23 January 2016

Review: The Dragon King: First Emperor of China (Chronicles of the Watchers, #1) - Brian Godawa

The Dragon King: First Emperor of China The Dragon King: First Emperor of China by Brian Godawa
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I start by saying I have not previously read any of Godawa's novels of this nature. I did read his When Giants Were Upon the Earth: The Watchers, the Nephilim, and the Biblical Cosmic War of the Seed which was the historic appendixes from each of the novels in the "Chronicles of the Nephilim" series. So that book was nothing like these novels are.

I was more than pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I RARELY read fiction, preferring deeper studies into things like history, theology and ancient cultures. Well, I guess that is why I enjoyed this story so much, because it was jam packed with all of those topics.

East meets West in this historically driven story of a few Greeks making contact with an Asian culture they never knew even existed. And the things they find there astonish them. Dragons, giants, true spiritual beings unlike the myths they were so accustom to in their homeland.

For almost half of the book, I kept asking myself, "what does this have to do with the Watchers?" Then it all started creeping into the story, and I was fascinated and hooked. When I got about 40% into the story, I became so hooked I couldn't put it down and I zipped through the rest of the story in two days (thank you snow storm for providing some extra time off).

The multiple story lines were not hard to follow at all, and while the various oriental names kind of were more complicated to keep up with, after a short while the key characters became common knowledge. The book is very well written, the story line flows well, the characters well developed, and the reading level keeps this book within the grasp of most all age groups from pre-teen and up.

My only concern throughout as I was reading and greatly engaged, was wondering how someone without my extensive knowledge of the unseen realm, divine council, spiritual entities etc. would truly grasp the amazing significance of so much of the most fun and amazing character and story parts here. Then I remembered that this series follows hard on the heels of Godawa's eight part series of the "Chronicles of the Nephilim" where I believe most of this was covered in greater detail. Is that series required reading before starting this one? No, I do not think so at all, as this story stands alone just fine as is. Would some aspects of the story and characters make a little more sense or add a bit more depth to the grand scheme of things? Probably so. But even without that additional background understanding, the book is an enjoyable read with just the amount of knowledge presented in this volume alone. Knowing deeper thoughts on those other aspects, at least for me, made it that much more thrilling and engaging to see them incorporated in this story.

I am encouraged to read future editions in this series, as well as being prompted now to add additional fiction books like this to my reading list - starting with adding the eight previous volumes in the "Chronicles of the Nephilim" series to the top of the list.

About the Book (from promotional material):

East Eats West

It’s 220 B.C. The ancient Western Empire is crumbling. In a desperate bid to save his throne, the Greek Seleucid king over Babylon sends his son, Antiochus, a dishonored warrior, into the mysterious land of the Far East to capture a mythical creature that will give him absolute power: a dragon.

Antiochus takes with him his longtime friend, Balthazar, a member of the Magi order of Babylon, responsible for both the religion and science of the empire. But Balthazar also carries with him a dangerous secret that could destroy Antiochus’ plans and plunge the world into chaos.

They sail beyond their maps into the mysterious and uncharted Eastern Orient. They are discovered and escorted inland to the empire of Ch’in (now known as China), ruled by the first emperor, Ch’in Shi Huang Di. The emperor is a brutal ruler and is on the edge of insanity in a mad quest to find the elixir of immortality.

Antiochus meets and falls in forbidden love with a beautiful concubine of the emperor, Mei Li. But she also harbors a secret that can bring down the mad emperor. It’s the truth of China’s spiritual past that is mysteriously connected to the ancient Tower of Babel.

And there are spiritual principalities and powers who seek to stop them all. These are the Watchers, who have their own plans to rule the world. Finding and capturing a dragon is the least of Antiochus’ difficulties in this action-adventure clash of cultures and war of gods.

Part of the Historical Fantasy Series Chronicles of the Watchers


The Dragon King is the first book of the Historical Fantasy Series Chronicles of the Watchers that charts the influence of spiritual principalities and powers over the course of human history. The kingdoms of man in service to the gods of the nations at war. Completely based on ancient historical and mythological research.

View all my reviews