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The Sleeping Dragon

(Guardians of the Flame #1)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  4,645 ratings  ·  160 reviews
It began as just another evening of fantasy gaming, with James, Karl, Andrea, and the rest ready to assume their various roles as wizard, cleric, warrior, or thief. But sorcerous gamemaster Professor Deighton had something else planned for this unsuspecting group of college students. And the "game" soon became a matter of life and death as the seven a
Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 1st 1993 by Roc (first published 1983)
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Artisan Tracy Breeding This is one you most certainly want to read in chronological order

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3.99  · 
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 ·  4,645 ratings  ·  160 reviews

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Sebastien Castell
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
The Sleeping Dragon had been one of my favourite fantasy novels as a kid. It's portal fantasy in the classic sense, with a small group of role playing gamers in our world suddenly finding themselves in a strange land that mirrors that of their game.

When it comes to fantasy novels, rereading one's early favourites tends to bring about mixed feelings: the nostalgia of revisiting beloved characters offset by a sense of the writing feeling dated. That wasn't the case with The Sleeping Dragon, at lea
Nov 21, 2011 rated it liked it
CONCEPT: A group of gamers are whisked off to an RPG world. After almost slaying each other as their new personalities take over, the group sets out to find a means of returning back to their homeworld at a place known as the Gate Between Worlds. (Holds promise and attraction to gamers in seeing how these fish out of water types react in their new setting.)
MARKETING APPEAL: described below.

SCORING: Superb (A), Excellent (A-), Very good (B+), Good (B) Fairly Good (B-) Above Average (C+), Mediocre
May 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: D&D players, gamers, portal fantasy fans
Recommended to Zayne by: Michael Whaley
A group of college students are playing D&D as they do once a week, when their DM (a crazy philosophy professor) teleports them into the RPG world they've been campaigning in. Then starts their quest to find the Gateway that will lead them home. Sounds awesome, right? What gamer wouldn't want to read about this?

This had the potential to be a really good book, but unfortunately I was a bit disappointed in it. The plot was fine, but events often times were hurried or skipped altogether for the
Mike (the Paladin)
Really...2.5 stars a little better than just alright. I noted elsewhere that back a few years ago I read several books that really only had one thing to recommend them...they were set in RPG game settings...I have been a gamer since 1978. I suppose it warps the taste slightly when the book you're reading has a game reference (well except for Mazes and Monsters, we'd all have been better off without that one).

A group of gamers gets "flung" into the world of their game...and the uhhh, well, fun(?)
Oct 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: any sword-and-sorcery fantasy lover.
This book is very deceptive. It reads at first like any other Dungeons & Dragons inspired rip-off --- at first. But then it becomes something deeper without your noticing it. In fact, the story begins with a bunch of college students starting to play a normal everyday D&D roleplaying session. But something happens when one of them "opens" a supply chest their character find waiting for them on a hill. SHAZAM! They are there! And they are their characters. All too quickly they find that i ...more
The Captain
Aug 19, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
Ahoy there me mateys! I was trying to figure out what to read when I saw this old school cover in the hold . . .

The First Mate and his siblings fondly remember this series from childhood. And well I am an easy mark for all dragon-related things. So I gave this a shot. And I had very, very mixed thoughts. Be forewarned, unlike me usual posts, there are spoilers at the end because of a need to rant. Continue at yer own peril . . .

The book is set up in five parts:

The Student Union
May 17, 2010 rated it liked it
I first read this when it came out in the early 80's, I think. It's a fun book. While playing D&D, a group of college buddies are transported to the D&D world. Stuck there, they play out their lives in an interesting mix of fantasy world with their 20th century personalities & knowledge. It was a fun read. There are quite a few more books following it. I read the first five, but then lost interest.
Feb 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: other
I begrudgingly gave this book a three-star rating.
I loved the story. Or, I wanted to.

But at one point, the two female characters are gang-raped by the bad guys. No details except the men hearing "the screams of the women". Yea. Thanks for that. Why don't all of the male characters ever get gang-raped?

