- Verlag: Popular Library; Auflage: First Edition (Dezember 1989)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0445203498
- ISBN-13: 978-0445203495
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 16,8 x 10,4 x 3,3 cm
I was pleasantly suprised to get this particular book in the mail! Space opera is the best way to describe the genre, showing all sides of a declining, far flung insterstellar empire maintained by a remote administration. Policy is made and enacted by a fleet of dreadnaughts that are few and far between the stars. They protect their empire against remote hostile alien forces, and against the enemy within, nascent kingdoms of merchant princes scheming to master not only their own solar systems but the big catch -- capturing a stellar warship! All sides have their idealists, their practical realists, and their outright fools, and all put forward extraordinary effort to advance their agendas.
Many of Glen Cook's books have an epic scale, but this one is amazing, with hundreds of combat ships duking it out across whole solar systems, dead soldiers resurrected in their own cloned bodies, star fleets dispatched by computer, dead tactical officers' minds manifested as vertual beings that gradually lose touch with humanity, intelligent starships generating animatrons who can be seduced by a nymphomaniac spoiled heiress, manhunts over a whole arm of the galaxy, and a breathtaking chase sequence that made me think of the opening credits from the original "Star Wars". As always Cook shows us these events from the point of view of those who do the work.
Oh, the title is a metaphor. The empire of humanity is a pile of jewels sought by avariscious beings within and without. The "Dragon" who guards it is the interstellar fleet that must be constantly vigilant, and not always nice. Thus, their fleet directive ... "The Dragon Never Sleeps". Some of the characters are aware of where they stand in relation to this metaphor, some are not. There's a great sequence where the tragic hero of the piece, recruited by petty empire grabbing employers, puts them in their place by saying "I've dealt with thieves before."
Did I mention this was the best book I read in the year 2000?
And this may well have been Glen's best book so far.
Sad it's been out of print since its single first edition, more than ten years ago.
I recall buying it, because i buy every Glen Cook novel that comes out, and reading it in basically one sitting (and even though i read nearly 1000 words/minute, that was a longish read, because this is a *big* book). Not too long after that, as we were setting out on a seven-hour drive (to an SF convention, as it happens) my wife asked me if i had anything interesting she could read on the trip. I handed her "Dragon". She protested that she didn't like Cook's stuff. I persuaded her to try it.
As we were arriving in Louisville, she looked up and said "Okay -- when can I read the sequel?"
But there isn't a sequel. It's wide-open for a sequel. The last line almost *demands* a sequel.
But Glen won't write one. And i've bugged him about it on and off at SF conventions for years -- he just grins and says "Don't feel like it" or words to that effect.
But, even given the fact that this book really *needs* a sequel and there isn't one and there apparently ain't gonna *be* one, i cannot recommend it too highly as a classic example of how to do space-opera *right*.
Would be well-worth the effort of finding a copy if you like well-written, well-thought-out extremely wide-screen Space Opera; particularly, anyone who likes either David Weber's "Honor Harrington" series or "Doc" Smith's "Lensman" books needs to read this.
Plot, characterization and just plain imagination are Cook at the top of his game. I have read this book at least half a dozen times and find more hidden in it's depths at every reading.
What a pity this is not a series like the wonderful Black Company.
Glen Cook is the most under-appreciated writer of modern day. How lucky I am to have found him.
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