The Silver Gryphon: A second-generation survival story

The Silver Gryphon by Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsThe Silver Gryphon by Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsThe Silver Gryphon by Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon

The third and final book in Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon’s MAGE WARS trilogy is The Silver Gryphon (1996). Like its predecessor, The White Gryphon, it jumps ahead about ten years. By this time, our heroes Skandranon and Amberdrake have teenage children who are preparing to receive the torch from the previous generation.

Skan’s son Tadrith and Drake’s daughter Silverblade feel daunted by their illustrious fathers’ reputations and are hoping they will eventually measure up. Their fathers, however, are typically nervous parents who not only lack confidence in their childrens’ leadership abilities, but are also just plain scared of their kids getting hurt.

Tadrith and Silverblade belong to the Silver Gryphons, the standing army of the White Gryphon city. As The Silver Gryphon opens, they are being sent on their first assignment away from home. They will guard a remote outpost on the border of their land.

The Silver Gryphon by Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsThings go south pretty quickly, though, when, on the way, they are hit with a magic spell that causes them to crash-land in an unknown forest. They survive with a few injuries, a few supplies, and no way to contact home. They will have to hold out until someone notices they haven’t arrived at the border and sends out a search party. Unfortunately, they aren’t the only ones in the forest. There’s something evil lurking about…

Like The White Gryphon, The Silver Gryphon is completely different in tone and content from the previous books. The White Gryphon was a murder mystery while this one is a wilderness survival story. Most of the plot involves survival type activities such as sheltering from rain and lightning, searching for food, nursing injuries, dealing with insects, hiding from whatever might be hunting them, and waiting to be rescued. The Silver Gryphon by Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsMuch of this was repetitive, slow-going, and predictable. There were times when I sped up the audiobook significantly because it took my brain so little processing power to parse it. The word “boring” would not be unfitting.

But the young adults are likable and it’s rewarding (if a little boring) to watch them overcome the terror and peril of their situation. It’s also fun to watch Skan and Drake worry about their kids and, maybe, wish that their own adventuring days weren’t over. The ending is heartwarming, though the White Gryphon city takes some losses.

Again, Gary Furlong does a great job with Tantor Audio’s new version of The Silver Gryphon. And again I must lament that Tantor Audio wasn’t able to use the original cover art by Jody Lee. Tantor’s cover is totally unsuitable.

Originally published in 1996. Audiobook published in June 2019. A dozen years of peace have passed in the city of White Gryphon – providing well deserved and much needed security for the people who had lost their homes in the magical Cataclysm which killed the Mage Urtho, creator of the gryphons. But the inhabitants of White Gryphon have not forgotten their long struggles, and have trained an elite guard force, the Silver Gryphons, to protect their city, and if necessary, to join with the army of the Black Kings for mutual defense.

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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  1. Marion /

    These look less like a trilogy and more like three books in a series. Is that your feeling too?

    • I suppose so. I guess I wasn’t making a distinction between those options. You could jump in at any point and not be confused, but reading them in order would be best for character development.

  2. Marion /

    Oh, I didn’t think YOU were. The names led me in the direction of “trilogy” I think.

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