The Golden Cord, book one of the Iron Dragon series, by Paul Genesse is an original take on the classic storyline of a small town boy becoming a dragon hunter. Although our hero is not the normally expected dragon fighting knight, he is a man with a crossbow. I recently picked up the first three books at a writing conference directly from the author and read the first book.

The short review is The Golden Cord is a good read. There are strong characters in a unique world moving through a story providing originality and twists allowing the reader to be involved. The pace moves along and the reader becomes involved with the characters as they develop and learn more about the eventual dangers they will face. It is an appropriate read for young adults and older. There are a few descriptive passages dealing with the aftermath of battle and an attempted seduction some young readers may find rough.

I enjoyed The Golden Cord for a number of reasons, all of which tie back into the fact it is a good, solid story with the elements I look for in my reading: characters, setting, and storyline.

Drake is the lead character who is the protector of his village, by his own choice is placed in a position of needing to help two racial enemies. Two dwarfs (Drobin), Bellor and Thor, are on a sacred mission and they need a guide to find lost clansmen. They travel together along with Drake’s two bullmastiff dogs, Jep and Temus. As expected, they eventually overcome the racial teachings and become friends in the end.

All of the characters, even those from a single scene, have depth. They have strengths and flaws, traits we see in people around us. I was able to relate to every one of them. The relatability of the characters allowed for a greater ability of suspending the disbelief of the fantasy aspects brought into the story. Even to the end of the book the characters don’t break from the fundamental understanding of themselves we have been presented.

The world Genesse created is introduced at the beginning of the story. You find yourself in a harsh environment unlike anything we have experienced. Through the characters you are allowed to understand the world as a person who grew up with it. They are not “adapting” to the environment as though we have traveled from our world to theirs, but they are a part of it, living within it, and with it. The setting became a character of its own. I found myself anticipating what other wonders of the world were going to be shown to me. Though the world may not be sentient, every person and creature is part of the environment created.

Because the characters are a part of their world, the elements  brought forth are believed by the characters and thus allow the reader the freedom to believe them. The story machinations flow together with the characters and the settings. Everything is presented along a path woven into the larger scenery allowing us to understand how the events could happen. The magic used in the story is justified and requires a price from the user. This shows there are limitations to what any of the characters can do. There is no sudden revelation, no sudden twist of magic that saves the day at the end. What there is an outcome that is logically presented within the facts of the world that has been built.

It is not a hidden fact this is the first book in a series of five. The foundation of the overarching story is established and the story of this book stands on its own. You don’t have to have the next book, but I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

I know some people who don’t like to wait for the next book in a series. So, I do know that at this point in time Paul Genesse is putting the finishing touches on book four and book five is nearing completion of the first draft.