The Dragonbone Chair

The Dragonbone Chair

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)

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Overview

A war fueled by the dark powers of sorcery is about to engulf the peaceful land of Osten Ard - for Prester John, the High King, slayer of the dread dragon Shurakai, lies dying. And with his death, and ancient evil will at last be unleashed, as the Storm King, undead ruler of the elvishlike Sithi, seeks to regain his lost realms through a pact with one of human royal blood. Then, driven by spell-inspired jealousy and hate prince will fight prince, while around them the very land begins to die.

Only a small, scattered group, the League of the Scroll, recognizes the true danger awaiting Osten Ard. And to Simon - a castle scullion unknowingly apprenticed to a member of this League - will go the task of spearheading the quest for the solution to a riddle that offers the only hope of salvation, a ridde of long-lost swords of power...and a quest that will see him fleeing and facing enemies straight out of a legend-maker's worst nightmares!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780886773847
Publisher: DAW
Publication date: 11/28/1989
Series: Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 800
Sales rank: 53,619
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 10.86(h) x 1.36(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Tad Williams is a California-based fantasy superstar.  His genre-creating (and genre-busting) books have sold tens of millions worldwide. His works include the worlds of Otherland, Shadowmarch, and Osten Ard­—including the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, and The Last King of Osten Ard series—as well as standalone novels Tailchaser’s Song and The War of the Flowers. His considerable output of epic fantasy, science fiction, urban fantasy, comics, and more have strongly influenced a generation of writers.  Tad and his family live in the Santa Cruz mountains in a suitably strange and beautiful house. He can be found at tadwilliams.com or on Twitter at @tadwilliams.

Table of Contents

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"An epic tale of the struggle of good against evil."—San Francisco Chronicle

