The Dragonbone Chair

The Dragonbone Chair cover by Michael Whelan

The Dragonbone Chair

First volume of Memory, Sorrow and Thorn.


The story takes place on the fictional fantasy world of Osten Ard. The history of the world and the races present in Osten Ard have a great impact on the current events in the books.
Thousands of years ago the long-lived Gardenborn arrived in the land, fleeing a cataclysm. They were three tribes, the Zida'ya (commonly called Sithi), the Hikeda'ya (also called Norns) and the Tinukeda'ya (known as Dwarrows and Niskies). In Osten Ard the Gardenborn prospered and they built nine great cities of tremendous beauty. The first two tribes had ruled the third in their ancestral home called the Garden, but in Osten Ard the Tinukeda'ya went their own way, developing into two separate tribes, the seafaring Niskies and the earth-dwelling Dwarrows. The other two tribes also split ways, making a pact at Sesuad'ra, the Stone of Farewell. Their main subject of argument was the appearance of Men or mortals in Osten Ard. The Zida'ya were content to leave Men alone to go their own way, as long as they didn't trespass in Sithi lands. The Hikeda'ya were of the opinion that the mortals had to be wiped out or driven from Osten Ard. The Norns and their fell queen Utuk'u, eldest and most powerful of the Gardenborn, removed to the north of the world, taking the two northern-most cities for their own. Three cities were also given to the Tinukeda'ya, one was sea-bound Jhina't'senei which went to the Niskies and the other two were deep under the earth which went to the Dwarrows, the smaller tribe of the Tinukeda'ya. In the greatest of them all, Asu'a, the High King ruled.

But Men began to prosper and advance and the sea empire of Nabban rose and fell without it disturbing the Gardenborn. The Sithi also had great friendship with the Hernystiri of the west. Then the Rimmersmen came with iron and to them the Gardenborn were devils and demons, to be killed on sight. Unfortunately the Gardenborn suffer from a severe allergy to iron and even with their magics and their own iron-hard witchwood weapons, they were beaten back, one after the other. The Hernystiri were the only ones who stood by the Sithi in the final battle where both armies were destroyed. The remaining Sithi withdrew to Asu'a and there awaited the end. Ineluki, the King's younger son, wove terrible magic at the end with five of his servants and there they and Asu'a were destroyed. However, the spell gave the remaining Sithi time to flee to Aldheorte forest, where they continued to live in secrecy.

During the five hundred years that follows the fall of Asu'a, six different kings ruled in the castle built on the Sithi ruins, called Hayholt. The latest of these is king John Presbyter, who is dying as the story opens.

Simon is an ordinary scullery boy who is taken under the tutelage of Morgenes. When King John Presbyter dies and his son Elias ascends the throne, the way opens for a long-dormant evil to enter the realm. Elias, driven by his evil advisor, moves to eliminate his brother Josua. Caught in the struggle, Simon is forced to flee as best he can, and the young man soon finds himself taking part in adventures he had only dreamed of.