Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer
War of the Third Demon, Part 1: Parents of a Savior, by Casey Thomas Lehman.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, July 2016, trade paperback $7.99 (288 pages), Kindle $2.99.
I’m not sure quite what to say about this book. The cover, which appears to be by crayon, gives an idea of its quality. The title is taken from the cover; the title page says Part 1 is Raising a Savior. The Copyright Notice, usually on the back of the title page in small type, is two pages in boldface leading with “1. Monetary gain directly from fanfiction or fanart is STRICTLY PROHIBITED unless you have received permission and verification from the authors!!!” There are five such rules. The Dedication is three pages ranging from to Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, the creators of Dungeons and Dragons®, down through Hayao Miyazaki and James Cameron to his mother. There are 11 pages of Glossaries at the end explaining the Japanese, draconic, and science-fictional terminology used in this book.
The principal characters are dragons. Here is the main villain:
“A monstrous dragon had just awoken, opening his four sunken eyes, allowing their red glow to illuminate a small area front of him and his six-goat like horns respectively. His jagged, sword-like black scales made a scraping sound as his legs dragged against the purple-tiled floor. He rose to his six legs, letting his rapier-like claws click against his gray, embroiled, rune-encrusted bed. He stretched, letting his saggy, dark-red underbelly stretch like an aged balloon as his six thin, bonelike, pale, sickly green wings spread menacingly. He finished by letting his pitchfork-like tail-blade slam against the colossal ruby roman-style pillars of his chambers – the demon dragon, also known as Rayburn.” (p. 11)
But don’t think that all dragons look like him. There are copper-, red-, sapphire-, silver-, and white-scaled dragons. There are onyx, ruby, and topaz dragons. There are mountain dragons. Yorek, the main protagonist, is a grayish-blue adolescent feathered and furry wind dragon. Here is a marsh dragon:
“The specie known as the marsh dragon could be seen as unusual to say the least. Their bodies’ coating was that of a rubbery skin reminiscent of a dolphin in place of scales. This was something that was present in a few species, yet Marsh dragons bore elaborate markings like that of a leopard, zebra, cheetah, tiger, or such animals. However, there were multiple varieties carrying markings reminiscent of Poison Tree Frogs, snakes, anoles, and other creatures. Their paws were shaped like a Leopard Gecko, including four digits. However, this was coupled with thick webbing and long-cat-like retractable claws carrying more length and sharpness than your average dragon breed. They also sported whiskers like that of an Axolotl, which functioned as a balancing tool. The oddest attributes, however, was their elf-like ears and barbed tail, along with their size being half of an average gemstone dragon’s. In this instance, said dragoness had blue and red zebra-stripes, black claws with purple webbing, pink whiskers and a deep orange barb and light blue eyes. She also sported multiple small and large scars on the lower underside areas of her front legs.” (p. 73)
She also talks with a high-pitched Swedish accent.
Other characters are furry kobolds, and – well, here is the city of Sekai Tachiiri:
“The barrier dissipated, revealing the marble housing, sandstone-covered streets and golden-covered archways of Sekai Tachiiri. It was a flourishing metropolis of dragons, kobolds, wyverns, elementals, centaurs, satyrs, kappa, trolls, nekomata, and every other creature under the world’s sun.” (p. 33)
One other important creature is Vinusto, a Tikbalang. For readers unfamiliar with Tikbalangs, Lehman’s description is “a handsome, male Filipino-accented voice spoke in an impressed tone from what seemed to resemble the head of a horse upon the body of a powerful man as two equine hooves tapped the ground.” (p. 25) Lehman seems fascinated by accents. The dragons are specified as speaking with American, British, Australian (“Welp, the little bloke sure the dinky-di when it comes to protectin’ his cook! Whaddya’ think, sheila?” –p. 233), and Irish accents; the kobolds have German accents; and the Tikbalang, as we have seen, has a Filipino accent. (More on the Filipino mythological tikbalang can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tikbalang.) Guess what accent the nine-tailed kyuubi and the tengu have.
Well, I’ve gotten carried away describing some of Lehman’s characters. Suffice it to say that you never know what exotic dragon or other creature you will encounter next. And colorful wordplay like, “Yorek leaped into the air, turning a full 980 degrees in a wind-assisted spin-jump […]”, and “The golem gnashed at him at mach 4 […]”
The plot! Mustn’t forget the plot. Yorek, an insecure 12-year-old wind dragon, falls in love with and weds the older white-scaled (British-accented) Radiata, Sekai Tachiiri’s Temperance Councilor. Together they become the caregivers of the copper-scaled dragoness Aria’s white-&-black egg that is determined in the shell to be:
“Radiata gave a kind smile and spoke in a saddened tone, ‘I’m here to tell you something about your egg, Aria…,’ Her face turned to depression as the next words escaped her muzzle in dismay, ‘It’s a… balance dragon. This means a demon dragon is on its way in fifteen years.’
This information shocked the entirety of the domicile. The world would be forced into genocide. It would have another decade and a half of preparation, and after that another war – The War of the Third Demon.” (p. 26)
Yorek and Radiata become the caregivers (foster parents) of Electus, the balance dragonling, for the first three years of his life, under the guidance of Hope Councilor Leon. (What is Leon? Read the book and see.) This book ends with Electus leaving his family to choose one of the other dragon Councilors as his mentor, and continue his training to confront Nocturnal, Rayburn’s leader of the demon dragon troops, in twelve more years.
War of the Third Demon, Part 1: Parents of a Savior is full of dragon love, lust, loss, redemption, raw sex, and all that stuff. Also lots of italics and boldface text. The trade paperback and Kindle editions have slightly different versions of Maura Pompili’s cover, which shows Yorek and Radiata gazing fondly at the infant Electus. Buy if you like dragons.