With King Reynold dead and the new king, Roland, a mere child, Tristram Radcliffe is serving as Regent and he has the weight of the country on his shoulders. They still don’t know who was poisoning Reynold and, when Roland falls ill as well, it is clear that the threats are not gone. In the meantime, the kingdom of Llangard still faces danger from enemies to the north — both human and dragon. The only thing that is keeping Tristram together is his relationship with Bet. The man may be an assassin, and he may not always choose the path Tristram would take, but something about Bet soothes Tristram and he is the light in an otherwise overwhelming existence.
Bet doesn’t know what Tristram possibly sees in him. No one has ever wanted Bet and no one has ever truly cared for him. There is something about Tristram that makes Bet feel tender in ways he does with few others. However, Bet is determined to protect Roland the way he failed to protect Reynold, even if that sees him land in the dungeon.
As Bet and Tristram continue at the Spires attempting to protect Roland and govern the country, elsewhere others face additional conflicts. Princess Gillian has been kidnapped and taken far north, but she may find that she doesn’t mind her captor as much as she thought. Sir Sidonie has escaped with the injured Rhiannon, and now they must help Rhiannon heal in time to warn the Llangardians of new threats from the north. And the young dragon, Hafgan, finds himself amidst danger from the stone clan, but possibly with an unlikely ally.
Now all these forces must come together to protect against a threat to both human and dragon, before everything they know is destroyed.
The Prince’s Dragon is the second book in the Fire & Valor series and continues the story started in The King’s Dragon. You are going to want to have read the first book to follow along here. As with the first story, the book is focused on Tristram and Bet as our main love interests and protagonists, but there is a large ensemble cast. The story is told by many POV characters, and their side stories all combine and weave together to build the overarching story arc for the book. It is a really entertaining structure and one that could have been hard to follow, but the authors really excel in this format. There are many pieces in play, with different events happening simultaneously to different characters. The authors do a fabulous job of taking all these myriad threads and building them together so they slowly coalesce over the course of the book. It allows us to focus on what is happening with Tristram and Bet in the palace, but still keep up with relationships between Sidonie and Rhiannon, and Gillian and Maddox, as well as various other players. I find this style extremely engaging and incredibly well handled, giving this story a really unique feel.
My only small issue here is that I felt like the core of the story doesn’t come together quite as clearly as it did in the first book. There I could see clearly the overall plot arc, even as we were getting multiple side paths. Here things felt a little more meandering at times and the main story thread isn’t always quite as clear.
I continue to enjoy Tristram and Bet together. They are seemingly opposites, with Tristram this shiny golden rule follower who takes the burden of the kingdom on his shoulders, and Bet the assassin used to living in the shadows. But for all his darkness, there is a sense of loyalty to Bet and he would do anything to protect those he cares about. I love seeing these guys together, as Bet slowly lets down his walls with Tristram and opens up his heart, and how Tristram has someone with whom to relieve his burden. As I mentioned, the story also features some other side character relationships, and I am enjoying the journey for those couples as well.
This book is the middle of the series and so things don’t tie up neatly here. We have some resolution in several areas, but lots of things are still open ended and big threats are still looming. I am very eager for the next book to continue this entertaining series.