Melanie Rawn

Melanie Rawn, American novelist born 1953, is the most successful of several writers who have attempted to relocate dragons similar to those deployed by Anne McCaffrey within the tradition of high fantasy (to which they ought, in theory, to be far better adapted than to the realms of interplanetary romance). Although the dragons of Rawn's imaginary world are initially regarded as pests, and hence as the legitimate and appropriate target of murderous knight-errantry, her first trilogy, comprising Dragon Prince (1988), The Star Scroll (1989) and Sunrunner's Fire (1990), includes an account of the reconciliation of humankind and dragonkind, inspired by its hero's discovery that dragons' eggs can be alchemically converted into gold. The economic consequences of Prince Rohan's mastery of this new source of wealth allow him to pursue his personal as well as his political ends, the former attaining a near-soap-operatic melodramatic intensity while the latter obtain a near Byzantine complexity.

Rawn followed the customary genre fantasy career path by supplementing her first trilogy with a second - the "Dragonstar" series - set some years later, comprising Stronghold (1990), The Dragon Token (1991) and Skybowl (1993). Rohan, having become High King - although his political problems continue ? is faced with an invasion of his realm by barbarians whose iron-based technology nullifies the effects of the magic on which his realm has previously relied for defense. After this obligatory reprise, Rawn turned to fresher fields in the "Exiles" series, launched with The Ruins of Ambrai (1994) and continued in The Mageborn Traitor (1997). This series is set in a world of reversed sex-roles, developing a version of the conventional fantasy scenario in which magically talented individuals have become feared and hated, subject to continual and mostly unjust harassment by witch-hunters. The Golden Key (1990, a three-way collaboration by Rawn, Jennifer Roberson and "Kate Elliott" (Alis Rasmussen) - each author having contributed a distinct novellength segment - is set in an alternative late-medieval Spain, Tira Verte, where all documentation is in the charge of an artists' guild, one of whose core families is magically talented.

Melanie's latest series, The Glass Thorns, is about Touchstone, a magical theatre troupe, and the third novel in the series, Thornlost, was released in early 2014.

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