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Lord of the Isles (Lord of the Isles #1)

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  2,658 Ratings  ·  95 Reviews
In the "Lord of the Isles," Drake returns to fantasy with an adventure set in an extraordinary world where the elemental forces that empower magic are rising to a thousand-year peak. Into this world, survivors from the last magical peak intrude: Tenoctris, a quiet and scholarly sorceress swept out of the past at the moment of final catastrophe as her civilization sank bene ...more
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Published August 1st 1997 by Bookcassette
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May 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An exciting modern fantasy that is highly original and filled with such spectacular characters.

I was so excited when I discovered magnificent writer David Drake, who appeared within the fantasy genre with a refreshingly new fantasy epic as to rival many top writers. Similarly to stand-out authors like Robert Jordan, who is a master of heroic fantasy, or Terry Goodkind whose phenomenal imagination and power is simply mind-blowing Drake stands equally alongside them. This inspired work of creativi
Jay Daze
Jan 26, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
At one point in Lord of the Isles a character thinks how when weaving you need to have the pattern in mind before you start or else you'll be a poor craftsman. This seems to be a nod to the reader that Drake has carefully planned out his story, has got the pattern straight before he has begun. And indeed the broad outline of this first book in a nine book series is a familiar pattern of characters raised in humble circumstances rising to heroic nobility. The problem with the book is not the fami ...more
Jan 08, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-fun
I'm tempted to put a new category for my bookshelves: Didn't have anything better to read. But I guess I wouldn't have many books to put there, since I am usually able to put a book down if it's this bad. However, being that I was traveling (and partially that I'm just a bit compulsive about finishing books) I read it all the way through. It's not so easy (or cheap) to get books when traveling in Thailand, especially far from Bangkok. And as I have so many books already, I thought I'd just stick ...more
Lindsay Stares
The world-building seems decent at first glance, but it didn't feel like there was enough to it. You have your generic euro-fantasy peasants and traders and politicians, and a handful of "foreign" cultures. The most inventive part was the various jellyfish-looking monsters, shaped like giant alligators or made out of dead people. I felt that I was supposed to think there was some greater history behind what was shown, but that it was just a facade. The various human cultures didn't quite feel re ...more
Jess Mahler
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Good read, original world, well developed characters. Tenoctris may be one of my favorite wizards in all of fantasy.

Similar to The Wheel of Time, the story quickly splits the main characters and follows them separately through their various adventures. Unlike the Wheel of Time, Drake keeps it relatively easy to keep track of who is doing what and weaves the various subplots back together at the end of the book for an impressive conclusion.
Jacob Aitken
Drake says he's using Sumerian mythology to build his story. Smart move on his part. There are very few Sumerian-oriented fantasy novels, so Drake is guarranteed to produce something original from this angle. More on that below.

Granted, Drake's thesis is rather cliche: farm boy with a mysterious past goes on a journey and finds out he is secretly the king. Meanwhile, the world is about to suffer cataclysm or some evil wizard, etc. I suppose that's inevitable. One simply can't get around that.

This was a nice little throwback to some great 90s fantasy. That may sounds snarky, but I was in high school then, and I have a great fondness for that period of SFF. This reminds me of Kate Elliott's Crown of Stars series, Steven Erikson or perhaps early Robert Jordan or late Terry Brooks. In any case, if you were reading and loving epic fantasy in the 90s, you probably read and loved this.

The plot spools along at a good clip, with interesting characters and locations. Drake puts his characters
Aug 06, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, queued
I was a bit disappointed. I came to Drake via his military SF, beginning with Redliners, and have read pretty much everything he's written in the genre, as well as the writings of his frequent collaborators David Weber and Eric Flint - the holy trinity of military SF. This book was an enjoyable read, and an original concept, but ultimately not, in my opinion, up to the standards of his SF.

Still, I'll read the next book in the series!
Jim Pike
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While it started out very slow, and I found myself almost ready to quit reading, I pushed on. I'm glad I did. The pace picked up, the plot thickened, and the characters became more interesting. A good book is when you find yourself rooting for certain characters. I found myself rooting, and worrying for them. Some events made me gasp, while others shocked me. Many times, I found myself thinking "Well, I didn't see that coming." Very good read, and looking forward to the next book.
May 07, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Took me a year to get through this; partly because I read ebooks slowly (except when traveling; then I read them in great gulps), but largely because it never really grabbed me. Interesting world, some pretty good characters, but too much going on for me to keep straight . . . and in the end, I don't really care all that much about any of it.

