Sunday, June 24, 2012

Rise of the Red Dragon by Martin Rouillard review

When Samuel Osmond sees two pairs of mysterious dice in a store for role-playing games, he thinks they’d be fun to show off at a cosplay event. He buys the white pair, leaving their black companions in the case. But when he casts the dice in his room that evening, he suddenly finds himself transported to a strange landscape, surrounded by scarred men in leather armor.

Samuel soon realizes that the dice have carried him back to ancient Britain, where the Briton army is at war with the Saxons. In this place, he has uncanny gifts, which he must use to put the rightful king on his throne. But darker forces are at work: back in his home world, someone has bought the black dice. Samuel must find the hidden enemy and undo his evil work before he unleashes a force from an even more ancient time.

4.5 stars

Rise of the Red Dragon is a very entertaining story focusing on an Arthurian story arc.  The premise of the story is a bit unique while still being somewhat familiar.  When a young man, Samuel, gets some money for his birthday he heads to his favorite store for RPGs and LARPing gear.  While perusing the shelves he sees what looks like a very authentic set of white bone dice that he feels amazingly drawn to.  When he purchases them and takes them home he begins to believe there is something very special about them, his theory is proven when the dice begin to glow and suddenly he is transported to another world.  When he wakes up he finds he has a fairy who is in charge of his education on his new role as a Lorekeeper.  He learns that he has been transported to a world that is based on the legends of our world that play out over and over again.  There are two forces constantly battling, one to change these stories and therefore change the real world, and the other to keep everything the same.

There were a few flaws in the book, but nothing that is really going to subtract from overall enjoyment of the read.  The first thing is because this book is translated from French there are a few places where there are some typos and grammatical errors.  Nothing that comes off as stilted and confusing, but just enough to put a slight stutter in the flow.  The only other thing that struck me as a little off was a bit of the story in the middle.  It felt a little slow and I was a little bit distracted.

There were many positives in this book so I'll just hit the big ones.  First off was Samuel.  I liked him as a character a lot.  It's nice to see a kid who is willing to stand up for his less popular friends, I know that it's really not a rare thing in this kind of story but Samuel was really done well.  The concept of Lorekeepers is also fantastic.  Although this book featured Sam dealing with an Arthurian myth there is pretty much no limit to where Martin can take these stories.  The second book is due out later this year and I am really looking forward to seeing what myth is dealt with next (I'm hoping for some Norse mythology personally).  Finally the secondary characters really helped seemed to add some depth to the story as well.  The friends that Sam makes while in the other world are some great people and I enjoyed their interactions.

This book was a very fun read and I'm impressed that it is from a first time author.  Hopefully the series will continue to grow and Martin will grow with it.  For fantasy fans highschool age and up should find this book extremely appealing.

Check out the book on Amazon or visit the author's webpage for more info.


  1. Great review, Scott! I am so impressed that this book has been translated from French. Any chance of an interview with Martin about the translation process? I have been toying with the idea of translating my books, but I am a bit intimidated by the process.

    1. I'll get in touch with him and ask. That is actually a very good idea for an interview topic so I'm a bit interested as well. If you have any specific questions send me an email and I'll include them if I get the interview with him.

    2. I'd be more than happy to do it! :) It certainly was a challenging but interesting process, hopefully more authors will give it a try. We definitely need more good ebooks in French.

  2. Ooh, so excited to read this interview! Thanks, Scott and Martin!

    Here are a few questions off the top of my head . . .
    1. How did you find your translater?
    2. How did you vet your translater / make sure you had a reputable one?
    3. Can you give us an idea of what it costs to hire a translater? I've looked into a bit, and appears incredibly expensive.
    4. Did you encounter any unexpected complications during the process?