I just finished reading the first chapter of the book Last Dragon, by J.M. McDermott, which is going to be published by Wizards of the Coast in February 2008. Wizards of the Coast is a gaming company that began just down the road from me. They were the people who brought us Magic: The Gathering. (I'm pretty sure they also were the U.S. distributor for Pokemon cards.) Later they bought the company that created Dungeons & Dragons. They have also branched out into publishing; first with books about their various gaming systems and now with a general speculative fiction line.
Last Dragon is a fantasy about a woman searching for her lost love. She apparently builds and destroys a few kingdoms along the way. The story opens with the main character, Zhan, having a bit of a mental breakdown. She's also been reduced to vagabond status, working for pennies and fighting to stay alive on the streets of a foreign city. McDermott is absolutely amazing at creating the look and feel of this rancid and rotting underclass society. The opening scenes are a bit confusing but if you follow along you see the character begin to unfold. Then you get to some action scenes and the Meeting of the Mentor (thought I'd throw in a little Christopher Vogler) and that's where I got the feeling that the story was really going to take off. McDermott's writing is quick and his imagery is outstanding. Last Dragon shows a lot of promise.