Thanks to the rerelease of the original Shadowrun novels as Legends, I managed to get the original Shadowrun kickoff novels, Robert N. Charrette's Secrets of Power trilogy, starting with Never Deal with a Dragon (which, based on the narrative here, is sage advice.)
Anyway, we're focused on Renraku data analyst Sam Verner, who starts off as a pet of the Director, until his siters undergoes Goblinization (aka her genetics activated and turned her into something else, like an ork, troll, or elf), at which point he gets unceremoniously transferred to the infamous Renraku Seattle Arcology.
Not long after arriving in Seattle, like not even gotten off the plane, he and some coworkers get kidnapped by a team of Shadowrunners. Sam ends up helping the runners after figuring out their original mission was going to wind up not doing what they thought it would, which earns him the enmity of Security lady Crenshaw, who spends the rest of the book trying to prove he's in cahoots with the shadowrunners, despite his odd corporate loyalty.
So, eventually Sam decides to get himself extracted from Renraku and choose a new path. Which doesn't go well, since the team extracting him are using the extraction to cover putting a doppelganger INTO the arcology.
And everyone seems to be double crossing one another, from the runners, to the corporate types, to the 3 dragons that show up at various points. (By the end, we've met the Eastern Dragon Tessian, and Western Dragons Lofwyr and Haesslich.)
We, as readers, get some idea of exactly how events seemingly unrelated manage to trap Sam in a life he never expected, although we never get a real picture of the actual game he's a pawn in. I mean, we are kind of left to assume that one way or another, the actual extraction was supposed to be the sentient AI trapped in the Arcology, but who wanted it and why remain a mystery, as do the promise of freedom it was working towards.
Sam also learns that he has access to magic, and indeed a Dog totem somewhere in the mess that leads him down the Pacific Coast and to Montreal before winding up back in Seattle again. He also meets an elf decker named Dodger whom he forms a Bromance with. (I realize the publication on this predates the emergence of Bromance and probably the concept of Metrosexuals, but honestly Sam and Dodger appear to be queer coded, even if Sam is making the beast with two backs with Sally Tseung by the end.)
Was it a fun read? Indeed. Nothing amuses quite like Sasquatches with their own dragon backed agendas, fish out of water characters, and a sci fi pulp feels. Do I wish they had revealed one particular characters motivations earlier, since we find out a major factor in her pursuit a few paragraphs before she exits the narrative? Yeah, because while it makes her motivations a lot clearer, it also feels like something thrown in with no real connection to the rest of the story, or exactly how much said plot point would likely trigger a few readers. That side, it was worth reading, and I look forward to seeing what the next two volumes bring.