is just.... wonderful. He describes the desire for power, love and honor beautifully. Although kinda depressing at the end, it is still a hard-to-put-down book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a fantastic read. Great to keep. ONLY GIVING THREE STARS UNTIL CLOSURE. still waiting the last chaos book. If this series finishes...i can virtually GUARANTEE a 5 star rating this book is to be the standard.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Stackpole does it yet again. Continuing his tradition of pleasing his fans. He perfectly targets the desires of the reader. Immediately he sucks you in with vivid imagery and wordplay so fantastic, it enlives your mind as though you were side by side the heros therein. The heros themselves are described and portrayed with such maticulous detail that it is all but impossible to not be submerged wholly in the text. Stackpole has this uncanny ability to unfold a multifaceted story arc with such finess and ease that one simply marvels at the refined style in which he expresses himself. he has discovered the key to perpetual page turning. Upon finishing a chapter, you find yourself forsaking sleep and reason to see where the tale will head. This book is so amazing it leaves you gasping and waiting for the next novel to come. The adventures of Tarrant and company, will excite and enrapture you. Read it, you will see what I mean. My words do it nor its author any justice. So write on Mr. Stackpole, we will keep reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Michael Stackpole's latest book, this novel is the introduction to the DragonCrown cycle. This book introduces you to four young men who are entering their 'moon month,' a coming-of-age ritual that sets an individual's life path. Events move quickly, with an invasion of Northern creatures interrupting the festivities and tests, and starting a series of events that eventually leads to a major siege by Chytrine's forces (the 'Forces of Evil') at Fortress Draconis. Of course, this being a Stackpole novel, there are a number of sub-elements working through the story. Early on you are introduced to Resolute, a Vorquelf. These are elves from the Island of Vorquellyn, which was overrun by Chytrine's forces many years (in human terms) ago. I have a feeling that Vorquellyn will play a significant role in the unfolding saga. Second, Chytrine is tyring to collect the pieces of the DragonCrown, a magical artifact that lets her control dragons, which are devastatingly powerful creatures. Then there are secret societies, internecine politics, and some real backstabbing, some of which you can kind of see coming, and some of which hits you out of nowhere. This was an enjoyable book. It isn't earth-shatteringly great, but it is fun, and I read it when I should have been doing other things, because I couldn't wait to see what happened next. I look forward to the next installment in the series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
excellent writing pulled me in fast and kept me reading into the long night. started reading stackpole when he did rouge squdron since then devoured all his works before and since
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mr. Stackpole weaves a wonderful tale with just the right elements of action, adventure, romance, and friendship. The elements come together to keep the reader on their toes, and to keep the pages turning. This is a truly gripping tale, and the first in what will hopefully be a series of wonderful stories
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was one of those in between books for me i usually read 2 series of books at one time but unfort i ran out so i pulled this off the self I will give Michael one thing he had me pulled into this book from the beginning and unfortunally I pray he now hurrys to make another just the ending by itself makes this book worth while... High Recommendation
Guest More than 1 year ago
I devoured this book. As always, the author has created excellent characters and a great storyline for them to flow through. I eagerly anticipate 'Fortress Draconis' the next book in I hope a long series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading this wonderful book and I must say that Stackpole outdid himself this time. I have been a longtime Stackpole fan and when I saw this book, I just had to pick it up and I'm very glad I did. The Dark Glory War has everything that a good fantasy novel needs and then some. I anxiously await the second book in this series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mr. Stackpole did it agian. I am a die hard Stackpole fan and was not let down by this, his newest work. The Dark Glory of War has everything you would expect, excitment, intrigue, love, live, a little mystery to keep you thinking, and a few things you would never expect in a million years... If you saw me when I finished I'm sure the expression on my face would have been priceless. I hope Mike devotes a lot of time into releasing the sequel (and know he will). Godspeed Mr. Stackpole.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In another jump into fantasy, Stackpole weaves a very strong tale from the viewpoint of Tarrant Hawkins. He does too good a job. I spent a long night reading to finish this book because it was so hard to put down. I kept thinking to myself just one more chapter. The story is very well told and background is brought in just when needed to keep the reader 'in the know' The only thing bad about this was the abrupt end. Not knowing that this was the first of a set of books had me horrified at the end of it. I am extremely glad that Stackpole will be finishing up this tale and hope him Penspeed so that he may finish the tale quicker.