"The fantasy equivalent of War and Peace."—Locus

"Sprawling, spellbinding."—Publishers Weekly

Customer Reviews

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The Dragonbone Chair 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 151 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best books are the ones in which I can "lose myself." This is an excellent book if you enjoy getting caught up in the characters, their lives, and their world. I count the "Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn" series as my personal favorite. The books kept my interest all the way through to the end.
DevoursFantasy More than 1 year ago
Out of the older tradition of fantasy writing, this one takes its time and builds slowly, carefully, meticulously, until we have a world and conflict that feels real and surprising in the present with the depth that a long history provides. Really good stuff if you're patient enough to let it simmer. What I would consider to be the introduction takes about 200 pages. Even then, it's not really until the end of this first book in the series that it really reaches the pace and depth that spurs you on to pick up the rest - immediately. No, it's not your quick fantasy fix, but it's infinitely more satisfying than the easy in-easy out fantasies that abound these days.
Deborah_Beale More than 1 year ago
Deborah Beale here (Tad partner & wife): we recently received this rave review from Christopher Paolini, and I thought I would take the liberty of posting it here. "Tad Williams is a huge inspiration for me. He's one of the main reasons I started writing fantasy. His books are epic, exciting, and filled with fascinating characters. When it comes to inventing imaginary worlds, he's as skilled as J.R.R. Tolkien and Frank Herbert. "Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn is one of the great fantasy epics of all time. I can't even remember how many times I've read it. It kept me so enthralled, I plowed through the last book in just one sitting! Here be magic, dragons, sprawling battles, thrilling feats of derring-do, ancient mysteries, hidden secrets-all the things a good story needs. These are the books, along with a few others, that led me to write Eragon. "Otherland is an awesome sci-fi story. The scale of Tad Williams' ambition and accomplishments as a storyteller in this series is amazing. He weaves together so many characters, locations, and unique worlds, you can't help but be impressed! Also, with Otherland Tad predicted the rise of the internet and online gaming long before it was invented. "Tad Williams' work is an essential part of any science fiction and fantasy library. I look forward to each new book he writes. If you like exciting, thought-provoking fiction, you owe it to yourself to give Tad a try. "His books are thick enough to stop a bullet! I know!" - Christopher Paolini
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fantastic novel. Highly recommended!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Slow start but ended leaving me wanting more
Guest More than 1 year ago
Truly one of the best books I have ever read. Very human characters. Also, enough twist in the plot to keep you wanting more. I truly hope that Simon and friends have more adventures.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Tad Williams is one of the best writers today, I will continue to buy everything publishes. This book had me up until all hours of the night reading. I would also recommend 'The War of the Flowers'.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read this series 3 times, and it is absolutely one of my favorites. I would highly recommend this to anyone who loves fantasy as much as I do. The books are very well written, and the story is very original. Enjoy!
Guest More than 1 year ago
An unbelievable series, I cannot express my gratitude to Tad Williams for his great creation. After being hungry for well written fantasy cause I finished Robert Jordan's last book I stumbled onto this. Fascinated by the artwork of Otherland I had purchased it and though I loved the writing I decided I was more in the mood for fantasy, and went out and bought this book... I'm very glad I did, don't be put off by the seemingly slow start because it very soon quickens and I almost devoured the books! A MUST read for any fantasy fan! The only downfall is that you won't find anything this good in a long time... but hey! just start over again! and don't be surprised when at times you feel a tear trickling down your cheek...;) If you know anything as good or similar please mail me.
Anonymous 8 months ago
The+Dragonbone+chair+is+an+excellent+second-novel%2C+one+teeming+with+potential.++Tad+Williams%27+focus+on+character-driven-plot+has+delivered+an+excellent+first+installment+in+what+is+wonderful%2C+breathtaking+epic.++
Anonymous 10 months ago
I%27ve+read+this+book+few+times+since+I+was+a+child+and+every+time+I+read+it+still+amazes+me+how+wonderfully+written+this+book+is+it+is+absolute+Marvel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I+can%27t+believe+I%27m+just+now+reading+this+series.++On+to+book+two.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I’ve read a lot of fantasy novels. It is hard to find ones as good as this. I understand different people like different things so I would say if you enjoy the likes of Tolkien, GRR Martin (books), and Jordan you will enjoy this. On to the next one..
Crowyhead on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Excellent high fantasy -- Williams knows his stuff, and he makes the conventions of the genre feel exciting and fresh. His characters and the cultures they come from are intriguing, and he's built a very believable history for Osten Ard and the surrounding lands. The weak point, at least in this volume, is really the "quest for the magical object" aspect of the whole thing -- it seems like it comes in a little late, and feels a bit flat after so much creativity. But of course, this is the first book in a very long trilogy, which gives Williams time to build things up a little more.
