The Dragonbone Chair, by Tad Williams
, is the first book in the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy
. The other two books are The Stone Of Farewell
, and To Green Angel Tower
The Dragonbone Chair's main character is Simon, a simple kitchen worker in the Hayholt, the ancient castle of the kings of Osten Ard. An orphan, the only family he knows are Rachel "the Dragon", the castle's mistress of chambers, and Doctor Morgenes, the mysterious old alchemist who lives and experiments in one of the Hayholt's many chambers, and Simon feels that there is a world of adventure, dragons, knights and magic out there that will just pass him by. But, as always, things aren't as they seem, and Simon, as Morgenes' apprentice, soon finds himself embroiled in a sinister plot, following the death of Prester John, the old king, the ascension of his eldest son, Elias, and the disappearance of the younger Prince, Josua.
My uncle gave me this book years ago. We both enjoyed fantasy novels, and he'd given me plenty of David Eddings novels that he'd finished reading. So, one day, on a visit from London, he handed me this huge paperback; the front cover proclaimed it was "The fantasy equivalent of War And Peace" (Locus Magazine). Which was quite intimidating. But once I started reading....well, the book starts kinda slow, but then half-way through, it just bursts into life. I just couldn't wait for the next volume...but that's another story.
For more details, go have a look at www.tadwilliams.com, which has lots of comments by Tad on what he calls "the book that ate my life", as well as summaries of the rest of his books, and news of what he's currently up to. Or alternatively, go buy The Dragonbone Chair, and get reading!