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Geschmiedet in Feuer und Magie (Moshui, the Books of Stone and Water #1)

3.32  ·  Rating Details ·  273 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
From award-winning author Daniel Fox comes a ravishingly written epic of revolution and romance set in a world where magic is found in stone and in water, in dragons and in men–and in the chains that bind them.

Deposed by a vicious usurper, a young emperor flees with his court to the small island of Taishu. There, with a dwindling army, a manipulative mother, and a resentfu
Paperback, 608 pages
Published April 12th 2010 by Blanvalet (first published January 1st 2009)
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Apr 07, 2009 Terence rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Terence by: SF Book Club blurb/reviews
Shelves: sf-fantasy
I have belonged to the SF Book Club for close to thirty years now and through them have read some of my favorite books - Downbelow Station; the first 5 Chronicles of Amber, aka "the good ones" (IMO); Butterfly and Hellflower; the original Conan stories; The Swordswoman and Consider Phlebas, among others. Most of them were "risks" - I didn't know the authors at the time and was relying on the blurb and just possibly the cover art. Dragon in Chains is another one of those risks. I knew (and still ...more
Sandy Lender
Sep 25, 2009 Sandy Lender rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was disappointed in the novel Dragon in Chains. In this story, the mother and generals of the young emperor have forced him to flee his palace and he crosses the waters to the island of Taishu. While crossing, he purchases a fisherman’s granddaughter, Mei Feng, to be his concubine. Concurrently, a boy named Han, who has been sold after just “escaping” one form of drudgery to the pirate ship Shalla, is used in a raid on an important forge where a large slave is set free from huge chains. The sl ...more
Ranting Dragon
Mar 29, 2011 Ranting Dragon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: caleigh

Inspired by the culture and myths of feudal China, Dragon in Chains is the first book in Daniel Fox’s Moshui, the Books of Stone and Water trilogy. Four main characters’ stories are bolstered by a large supporting cast, and the action ranges from a slave boy’s efforts to subdue the chained dragon beneath the sea, to a jade miner caught up in banditry and addiction, to a young fishergirl’s sudden plunge into imperial politics when the young emperor-in-exile
Beryll Brackhaus
Basically there is only one really good thing about this book: the writing style is really beautiful and very fitting for the setting. At some points it feels more like reading a Chinese ballad than reading a modern novel. The author has a way with pretty words.

Sadly enough he can't put that to good use.

The plot is incredibly slow and still winding. Nothing much happens but it still is twisted enough to not have you know where exactly it's supposed to go. Only on the last 50 pages does the story
Barbara ★
This is a book written by a man for a man's enjoyment. It is full of senseless violence with a plot that is apparently being stretched out to make this into a series.

The current emperor is a boy (teenage?) who is a puppet for his mother who really rules. They have been chased out of the city by rebels and are regrouping on an island. The emperor's people are violent and spend all their time raping and pillaging the town for no reason as the people are more than willing to just give them what the
Jan 04, 2017 Sam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, asian
Příběh se dost táhnul (až lemroušsky) kvůli přeskakování k různým postavám - ze začátku jich bylo snad pět, až se na konci tak nějak skoro všechny pohledy prolnuly a zbyly jen dva (nebo tři?). Navíc se mi zdálo, že autor si všechnu akci šetřil až na konec knihy. Skutečné hrůzy války tam sice popsal dost autenticky a hrozivě (až se mi z toho dělalo místy špatně), ale to je asi tak vše. Docela by mě zajímalo jak to bude pokračovat, protože na konci se to konečně všechno... !!!
Jules Jones
This gorgeously written book is the first part of a new fantasy trilogy which draws on medieval China for its inspiration. It's an alternate universe China, of course, and one of the ways in which it's alternate is that magic is real, if largely subtle. Subtle enough that some characters do not realise that the magic is there. Even the dragon of the title is a background menace in this first book, thought of as myth by the people who don't live in her territory, although she's a key part of one ...more
It's a (very) slow start, as trilogies go; there are a lot of characters, and the author has to spend a lot of time laboriously getting them all lined up and moving in the right direction for the (presumably more exciting) sequels - the action here really doesn't pick up until the very end, and even then gets cut short just as it was starting to get interesting (of course). I'm still not sure whether it was a problem with the pacing of the plot itself or just that there were many characters; the ...more
Oct 09, 2011 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Dragon in Chains" is the first novel in a new series by Fox, set in a fantasy world with trappings of the Orient. We follow a half-dozen protagonists through great changes in their lives at a time of turmoil in the world: the young boy Emperor and his mother the Dowager Empress have been chased from the capital by an army of rebels and have fled to the small island of Taishu where Jade is mined.

