on Feb. 12, 2012 :
Dragon's Teeth is the first volume in the Iphigenia Black series. It follows on from Nicola Rhodes' Tamar Black series, (after Tamar & Denny have retired to the end of time, 25 years before). Iphegenia, (Iffie), is their daughter, (who arrived as a character so spectacularly in the Tamar Black novel Rise of the Nephilim. Although Dragon's Teeth may be read without having read any of the Tamar Black stories, (since previous events are dealt with by brief footnotes), I would recommend reading the Tamar books first, so as to become familiar with the universe/reality within, (& occasionally outside of), which they are set, as one of Nicola Rhodes' strengths is realistic world-building on a breathtakingly epic scale. Plus they are also just a stonking good read!
As with the Tamar books, Dragon's Teeth is a cross-genre science fiction/fantasy mix, which Rhodes has seamlessly woven together, with her usual effortless-looking aplomb. Told mostly as a retrospective narrative, (with the framing of this story neatly dealt with in the form of conversations between Iffie & Bel). Dragon's Teeth has Iffie & Jack, (witch Cindy's changling faerie child, see Faerie Tale, (see, I said read Tamar first)), embroiled in an earth-shaking conflict with the mysterious Bel.
Although Dragon's Teeth displays much of the wittily humorous narrative style which informs all the Tamar books, much of it's narrative has a darker & more Gothic feel to it which marks it as a departure from Tamar. This is a distinctly different animal from the Tamar series & not just the derivitive "franchise" follow-on series that many authors seem content with. Structurally it is a more sophisticated & mature work than the Tamar books. Yet I do not decry the Tamar novels, as I found them a delightful & engaging read.
As always, Nicola Rhodes' plotting is clever & involved. Easy enough to follow, but with twists & turns aplenty. I lost count of the times I said "I didn't see that coming", to myself, as I was led on an emotional roller-coaster from The Infinite to The Void, via the modern day & Poseidon's lair, (one thing Rhodes does like is a BIG canvas to work on).
The characters are believable & engaging. The ones from the Tamar books also having an emotional resonance for me, from there. Again the pacing of the story is well judged & tends to drag you along with it's impetus. There were a couple of nights I didn't get to bed until much later than I planned, as I did that, "right... one more chapter... just one more..." thing, as I approached the dramatic climax of the story, which, again, I did not see coming.
This was a worthy & fitting successor to Nicola Rhodes' superb Tamar Black series. I would recommend it without reservation, (unless that reservation was to read Tamar first & THEN Dragon's Teeth). However the one thing I would urge people to do is read it! Go on, treat yourselves. Another 5 stars, for Nicola Rhodes.
(reviewed the day of purchase)