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Book Review

Bones of the Dragon by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the first book in the “Dragonship of Vindras” series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Skylan Ivorson is the son of Norgaard, who is chief of the Torgun clan. The Chief of Chiefs is a man named Hoag. This clan is part of the Vindras, a nation that is loyal to their gods and find honor in raiding villages. The bone priestess of each clan is able to call on dragons to help them fight their battles. The leader of the bone priestesses is the Kai Priestess. As war comes to the Vindras, so war comes to their gods in the heavens, and the gods’ success depends on the success of the Vindrasi.

Skylan becomes the Chief of Chiefs for the entire Vindras nation through breaking a promise to his father and the treachery of his future wife, Hoag's wife and the Kai Priestess. To rid himself of his wife and marry the woman he loves, Aylean, Skylan plots with his estranged cousin, Reyguard, to have his wife kidnapped on their honeymoon.

Things go wrong when the druids on the island where they land change all his men into rabbits and trap Skylan and his cousin. When a goddess appears to his wife, the Kai Priestess, she willingly gives up her life to let the goddess hide from her enemies within her (the wife's) body. Skylan, who doesn’t know what is happening to his wife, tries to save her from death, but can’t. Reyguard escapes and leaves Skylan behind. But eventually a wounded Skylan also escapes the island.

Volfe, a young boy who is half fairy and half human, stows away on Skylan’s ship. The child nurses Skylan back to health. Skylan’s dead wife appears to him every night and makes him play a game called dragon bones with her. From this, Skylan learns that she isn't really his wife but a goddess hidden in his wife’s dead body and that he must find five bones of the Vektan Dragons.

Meanwhile, the attacking Ogres take the Vindrasi’s sacred Vektan Torque. Skylan returns to his people, and then goes on a quest with his warriors to attack the Ogres and get the Vektan Torque back. Reyguard appears and acts odd, until he double crosses the warriors, captures them as slaves and takes the bone priestess so that his adopted people can find out how to call forth a dragon for themselves. The book ends with all the warriors in chains and Skylan tied up as a prisoner below deck.

Christian Beliefs


Other Belief Systems

The system of gods is similar to that of the Scandinavian gods. The gods of water and fire, the fey and nyads are all present.

The people swear by their gods, interact with the gods and do things independent of their gods, as the situation requires. Each clan of the Vindras has a bone priestess. From all the bone priestesses, one becomes the head called the Kai Priestess. The gods tell them who it should be. The Kai Priestess and the Chief of Chiefs are required to marry because they are the perfect union between body and spirit. The Kai Priestess gives up her life so her goddess can take over and hide in her body.

The dragons are in search of jewels, which allow more dragons to be born. They pretend to serve the Vindras, but the people who do the raiding allow the dragons to choose which jewels they want first. That's why the dragons pretend to serve them. The dragon goddess is named Vindrash.

The Vindrasi are in trouble because new and upcoming gods have killed the goddess of healing. But Volfe, the young stowaway on Skylan’s ship, can heal.

The Ogres demand that the Torgun clan serve their new gods. When the Torgun refuse, they and the Ogres go to war. Skylan’s cousin serves a different and new god.

The clans and people groups are religious in their service of their gods. Victory depends on which gods are the most powerful. Skylan meets Torval twice and Vindrash once. By the end of the book, they are all battling Reyguard's new god. Each person has a soul or energy called a weird. The weirds of people are connected. When a weird snaps, a life ends.

Authority Roles

The Chief of Chiefs is the ruler of the Vindras. Skylan’s father challenges Hoag, and Skylan fights Hoag to the death. Hoag’s wife, the Kai Priestess, poisons her husband so Skylan can beat him. She then marries him and willingly gives up her life to serve her goddess. Skylan becomes the ruler of the Vindrasi clans, but his legacy of lying and doing what is best for himself continues. Skylan’s father is a wise man and so is Skylan's friend Garn.


Profanity includes words such as the f-word, s---, a--, b--ch, and h---.

There are descriptions of battles, shield walls, blood-filled skirmishes and blood-filled hunts. The Torgun are raiders who find honor in a good fight. The spoils of war are sometimes the rape of foreign women and the enslavement or death of children.


The spoils of war can include the rape of the defeated enemy's women. Aylean and Garn become lovers and some of their lovemaking is described. In addition, Reyguard, Skylan's cousin, and a woman named Treia make love. Volfe watches them do this.

Skylan unsuccessfully tries to force himself on Aylean, and the nyads mimic his actions. There is also general talk about Volfe’s parents and their lovemaking. Skylan has vowed not to sleep with anyone but Aylean, although he has had many conquests. There are also many details about what Chief of Chief Hoag has done to women and his wife.

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

16 and up




Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman






Record Label



Tor Books, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers


On Video

Year Published





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