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The Dinosaur Princess
by Victor Milan
TOR Books; $26.99; 463pp
Published: August 2017

And the dinosaurs are BACK!  Hang on to your hadrosaur!

As you may recall, we last left the Empire of Nuevaropa in the midst of a horrendous battle on the hill of La Boule near Canterville between the Grey Angel Raguel and his slavering mindless Horde and the human forces of Nuevaropa. (Dinosur Knights reviewed here)

And thankfully—the Grey Angel, in a terrific tour de force, is dispatched and his human-eating minions as well.

In the opening scenes of this novel, we are surrounded by the detritus of war:  the thousands of fragrant dead and dying soldiers, dinosaurs and horses.

Amidst the carnage, the triumphant Emperor Felipe decides to award several titles. Among them, he makes the mighty and now near-legendary  Karyl Bogomirskiy a Duke and even his good friend Rob Korrigan, dinosaur master supreme, is made a Baron—and they are given lands along with their title.

But while things are settling back to normal, the Imperial Princess Melodia’s younger 16-year-old sister, Montserrat is kidnapped.

Count Jaume, Melodia’s love and Felipe’s Imperial Champion (who was made a Prince of the Empire after the battle) immediately sets out to find the perpetrators.

Meanwhile, back in the palace…nasty machinations continue to take place. The now Duke Falk (so very unctuous and irritating)  and his creepy, manipulative mother the Dowager Duchess Margrethe are working away at undermining Felipe’s rule. Just who is behind the kidnapping of the Princess? Is it really the kingdom of Trebizon as it appears on the surface of things? Or someone else? Who benefits from such a conflict between the two nations?

Melodia, at first daunted and feeling inadequate to fight the Duke and his mother as well as deal with the pain of losing her beloved sister, meets up with an unexpected ally—La Madrota, Rosamaria Delgao the ancient head of the ruling Delgao family and Melodia’s great-great-great-etc.---grandmother. She’s been observing all the players in this current intrigue and insists Melodia become adept at riding dinosaurs. Melodia has never ridden one as she far prefers horses.

But she takes up her grandmother’s request and studies the art of dinosaur riding on the sly and becomes adept at handling her beast.

Of course, her burgeoning expertise proves crucial near the end of the novel when she helps Karyl and Rob escape the palace. The two heroes of the battle of Canterville are now being blamed for an imagined plot against the emperor.

But court intrigue is not the only big game in town. Karyl finds himself the focus of two warring supernatural factions, the unearthly and rarely-seen Fae and the Grey Angels. The Fae were already on the planet Paradise when the Eight Creators showed up with their formidable administrative arm—the Grey Angels.

Both can command magic and power way beyond the scope of any human agency on the planet. Both have had little to do with the intruders (though the Eight Creators are worshipped). The Fae want ALL the interlopers off Paradise. But they realize they need to make an alliance with the humans to help in overcoming the Grey Angels.

It looks as if another hellacious Demon War is heating up.

Milan is a terrific writer. The story is told with great panache. Crisp, colorful description, fabulous action and tart, funny dialogue. This was a super-fast read and very entertaining.

And the next book is going to be a whopper! ~~ Sue Martin

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