Anyways, beyond that, (view spoiler)
Apr 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This was a great book. The concept of being drawn into the game is just the start. There is great character development that makes you want to see whats going to change with them from page to page. All around a great story with some interesting life lessons for people. I definitely recommend for younger readers who enjoy role-playing as the basic concept is every true gamers dream come true.
Aug 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Definitely in my Top Five fantasy books of ALL TIME, I say that with ZERO exaggeration...

This is NOT a Tolkien-clone like Shannara. Yes it has elements Tolkien used, but the story is so damn original and refreshing it's shocking.

There is nothing to say but READ THIS NOW. Amazing storytelling and flow, superb characters, just everything that makes Fantasy perfect.

Sep 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book has been in my collection for years and years. I have shared its brilliance with every reader I know. The characters are lovable, the world is believable, and the writing pulls you in from chapter one. Of the books I've read in my life, none would I recommend more than The Sleeping Dragon. (along with the rest or the series)
Kourtnie McKenzie
Jan 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
My favorite book! Nobody seems to ever know about this author when I bring him up though, despite how much he's published. I believe this book is particularly appealing to anyone who's played tabletop RPGs before, but it can please any fantasy-genre audience.
Shannon Appelcline
Apr 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Surprisingly good. Rosenberg's writing style is a little unpolished, but he makes up for that with a deep look at his characters and a brutal realism.
Jeremy Jackson
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars, falling just shy of 4 simply because this felt like a book written too quickly: a few out-of-place words, great characterization diminished by smatterings of incongruous dialogue that didn't seem to belong. Rounded up to 4 because the book was so much fun. I agree with Sebastian de Castell, Rosenberg would deliver some great grimdark novels if he were writing today.
Aug 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: old-school
I've mentioned in the past how time and place can influence your perception of a book a great deal. There are books I was fond of as a child or young adult I probably will never read again, because I know their influence on thirteen year old me will never equal the reality of reading them decades later. Was it Asimov who joked that the golden age of Science fiction is "When your about twelve". Conversly there are works I didn't understand, or didn't enjoy as a young person I find new value in, a ...more
Nov 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I don't usually go for "series" type books, especially in fantasy & sci-fi, but this one was all right. In fact it could pretty easily stand alone as a single novel since it does tell a complete "story" in the sense that you see the characters develop. Continuing the story actually seems unnecessary to me, but I will probably read at least one more since my brother has already loaned me the next one.

As I understand the background for this novel, the author's wife or girlfriend was very into
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fantasy Fans
On GoodReads Five Stars means "amazing" and I usually reserve it for undying classics, works that changed my thinking, that have beautiful prose styles that give me writer's envy, that make me cry, or laugh out loud, not merely smile. I can't really say those things of the book (except I might have gotten teary-eyed at one point--I read it ages ago.) At first impression this book might seem routine. Seven college students from modern-day America playing a game reminiscent of Dungeons and Dragons ...more
Jan 19, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: late teens, early 20s gamers & f/sf-reading types
I've read the entire Guardians of the Flame series twice in the past, once probably in my mid-teens, and then again in my early twenties, and both times I remember enjoying them. I don't recall if I enjoyed this book in particular, or if I was just willing to slog through it in order to get to later books in the series.

Unfortunately, my most recent attempt at a reread failed utterly, because I just couldn't stand the characters, even the ones meant to be somewhat sympathetic. I know that part of
I first read this book more than twenty years ago, and I remember liking it, so when I found the ebook for a reasonable price, I figured I would read it again. This is exactly the kind of book that made me a fan of fantasy in the first place. A group of college students are transported into the world of a role playing game, and now have both the abilities and memories of both themselves adn their characters. The plot follows their attempts to get home, but mostly pertains to their differing reac ...more
May 04, 2012 rated it liked it
2.5 stars
Shortly, the group of gamers is playing D&D-like game and in one moment they're transported into fantasy world and the game becomes very very real.

