Alta hardback

Alta hardback
In the second novel in national best-selling legend Mercedes Lackey’s richly-conceived new Joust series, the dragonrider Vetch escapes to Alta, the subjugated land of his birth. There, he hopes to teach his people to raise and train dragons-and build an army that will liberate his homeland.

Dragon fantasy from Mercedes Lackey. Here’s her own description of the series.

Why Dragons?

A good question that; there is really no reason (speculation about racial memory going back to the first primates notwithstanding) that dragons should be such a persistent mythic theme. The earliest known reference is in Babylonian literature, to the great dragon/goddess Tiamat, and the latest known populate the shelves of the fantasy section of the bookstores. Maybe it has something to do with the alien quality of reptiles. Sooner or later every fantasy writer seems to have a go at them, and I’m no exception to that. This time around, though, I decided to take several different takes on the subject. Most of the current dragon literature treats dragons as on a par with humans insofar as intelligence goes. I decided to treat them instead as really big ’birds’ of prey—featherless raptors the size of small airplanes, if you will. Now, as a raptor rehabber, I know a fair bit about raptors, and I’m using that knowledge in handling the behavior, the bonding, and the training of the dragons in the Joust series. I’m also fascinated with ancient history, in particular, the history of Egypt, and I’d wanted to do something in the nature of a fantasy in that setting, but there’s a bit of a problem with that. Egyptian scholars are some of the nit-pickiest people on the planet, and as Barbara Mertz (aka mystery writer Elizabeth Peters) has pointed out, endlessly argumentative. They wouldn’t like an Egypt with fantasy elements; anything I got ’wrong‘ would generate nuisance-letters. Any book with a lot of fantasy-elements in it would open the floodgates. And I had always wanted to do something with the Atlantis myth too; alas, Atlantis doesn’t do well commercially... But, if I took pre-dynastic Egypt and the conflict between Upper and Lower Egypt, used Atlantis as Lower Egypt, turned the whole thing into a fantasy setting and added raptor-dragons...

Ah, now there was a plan! And the more I thought about it, the easier it all fitted together, and the dragons—oh, the dragons! True desert-dragons, designed to cope with and even thrive in hot sands. Not fire-breathing; trying to work out things as big at that which fly and carry a rider was going to be difficult enough to set up logically. It would make them, more-or-less, the equivalent of WWI biplanes, with riders perhaps dropping pots of Greek Fire, or snatching up military leaders to drop them from a great height, and certainly spying and patrolling from above. This made me think of the Flying Aces (which I am researching for Phoenyx and Ashes, also upcoming from DAW) and the way they initially dueled each other in the air with pistols, and even dropped bricks on one another, before someone managed to arrange machine guns so that they didn’t shoot their own props off. Which gave me the whole Jousters premise, as well. The culture of the ancient world gave me the background of all of this, a background quite different than the usual medieval European setting of the vast majority of fantasy today. How the dragons fitted into that background would also be unique.

From there, everything just flowed. I’m excited, DAW is excited, and we think this is going to be a terrific story.
—Mercedes Lackey

In Alta the second novel in Mercedes Lackey’s richly-conceived Dragon Jousters series, the dragonrider Vetch escapes to Alta, the subjugated land of his birth. There, he hopes to teach his people to raise and train dragons—and build an army that will liberate his homeland. Books in the Dragon Jouster Series

Book 1 Joust
Book 2 Alta
Book 3 Sanctuary
Book 4 Aeyrie

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3


More about Mercedes Lackey
Heralds, Companions and Velgarth
Mercedes Lackey’s website
Cover artist Jody Lee’s website.
The DAW Books website
The Tor Books website
The Baen Books website
The Secret World Chronicle website


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