|Dragons Away is the first novel by
husband and wife team Kevin and Diane Berry, who collectively write as K. D. Berry.
Away is part of that new and growing breed popularised (if not pioneered) by
Terry Pratchett and Craig Shaw Gardner: the comedic fantasy. To this end the Berrys have
done passably well. Some of the moments of humour produced a wry grimace, but others,
especially those with goblins, were very well executed indeed.
Dragons Away tells the story of a Machiavellian plot dreamt up
by a scheming megalomaniac of a king and the real force behind the throne the
queen. There is to be a race of ten leagues to an identified point and back again, with
the winner gaining or keeping half a kingdom. The rule of the race simply states that
there is to be a rider on a beast, beast unspecified. One king plans to use a camel, the
other has a [flying] dragon that belches fire, a little difficulty keeping his trained
jockeys uncooked, but thats a mere technicality. Of course, the race will be rigged
to make sure!
The pleasure of Dragons Away is that for the most part the tale
is told using characters that grow as the story progresses rather than speaking foils for
jokes and hideous puns. Also there is a genuine plot with shades of dramatic tension. If I
have one complaint about this book it is that some of the names used caused me to mentally
stumble nearly every time I read them: Reveefton especially. That was one joke that was
lost on me.
I am fully aware that humour is a personal thing; what I find funny others think is
merely odd. This was a book I enjoyed reading and enjoyed more the more I read. Not bad at
all, in fact almost very good especially for a first effort. I wish the Kevin and Diane