9399588Third installment in the Brotherhood of the Griffon quintet by Richard Lee Byers, The Spectral Blaze returns us to the Brotherhood in Chessentea.

The dracolich Alaskabanbastros has been defeated, the red dragon king Tchazzar has reclaimed his mind, the game of dragon chess has been disrupted, and they now turn to face the new threat from the realm of the dragonborn: the kingdom of Tymanthor.

Or so they think.

Alaskabanbastros is still…alive?  Can a dracolich technically be alive?  Anyways he’s undestroyed, and in a new body. He wins Tchazzar over to his cause so they can wage war on Tymanthor together, all the while with both still playing the game.  The only thing is this ‘new’ threat from Tymanthor is not from the dragonborn at all, but rather priests of Tiamat stirring the pots by summoning shape shifting demons to disguise themselves as dragonborn and run amok.

 Oh, and I can’t remember if it was here or in Whispers of Venom, but we learn that this resurrected game of dragon chess is actually a spell that Tiamat is laying upon to dragons, infecting them with a compulsion to play the game and destroy the lesser civilizations of the world in order to take it over once more and reinstate her as the supreme dragon god.

So once more it’s all-out war, this time on three different fronts.  The Brotherhood survives by the skin of their beaks and Chessenta is laid to waste.  Not sure where they can go from here, but it will be interesting to find out.

In the meantime, we’re going to finish up with Ashok and the Shadar-kai of the Shadowfell with Unbroken chain: Darker Road.

10095748The witch Ilvani’s nightmares of a storm and a suffering soul are luring shadow creatures into Ikemmu, bent on hunting her down and killing her for reasons no one can ascertain. Ashok, however, is determined to find a way to stop it before the shadow creatures destroy the city he worked so hard to save. The trail leads him, the witch Ilvani, Cree, and Skagi along a caravan to Rashemen, where similarly strange attacks are happening among the secretive masked witches of the steppes.