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NANO is Why: Review of Black Gryphon

Lackey, Mercedes, and Larry Dixon. 1994. The black gryphon. New York: DAW. Find in a Library: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/29508891

Rating: 3 stars

Review: This is the story of how the world that Valdemar found itself in came to be. Not Valdemar itself, but the Mage Wars referred to in the Mage Winds and Mage Storm series. It tells the last days of Urtho, Mage of Silence and his army’s efforts to defeat the evil authoritarian regime of the mage Ma’ar. This is a war fought by many races including gryphons. Gryphons are a race of sentient beings, semi-free, created by Urtho to help in the fight. One of the ways he had kept them loyal was through control of their fertility. At the time of the book human commanders were mixed in their treatment of gryphons. Some treated them well, others like cannon fodder.

The Black Gryphon of the book title is Skandranon. He’s a smart but proud Gryphon who advocates for better treatment and discovers how the gryphons can control fertility for themselves. Those two things actually turn his race into better fighters as they are now more free people than indentured servants.

A good chunk of the book revolves around Skandranon and his friendship with the human Amberdrake. This relationship is interesting and believable.

At the end of the book, everything blows up. Literally. The world changes greatly and not for the better. Think of a magical nuclear winter with not quite zombies and you’ll get the idea.

Overall a page turner, but not the best of the books set in the Valdemar universe.

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