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Literature / The Drums of War

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Such things never actually happened. No-one had ever really gone on a quest. That was just stories.

The Drums Of War, the first book in The Fortress Saga by up-and-coming Australian author Michael Dunn, chronicles the unexpected adventures of Prince Dormal, heir to the throne of Lugemall. Dormal would rather spend time with his beloved, keep an eye on his ailing father King Mac Lavin and make sure a pending international conference goes smoothly. But after Dormal, his close friend, an admiral and a royal bookkeeper all turn out to own copies of the same strange amulet, Dormal finds himself drawn into a quest that spans the land, picking up even more strange and colourful characters with the same kind of amulet along the way. Considering that they all came to possess the amulets by inheriting them upon reaching the age of sixteen, it's turning out to be anything but a coincidence. And what do the amulets have to do with the mysterious Fortress?


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  • Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: Averted due to both the size of the party and the fact that there is no one character who stands out due to any singular attribute.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: All of the amulets put together are suggested to be this at one point. How they involve the Fortress, no-one yet knows for certain despite available information about the prophecy.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: A variant that involves all of the Questers accompanying Dormal on his travels, soon resulting in an unusually large band of travellers.
  • MacGuffin Escort Mission: Part of the reason for Dormal's quest. The other reason involves investigating exactly what it is these amulets are supposed to do.
  • MacGuffin Location: The Fortress. No-one seems to know what it's for or what it does (and if they do, they're not telling).
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  • Memento Mac Guffin: Dormal's - and everyone else's - amulet. Each amulet is identical and was acquired by each amulet-bearer the same way.
  • Plot Coupon: Dormal's and Tellsandra's amulets. Once they discover both are identical, this sets in motion a series of events that leads to the main plot.
  • The Chosen Many: All those who own an amulet seem to be this.
  • Gang of Hats: Played straight in some aspects, given that the party consists of a prince, a noblewoman, an accountant, a farmer, a nurse, a traveller (who belongs to a Fantasy Counterpart Culture resembling the Roma) and other such characters.


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