Nikkles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was my favorite book for many many years. Its a great coming of age story. Its also a sprawling epic in the vein of Tolkien. So, obviously people who like fantasy epics will probably like this one. The characters are dynamic and interesting to read about. The plot is fairly simple with the main characters spending most of their time trying to full fill various tasks to save everything they hold dear. The series is particularly interesting due to the character growth shown. People who don't like epics may not like this book, but since the characters are so well written you may still want to give it a try.
justchris on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Next on the list is the fantasy trilogy by Tad Williams. This author's debut novel, Tailchaser's Song was quite well received. It was similar to Watership Down in terms of being an animal story, in this case cats, that involves dialogue and a certain amount of animal society, but without completely anthropomorphizing the critters. I thought it was okay, but not worth acquiring.Then Williams came out with The Dragonbone Chair. Friends of mine attended a convention where Michael Whelan was a guest artist, and they were kind enough to get me a prepublication copy signed by my favorite cover artist (still is, but I am apathetic these days). I read this story and was blown away. I was similarly impressed with the rest of the trilogy (itself called Memory, Sorrow and Thorn): Stone of Farewell and To Green Angel Tower. It remains among my all-time fantasy favorites and I reread it at regular intervals (as it's appearance in this list demonstrates).Keep in mind that at the time I was well into my period of swearing off fantasy, since I was sick and tired of repetitive knock-offs built around medieval European cultural elements and generally being Tolkein derivatives. And this book has all of the classic fantasy tropes: a small band of heroes who begin separately but come together for a good cause, an evil threatening the land, a quest to save the world so lots of moving around the landscape fleeing bad guys and seeking the key to defeating evil, battles, the inevitable romance, and happy ending. And it has all of the standard fantasy characters: a hero of humble origins who turns out to be more than first appears, a wise old mentor who guides our heroes and has some share of magic, princesses in disguise, elves, dragons.It is also entertaining to match up the cultures that appear in the book to the real-world inspirations. The elves and the Norns are clearly inspired by Asian cultures (Japanese probably, among others). The Rimmersmen are Vikings, the Hernystiri are Welsh (or maybe more generic Celts), the Thrithings are horse-riding nomads (Scythians? Mongols? more of an eastern European feel), the Erkynlanders are Anglo-Saxon, the Nabbanai are Italian/Holy Roman Empire, with Perdruin being Sicily, the Wrannamen may be Irish or another marsh-based culture, but I tend to think more of the bayous of the American South (perhaps the Seminoles?), and the Yiqanuc trolls are like the Inuit or perhaps the Sherpas in the Himalayas. Now that I'm writing it all down, the fact is that all of the humans in this story are white, and any people of color are represented by nonhuman cultures. And of course there's no black folk here.While this trilogy has all of the standard, well-trodden features, many that can be correlated directly to The Lord of the Rings, it is still original and fresh, perhaps because in many ways it subverts the standard tropes, and perhaps the many, many secondary characters that provide dimensions and depth and bring the world and its many cultures to life. The narrative is filled with stories and songs, and the characters speak in a range of dialects reflecting their cultural differences. The dialogue is quite good, as is the prose in general, and the character development. It is, ultimately, a very long coming-of-age story, as a teenager matures into manhood and learns wisdom in the process of surviving many harrowing crises. It is also a meditation on love, loss, grief, despair, sacrifice, longing for peace/annhilation/the end of existence, honor, legends, human limits, and all of that good, big stuff.
CKmtl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A serviceable fantasy series. William's characters are interesting, as are his settings.I found some elements distracting, however. Some of his characters' names are unpronounceable, and the land's main religion is a lazy copy of christianity.
Karlstar on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The first book in the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy. This is a creative, wonderful piece of fantasy. Deep forces are stirring, and somehow the kitchen boy, Simon is involved. Simon gets involved via his mentor, a member of a mysterious group of individuals that write to each other, and who may or may not be wizards of some sort. However there is evil in the ancient castle, built on the ruins of an even older structure. While this may seem like the usual fantasy story of a youngster pushed into larger events, its much more than that. Very good!
fuzzi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this book when it first was published, back in 1989 or 1990, and have reread it at least once since, but not in a while.As I recall, the beginning chapters are slow going (just as "The Fellowship of the Ring" opens incredibly slow!) but once the protagonist, awkward 'mooncalf' Simon, leaves his home, it picks up.Williams has a way of grabbing you and immersing you in the story. Like few other authors (C.J. Cherryh and Roger Zelazny come to mind), Williams does not spoonfeed you all the background, but lets it trickle to you, gradually, and this technique might annoy some. I appreciate not having endless explanations in my reading, but want the author to just "get on with it!"It was a delight to reread it again, after about 15 years or so. Some books I have loved in the past no longer attract me, or leave me disappointed, but "The Dragonbone Chair" is not one of them.If you are a serious SciFi/Fantasy fan, you might enjoy this.