The strait between the mainland and the island is said to hold a chained dragon, but the monks respon
Mar 22, 2011 Miranda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 19, 2010 Jacqie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book just after Liz Williams' Snake Agent- and it might have been a bit wrenching to go from modern China/cyberpunk to mystic medieval China.
I did enjoy the book though, and more as it went on and the different character threads began to pull together. At first, the fragmentation of character viewpoint kept changing the story's pace; when I wanted more about a certain character they would disappear and I'd have to do a mental reset. The dragon was almost too menacing; once she's free
Dragon in Chains takes place in an Asian-inspired fantasy universe where a dragon has been chained beneath the ocean, and an emperor flees to an island to escape rebels who wish to claim his life. The story is mainly told through three primary PoVs: a crippled slave boy who is bound to the dragon and must keep her chained, a fishergirl who becomes the emperor's concubine, and a jade-miner who falls into dire straits trying to bring a gift to the emperor.

Overall, I felt the book was pretty good.
Roger Eschbacher
Apr 28, 2011 Roger Eschbacher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"A fascinating look into a world that is largely ignored in western fantasy fiction, Daniel Fox's "Dragon in Chains" is a welcome detour into the realm of Chinese culture and mythology. Fox masterfully weaves several complicated storylines, each centered on a different young man -- the boy Emperor fleeing a deadly rebel General, a jade miner with supernatural strength and endurance, and a maimed river rat who uses his mind and magical chains to keep a great dragon imprisoned beneath the waves. T ...more
Nov 18, 2012 James rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
It's hard to fairly evaluate this as a stand-alone book, because it's clearly intended to be the foundation for a trilogy. As such, most of the book is spent world-building and introducing the characters and conflicts that will, I'm sure, be at the heart of the next two books.

Unfortunately, there wasn't enough in this book to make me buy the rest of the series. There were a lot of characters, so many that none of them were able to develop well during the course of the book. There were a lot of p
Mar 24, 2009 Courtney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good start to a series with great potential. The story is about a dragon who is imprissoned in China. It has pirates, emperors, fisher-girls, and a whole slew of accompaning characters. The story is very simple, there are no real 'wow!' moments in it, but it has a lot of heart, which I think make up for it. It is the first in a series by Daniel Fox, and while it could go either way, either a wonderful tale or mindless, boring drivvle, I think if Fox continues to develop the characters and ...more
Jul 04, 2013 Greg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really nice, atmospheric and immersive Chinese-influenced fantasy, with a number of plot threads - the fisher girl turned imperial concubine, the boy miner tainted with mystic jade, the emperor-in-exile and the terrifying, long-imprisoned sea dragon - which only start to dovetail at the end of the book. The writing is beautiful, with a lyrical quality that somehow adds a timelessness to the novel even in action scenes. Some of the imagery and concepts are genuinely haunting, and the descriptions ...more
Mar 16, 2012 Chani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice read. I love the way the author portrays the relationship of the mountain people with jade as well as the emperor's sole claim over it. It was so unique and lovingly grounded in Asian tradition. Mai's character is also great. A strong girl who grows up as a fisherwoman on her grandfather's boat who then becomes the emperor's consort. There was a great interplay between her finding ways to control her lord and the kingdom without turning into a bitter and slutty queen/consort who rules from ...more
May 23, 2016 Steven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Engaging fiction set in ancient China is hard to come by (I'm a rabid fan of Robert Van Gulik's Judge Dee) so I assuage my hunger with tales set in alternate or fantasy Chinas. There are very few authors who can write good fantasy AND evoke the authentic atmosphere of ancient China. Guy Gavriel Kay and Barry Hughart are the best, in my opinion. Daniel Fox does reasonably well in this first book of the Moshui series. Well enough that I'm willing to buy the other two books.

