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It is both the second and fourth book of the series in chronological order, largely occurring after Taltos and before Yendi , with brief interludes taking place shortly after the events of Yendi. Following the trend of the Vlad Taltos books, it is named after one of the Great Houses in Brust's fantasy world of Dragaera and features that House as an important element to its plot. The plot cuts between three timelines. The first timeline follows Vlad's actions at the final battle of a war he has joined. The second follows the events that lead up to the battle.
The first seven of Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos fantasy novels have long been in print from Ace Books in a set of three trade paperback omnibuses. Now Tor, publisher of the series from book eight on, continues the series of omnibuses with The Book of Dragon , which includes Dragon and Issola. In Dragon , Vlad finds himself in the last place any self-respecting assassin wants to be: the army. Worse, he's in the middle of an apocalyptic battle between two sorcerous armies, and everyone expects him to perform a role that they won't explain. Vlad may kill people for a living, but this is ridiculous.
We'd been cut up so many ways and so many times we hardly had a skirmish line, and the enemy kept getting reinforced. I, like the rest of the outfit, was exhausted and terrified from swords buzzing past my ear and various sorts of sorceries going "whoosh" over my head, or maybe it was the other way around; and there were dead people moaning and writhing on the ground, and wounded people lying still, and that was almost certainly the other way around, but I'm giving it to you as I remember it, though I know my memory sometimes plays tricks on me. First, I have to ask you to excuse me for starting in the middle, but that's more or less where it starts. So there I was, in a full-scale battle; that is, in a place where no self-respecting assassin ought to be. Worse, in a full-scale battle with the keen sense that I was on the losing side, at least in this part of the engagement. I stood on Dorian's Hill, with the Wall about two hundred yards behind me, and the Tomb which is not a tomb, and never was, and ought not to be called that about a quarter of a mile to my left.