queencersei on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Prester John, High King of Osten Ard has died. His eldest son Elias has claimed the throne and sits in the Dragonbone Chair. But Elias¿ reign immediately descends into chaos. Beguiled by an evil advisor, Elias strikes out against his younger brother Josua. His people are crushed under the harsh new taxes levied, Elias¿ daughter flees her father in fear and the unspeakable evil only seems to grow.Simon, a simple kitchen boy, is initially taken under the wing of a powerful wizard. Soon Simon is forced to flee the castle and the only home he has ever known as he is drawn ever deeper into events he cannot begin to comprehend. Eventually Simon makes his way to Prince Josua just as the battle between royal brothers boils over. Only one thing is certain, the struggle over the Dragonbone Chair has just begun.
TheLostEntwife on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am not gonna lie to you ¿ this is some hardcore fantasy. I mean, I consider myself to be fairly well-read at this point in the whole fantasy genre thing¿ but this was nearly out of my league. It was like stepping into this room filled with all sorts of fantastic, historical facts and then made to watch a movie that assumed you had a passing knowledge of at least 50% of those facts. History lessons filled the pages in this first novel, and add into that a fair amount of world-building, in addition to some pretty heavy politics happening and it makes for a book that packs a helluva punch.What kept me going though was Simon. I loved that moonfaced boy, and I wanted to know what will happen to him. I loved the myth of the three swords, Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn ¿ for whom the series is named after. And I ABSOLUTELY adored the Sithi ¿ seriously, I haven¿t felt that much love for a race of fantasy creatures since I was introduced to Tolkien¿s elves. Loved, loved, loved them.If you are a fantasy reader, and want a definite challenge ¿ but one that is worth the challenge just for the Sithi and Simon alone, I recommend this series. I do plan to finish it ¿ but first.. I need to recover a bit. I¿m telling you, this was a helluva read.
Tcubed on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have always Relished Tad Williams style. Having read this book a few times now, I definately recomend it.As far as fantasy goes, it conforms to some stereotypes, but shatters others. Dragonbone chair allows Tad to take readers on a varied journey, through a new land of fantasy and war-torn strife.
FionaCat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
First book in the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy. A bit derivative of Tolkien, etc. but Williams hadn't hit his stride as a writer yet, in my opinion. One of my favorite authors.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is highly thought of by fantasy authors. Tamora Pierce rates it five stars on GoodReads and this was the series that inspired George RR Martin to try his hand at epic fantasy. This first volume of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn consists of 766 pages of such tiny print I feared for my eyesight. It's the kind of book with maps up front and an appendix and glossary in the back, written in omniscient point of view, populated with elves, giants, dragons and trolls, and studded with songs and poems. It took a long time to get into--for 170 pages in the paperback edition we pretty much just follow, Simon, the 14-year old orphan scullion, dodge his duties about the castle before Something Happens. He acts fourteen--a flighty, whiny annoying pain--but does grow in the book. My favorite secondary character was the Yoda-like Binobik and his wolf--once he shows up on page 252 the book was a lot less of a slog. Despite reviews calling the writing "beautiful" I didn't find the prose lovely: convoluted sentence structure, overdescriptive, overuse of italics and bold. The only other place I can ever recall seeing bold used for emphasis is bad fan fiction. Although good enough to keep me reading, I didn't find the style graceful compared to fantasy writers such as Peter S. Beagle, Tanith Lee, Ursula Le Guin, Mary Stewart or T.H. White. Moreover, the book could and should have been half the length; a great deal of the material was repetitive and unnecessary for world-building or character development. (And I would have appreciated far fewer dream sequences.) I looked on my bookshelves for my fat fantasy books: Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Dart is 912 pages; George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones is 835 pages; Terry Goodkind's Wizard's First Rule is 820 pages; Rowling's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is 734 pages. Did I feel the weight with those books? No. But Dragonbone Chair definitely needs a diet. With Carey and Goodkind the length of the first books and those that followed didn't daunt me--I eagerly pounced on their next books. But I look at the equally fat Stone of Farewell and then at the conclusion To Green Angel Tower--split into two books and each still over 700 pages--and I whimper. Don't know when or if I'll get the nerve up to finish this four book "trilogy," despite Dragonbone Chair ending on a cliff-hanger.
Khali on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I reread this after quite some time and I am pleased that the series is as good as I remembered. Williams has a deep sense of empathy for his characters and because of that he's able to show us how each character meets the challenges put before them - even the inhuman ones to a degree. Really, I just like Simon. He's such a mooncalf in the beginning that it's wonderful to see him grow with each experience. That is my main problem with a lot of fantasy that's on the shelves these days: the characters are so static or one dimensional, but you will not be disappointed with Soeman.