He never calls the empir
Clay Kallam
Apr 29, 2010 Clay Kallam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
“Dragon in Chains” (Del Rey, $15, 399 pages) is another first-of-a-series, but happily, it actually has a conclusion – however telegraphed. Still, Daniel Fox manages to meld magic and medieval China in an unusually well-written way, and the story of, not surprisingly, a dragon in chains, a young emperor facing a revolt, and several peasants who find themselves in the middle of great happenings is a solid read.

Fox, however, makes his heroes almost superhuman at book’s end, and without enough setu
Oct 03, 2011 Tasula rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fantasy about an alternate China- with a young emperor deposed from the mainland to an island (Taishu) (sound like Taiwan?). Several converging streams: an old fisherman whose granddaughter meets the emperor and becomes his companion, a jade miner taking a large jade to the city, a pirate captain who captures a boy who encounters a dragon chained in the sea, a vicious usurper hounding the emperor. I would have subtitled this book "Death around every corner" because of all the violent deaths, o ...more
Dec 27, 2013 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-high, dragons
Crossposted at Booklikes

This takes place in a fantasy version of China. The characters are templates and overall more types than anything else. I’m not sure if I fully buy the idea of Mei and the Emperor.

That said, the world building is awesome and three characters stand out. Jiao, Han, and the dragon. Han is connected to the dragon and Jiao is a mercenary. It isn’t the best fantasy I read, but it is entertaining and fun.
Jul 15, 2012 Joy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was very please to find a fantasy world based on something other that Feudal Europe. The resemblance to Taiwan is present including a great oriental dragon and sea goddess. The author writes poetry so the story is very beautifully written. The young Emperor fleeing in front of the rebels who want his throne, falls in love with the daughter of a fisherman. So, nice love story surrounded by politics, betrayal and magic.

I enjoyed the suspense surrounding the fate of all the characters and despite
Mar 28, 2009 Jen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2009
This is a pretty good book. I'd call it a Chinese fairy tale, but there are no fairies. There's jade, an emperor, a dragon, and people who get caught up in events bigger than they are. It's incredibly well-told and an interesting story.

I can't tell if it's the start of a series or not. The book doesn't say specifically, but events are left open at the end for more story to be told. The cover claims that this is an "epic", but at less than 400 pages, I don't think it can fall into that group.

I had to stop after four chapters, which is why I didn't star this review, I felt it would be unfair to do so without having read the whole thing. It seemed well-written with good characters but the tone and the story itself just weren't what I was looking for. It leaned much more to somber and philosophical and deep meaning while I just wanted to escape to some fun so I had to put it down.
Another major disappointment and a book I had high hoper considering that I loved the author's Outremer series and I liked his Selling Water too (both written under his real name Chaz Brenchley btw); this one just did not work in any way, shape or form for me, as setting, plot or characters; the writing is good as style but the book holds no interest for me
Jun 24, 2009 Cissa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well-written book, but set in a grim world. I admire that but am not sure I enjoyed it exactly.

Also- my copy arrived with over 30 pages missing from the middle, and while Amazon said they would replace it (I'd bought it from them), they also said that in general they would NOT do that even for defective books if the defect took more than 30 days to discover.
Nov 14, 2009 Reed rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Dragon in Chains is a well-written novel, with an intriguing setting right in my wheelhouse. A fantasy in an ancient faux-China? Sign me up!

Unfortunately, it never took off for me. Reluctantly I put the book down after 150 pages. I wanted to like it, but it worked best as a sleep-inducer. Too bad.
The prose pacing didn't match the action in this which was off putting. Actually I didn't like the prose, far too repetitive. Story picked up about two thirds of the way through which lifted it from two stars.

Didn't really engage with any of the characters. Interesting setting though and I might well pick up the next book solely based on that.
Maria Elmvang
I read the first 40 pages but couldn't get into it at all. The writing style didn't appeal to me, and the characters weren't likeable nor intriguing enough to keep me reading when the plot didn't capture me.
May 07, 2009 Patty rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I think I was expecting more of this book than it actualy was. It wasn't bad...but I've read better fantasy books than this one. It was an interesting attempt at an Asian setting fantasy, but felt too Western in its execution of the story.
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