Won't be continuing with this series.
Feb 07, 2009 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Character Driven story with an excellent pace that catches you in the first pages and drags you along with it.
Jul 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Totally awesome fantasy series.
Aug 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dark-fantasy
The setting of the book is varied and interesting and just enough different from your usual fare to hit the pro list. It’s a mix of medieval and renaissance-like cultures and societies which is par for the course for the genre. He liberally grabs into the goodie bag for other planes, demons, demon dogs, sprites, nymphs, undead, Bug-people, reptilian people and much more. So much more. It’s a crazy mix but it works. And interestingly the religion is based of Sumerian religion which also twists th ...more
Steven Booth
Nov 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Like the blues in the 1960s, Isles starts off as straight-ahead fantasy with the usual building blocks, but takes it in some interesting directions. It explores planes of existence and the characters morph and develop along the way. In the beginning, you think you've read this before, but you really haven't. Stick with it, it is worth the ride.
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
There are four or five interesting ideas in here and about fifty not-so-interesting ones that desperately needed cutting. If you ever wanted an example to demonstrate the importance of a good editor, this is it.
Jay Daze
Ilna, one of the four young protagonists, thinks how when weaving you need to have the pattern in mind before you start or else you'd be a poor craftsman. It's a nod to the reader than Drake has carefully planned out his story and has got the pattern straight before he has begun. And indeed the broad outline of this first book in a nine book series is a familiar pattern of characters raised in humble circumstances rising to heroic nobility. The problem with the book is not the familiar archetypi ...more
Joshua Palmatier
I've been meaning to read this series for a LONG time. I have all of the books, in hardcover, I just never got around to picking this first one up and starting it. (I have far, far too many books owned that I have not yet read. Someone should smack me.) In any case, I finally decided to dive right in.

The premise of the book is that a small sheep-herding community on the edge of one of the Isles that make up this world gets disrupted when first a strange woman appears on some flotsam, followed by
Sep 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my "waiting in line" and such e-book, so it naturally took longer to read than normal.

I say that to point out that even though it took me a few months to read, it was still a good book.

Why? Let's break it down like I normally do.

Setting: Some island area in a medieval setting. We get to see a few different islands and people from lots of different places on the islands. The prologue starts out a thousand years prior to the events of the main book. It took me awhile to figure out how and
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ugh. Is Lord of the Isles David Drake’s practical joke on all the fans of fantasy fiction? It’s all there, packed with wall-to-wall make believe: wizards and demons, heroes and scoundrels, kings and commoners, giants and tiny naked sprites, aliens, time travel, disappearing continents, re-appearing continents, alternate realities, multiple universes, magic swords, dragons, potions, inhumanly strong humans, super-humanly strong non-humans, and scores of unpronounceable incantations. All of it is ...more
Jun 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

~ Garric sauve une vieille femme de la noyade. Tenoctris est magicienne et dit venir du passé, il y a mille ans exactement. Cette rencontre va changer sa vie, mais aussi celle de sa soeur Sharina, et de ses amis Cashel et Ilna. Tenoctris les prévient d'une menace qui refait surface, et Garric a de plus en plus de visions du roi Carus mort il y a mille ans.

~ Le destin de ces quatre personnages semble aller dans la même direction, cependant ils se retrouvent
Genevieve's Human
Feb 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, novel
This is good, solid high fantasy. The quirky characters kept me reading, although Drake perhaps relies too heavily on the trope of small, rural townsfolk growing up to become miraculously powerful X, Y, or Zs. The plot was entertaining, but it felt at times like the editor had excised large portions of chapters. A chapter would end, and the next time I saw the character, lots had happened behind the scenes.

