The second book in any trilogy not only continues the tale of the first, but adds in new obstacles to be overcome. Some plot points from the first book will find resolution, but not all of them, especially not with the additional material. New characters are introduced, and old characters may develop or leave. Or both. The stakes are raised, but nothing is concluded.
So it is with The Dragon Circle, book two in The Staragods trilogy. We continue to follow the story of the O’Hara brothers, smugglers who ended up on a remote planet. The “natives” are descendants of a colony ship that landed three hundred years prior, and they end up worshipping the brothers as gods, especially for how the O’Haras threw down the cult of Simurgh. Simurgh was a red-tipped dragon who took a liking to human flesh back in the day.
As far as history goes, we know that the three brothers have been roped into this smuggling run by their mother, who has ruled the family since their father disappeared more than twenty years ago. That allowed the governor of the planet where they lived at the time to decide they made too much money for his liking, outlaw the family, and then attack. Katie, or Mari Kathleen O’Hara, the lone sister, was separated in the confusion and the smuggling money is intended to first buy back the O’Hara’s citizenships, then find her once again.
Except she’s already found her brothers…from the Imperial Military Police cruiser that’s been pursuing them for five months. You can imagine that the reunion is rocky, to say the least. Plus there’s now the 300+ people on the cruiser to deal with, while the brothers seek to not only keep their planet pristine, but also preserve it from the greedy attentions of the Terran Galactic Empire.
Fresh and genuine food is one of the most valuable commodities in the galaxy, but full member planets of the Empire are so polluted and stripped of resources that their cities are domed, their showers are sonic, and their bodies are smaller. Bushies, from less civilized planets, tend to be much taller than civics, and are known to eat meat. Civs consider meat to not only be barbaric, but also view all life as sacred…in some sense. I get the feeling there’s very little religion left in the Empire, aside from holdouts like the O’Hara’s mother.
Also, a word to the wise. If you’re having a conversation with a dragon, don’t tell him that you’re not sure you believe he exists. He may poke you with a horn for that.
What more can I say about The Dragon Circle? I clearly enjoy the book – in fact, The Stargods trilogy is probably my favorite part of the series – and I’ve reread it many times in the ten plus years since it was released. I remember how excited I was when browsing Barnes & Noble one day and noticing The Hidden Dragon on the shelf. It was only the second time I’d seen a brand new book in this series on shelves, rather than me catching up on what was already released. I knew immediately what it must contain, and I was not at all disappointed. The Dragon Circle is a clear continuation of its predecessor, and I find the second volume just as engaging.
I really do love to reread my books, to experience my favorite adventures over and over again. A good book takes a lot of rereading to get old, but I try to space out my returns so that I am able to fully appreciate the books and series when I do come back to them. After all, what’s the point of reading if you don’t have any fun doing so?