I was huge fan of RPG so the synopsis made me curious. The story is starting with game session and it was a little long for my taste. I have to say it's more alluring to play the game than read how others are playing. It was boring. The interesting part begins after "accident" when they wake in fantasy universe and have to find the way b
David Hutchings
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
In my opinion, this is one of the best and most underrated fantasy books ever written. The concept is a little cliche, but if you look past that, you are going to find a story of friendship and a battle against slavery and hate. This book is short, fun, and it will leave you itching for the next one. I should know, because I ordered the rest of the series a few short weeks after purchasing it (and that was only after scouring all the used book stores in town and not being able to find them). Sad ...more
Nick Black
I enjoyed this pretty thoroughly as a kid. It came up, of all things, while shooting the shit an in interview for NVIDIA's compiler team last month (?!?), so I guess the lesson here is that even garbage comes in handy sometimes (for that matter, a brief biographical sketch of Robert Wilson I read a decade ago happened to come in handy talking to a Fermilab alum just last night, and my understanding of the female mind was largely shaped by Baby-Sitters Club, Cat Power lyrics and the Molly Bloom s ...more
Jun 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017-reads
It's hard for me to give this a rating as I originally read this in high school and LOVED it. Classic D&D player fiction. Crossing over into the world of your game. It gets 5 stars for all the memories it brought back. Is it a good book? It's fine .. a good fantasy novel. The female characters are OK, not great. But there are a few glimpses of interesting world-building. And some interesting (albeit brief) observations of quirks of character traits and personality - of what would happen if y ...more
Nov 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I absolutely loved this book. I first read a part of it (like the first three chapters) when I borrowed it from a stranger to pass time at a class and then it took me three more years to finally track a copy down and read it cover to cover all in one go. A great book for players of Dungeons & Dragons who ever wondered what it would be like to be transformed into their characters into a fantasy world- dark, dangerous and with no traditional health care.
Feb 15, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
If there is a catagory of fantasy named people sent to other dimension into fantasy realm to fight then this book would be up at the top of the list along with the Doomfarers of Coramonde by Brian Daley, and Witch World by Andre Norton. The characters are interesting and the story is well told. I havent read this book in years but I pick it up and I still remember Karl and the rest from the dungeons and dragon game.
Rick Lasly
Oct 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Truthfully, I've never been big into Dungeons & Dragons (the game). So this story started out a bit slow from me, as someone who never played, it was information that was "over my head." However, I found the story line and thought behind this book interesting and I'm glad that I read it. Now I will have to sniff out more from Joel Rosenberg.
Kris Hasenfratz Ten-Eyck
Mar 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read this in high school (let's just say that is was a while ago). I actually remember that I liked this book enough to search out further books in the series. It must have been dang good.
Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun read!

Can be read as light entertainment, but there is more to be had than swords and sorcery if you look for it.
Harold Ogle
Jul 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: low fantasy fans, gamers
Back in the early 1980s, the world was still reeling from the invention of role-playing games, and there was a brief period where role-playing games featured strongly in fiction. This included several books and series that imagined what it would be like if the games were real. Andre Norton did an inferior version with Quag Keep, and there were quite a few that were done for humor, but the "Guardians of the Flame" series remains the benchmark for me. The series is like a gaming campaign in many r ...more
May 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: in-the-game
A dark story about people who make mistakes and find redemption.

I read this series as a young adult and enjoyed it, so I decided to take a stroll down memory lane and read it again as an adult as an audiobook.

It's a rare genre that I have a soft spot for: a group of college-aged kids who roleplay together end up in the game for real, no longer playing characters but actually living their lives, with the knowledge and skills from their own lives. It's a pretty awesome idea - take your average tee
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Note: This is a different person than the political/thriller author, Joel C. Rosenberg

Joel Rosenberg was the author of the bestselling Guardians of the Flame books as well as the D'Shai and Keepers of the Hidden Ways series. He made his home in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Other books in the series

Guardians of the Flame (10 books)
  • The Sword and the Chain (Guardians of the Flame, #2)
  • The Silver Crown (Guardians of the Flame, #3)
  • The Heir Apparent (Guardians of the Flame, #4)
  • The Warrior Lives (Guardians of the Flame #5)
  • The Road to Ehvenor (Guardians of the Flame, #6)
  • The Road Home (Guardians of the Flame, #7)
  • Not Exactly the Three Musketeers (Guardians of the Flame, #8)
  • Not Quite Scaramouche (Guardians of the Flame, #9)
  • Not Really The Prisoner of Zenda (Guardians of the Flame, #10)