I may continue the series when I'm looking for more light fantasy.
Mar 02, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition Review

David Drake made his name in genre fiction with the Hammer's Slammers series of military science fiction about tough future mercenaries, launched in 1979. A versatile writer, he's also published well-received fantasies. Lord of the Isles opens a massive new saga of clashing swords and spells in an archipelago world. One thousand years beforehand, potent sorcery won a war only for it to backlash and sink the winning island. Now, with magic reaching another millennial peak of po

Apr 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When a old woman is cast up on the beach of the small village of Barca's Hamlet, she is the first of a number of visitors that will bring about huge change to four of the people living there. Sharina's mother has always treated her as something special, so she's only a little surprised when two nobles arrive and annouce that she is a long lost Royal Daughter. Her brother, Garric, joins his best friend, Cashel, on a journey to herd sheep for Benlo and his daughter, Liane, while Ilna, jealous of G ...more
Dec 25, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I just don't care about the characters or understand what is motivating them. They lack those internal moments where we get to dive deeper into their minds and feel empathetic towards them. Also, whatever heroics they perform are usually due to them being born with special powers that seem to just work whenever they need them. Too easy. When one kid touches a sword, any sword, he becomes the greatest swordsman the world has ever seen. No practice or hard work necessary. Another is a really power ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
I gave up after about two hundred pages, the story just couldn't hold my interest. Not sure why--there have been books I've hated with a passion and I could point to this that jarred or that which annoyed. The style was pleasant enough and there were some interesting magical concepts, but the world and the characters somehow never came into focus for me. Other authors have done the cliched riff of ordinary small village boy has special destiny/royal blood etc, which is a fantasy standard, and ye ...more
Colby Lund
May 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(view spoiler) ...more
Mar 04, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: epic-fantasy
I enjoyed this fantasy romp. I first encountered Drake's sci-fi in Hammer's Slammers and was curious how he might handle fantasy. I wasn't disappointed, but neither was I overly impressed.

One thing that struck me was my unexpected reaction to Drake's secondary characters: Tenoctris the wizard (although some might argue that she's a main and I'll concede the point), Nonnus the hermit and Mellie the sprite. I really liked them. That's not to say that that I didn't like the mains, but for some rea
Jul 23, 2012 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Il y a mille ans, le chaos a ravag� le royaume des Isles. Aujourd'hui la menace ressurgit. Les forces �l�mentaires de la magie d�ploient toute leur puissance et d�cha�nent une terrible temp�te. Au c?ur du drame, le jeune Garric sauve de la noyade une femme qui se dit magicienne et pr�tend venir du pass�. Le voil� aussit�t hant� par des visions du roi Carus, mort depuis plusieurs si�cles, qui le presse de revendiquer le tr�ne de Seigneur des Isles ! Pour lui, sa s?ur et leurs amis commence un voy ...more
Apr 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: high-fantasy
This is an excellent, although somewhat confusing, high-fantasy novel. It has a classic theme of good versus evil, which it explores nicely by refusing to say that Dark and Light are evil or good, an interesting magic system which sometimes involves blood sacrifice (it's not fully explored, at least in this book), and several storylines so that it's harder to get tired of one story, especially since it's a 625 page book.

It's true that it's slightly cliched, in its theme of good versus evil and u
M.A. Kropp
It was... ok. To me, it seemed like the author tried to tell a classic good versus evil story, but didn't quite make it. The faults were mainly the characters. There was very little shading to them- the good guys (and girls) were good and nice and right. The bad guys were evil and nasty, and in more than one case, not quite as smart and didn't understand the magic forces they were playing with. The good wizard, of course, did. It was all a little too neat.

I also found it a bit confusing to read
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David Drake is an American author of science fiction and fantasy literature. A Vietnam War veteran who has worked as a lawyer, he is now one of the major authors of the military science fiction genre.
More about David Drake...

Other Books in the Series

Lord of the Isles (9 books)
  • Queen of Demons (Lord of the Isles, #2)
  • Servant of the Dragon (Lord of the Isles, #3)
  • Mistress of the Catacombs (Lord of the Isles, #4)
  • Goddess of the Ice Realm (Lord of the Isles, #5)
  • Master of the Cauldron (Lord of the Isles, #6)
  • The Fortress of Glass
  • The Mirror of Worlds
  • The Gods Return