Book Review: The Dragon Business & Skeleton in the ClosetPosted: May 26, 2023 Filed under: Book Review, Books, Epic Fantasy, Fantasy, Fiction, Humor, Review | Tags: Book Review, Epic Fantasy, Humor, Kevin J. Anderson, satire, Skeleton in the Closet, The Dragon Business, Writing to be Read Leave a comment
About The Dragon Business
Is your kingdom bothered by a pesky dragon problem?
Need any giant monsters slain?
Are your own knights in shining armor unreliable or—worse—cowards?
Young Cullin, wanting to see the world, joins a band of renowned knights errant who will slay your dragon for a price. Satisfaction guaranteed!
The only problem is, it’s all a scam. The “dragon” is no more than rumors and tall tales spread by Cullin and his gang, giant three-toed footprints stomped into the ground near strategically burned-down huts and charred skeletons (procured from the local graveyard). It’s a great con job, so long as Cullin and company can take the money and run, move on to the next kingdom before anyone catches on.
But even con men can be caught in their own game. Clever, spunky Princess Affonyl doesn’t want any part of the arranged marriage to an evil duke from a neighboring kingdom. And she realizes that a fearsome dragon, even an imaginary one, is the perfect cover for her escape.
It’s one caper after another as these medieval dirty, rotten scoundrels try to outsmart one another. And they discover that the dragon business is more than just a game…especially if a real dragon might be involved.
WordFire Press: https://wordfirepress.com/books/the-dragon-business/
This book was originally released in 2018, but the digital copy which I read came from KJA’s January 2023 Kickstarter campaign.
The Dragon Business, by Kevin J. Anderson, drops readers right into the middle of a medievil con game. The marks are the kingdoms our three slightly bumbling tricksters travel to, selling their services as dragon slayers, which is fairly safe, since the dragons were all killed off long ago. But rumor of dragons in the area stir kingdoms to fear and it might be worth a great deal to a kingdom’s rulers to see the matter settled and the people calmed, wouldn’t you think? But eventually, all good capers go awry, and when a real dragon comes to town, it may now be up to our three heros, and a runaway princess, to save the day.
The funniest epic fantasy story you’ll ever read. Humorous and thoroughly entertaining. I give The Dragon Business five quills.
About Skeleton on the Closet
The Princess Bride meets Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels
Join former scamp Cullin and his merry band of confidence men (and one liberated princess) as they put The Sting in the Middle Ages. With dreams of being a hero, or at least a storyteller, Cullin travels with Sir Dalbry, a washed-up knight in shining armor; Reeger, ready and eager for any part of the dirty work; and Affonyl, former princess, who wanted to study science and alchemy, rather than embroidery.
Together, they cross the land with one scam after another, concocting their own heroic deeds, preparing mock dragon heads, or selling kraken tusks and mermaid scales.
But when attempting to con King Longjohn, whose castle is supposedly bursting at the seams with treasure, the caper turns sour. The powerful Wizard-Mage Ugnarok and his army of ugly and muscular (if not too bright) orcs takes over Longjohn’s castle, imprisoning the king, pillaging the halls, and carrying on with typical orc-like mayhem.
Cullin and his friends are trapped in the castle’s labyrinth of secret passages, just trying to survive … or is this the opportunity for a grander scam than they have ever attempted before?
Orcs are terribly superstitious—you can’t bash a ghost, after all—and it’s like Die Hard in a castle, as Cullin, Affonyl, Reeger, and Dalbry set up a grand haunting that will scare off even the scariest orc army.
After coming to know these characters in The Dragon Business, I couldn’t help but feel right at home as King Cullen begins the telling of this new tale for his son, Maurice. In my review of The Dragon Business, I said it was “the funniest epic fantasy story you’ll ever read”, but I may stand corrected here, as Skeleton in the Closet had me rolling with laughter even harder than that first book. Our troupe of con artists are up to new tricks as the market for the Dragon Business becomes saturated, with every con artist in the land jumping on the bandwagon. So Cullin, Reeger, Dalbry and Affonyl are back and they are thinking up some new tricks for conning Kings and Queens out of their vast riches.
What starts out as an artisitc masterpiece scam turns into a ghost haunting scam, when a group of vile Orcs invade the castle of our scammers mark, King Long John, looking for treasure which doesn’t exist. The Orcs won’t leave until they find the treasure, which our heros know they won’t, so they have no choice but to haunt the castle and save the king, in hopes that there will be a reward beyond his empty coffers.
Several questions still lurks in my mind, such as, how did Cullin and Affonyl finally discover that they were meant to be together? How did Cullin end up being king? And how did Reeger end up a tavern owner with a wife? And what happened to poor Dalbry, who doesn’t seem to be around anymore? So you see, there could be more tales to come, and that makes someone who has quickly become a fan of this series, very happy.
Funny and entertaining, This is a book you won’t want to put down. I give Skeleton in the Closet five quills.
Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs. Have a book you’d like reviewed? You can request a review here.