Sunday, February 24, 2008

Douglas Hill

The Dragon Charmer
by Douglas Hill
Recommended Age: 12+

Elynne is terrified of dragons. For her this is a matter of deep shame, because Elynne’s father is a great dragon charmer. The family’s livelihood is based on her father’s dragon-charming skills, which he displays twice a year when the migrating dragons stop to rest near their farm. But Elynne can’t help being afraid, ever since a childhood incident nearly claimed her life. It’s too bad, really, because she would have the makings of another great dragon charmer, if not for the fear.

Then comes a year when the scarlet queen of the dragons visits the valley. Nothing like her has been seen before, either in size or in color. What’s more, she lays an egg on the family farm. And although his hired hand urges Elynne’s father to cage the dragon or at least her hatchling and make a year-round show of it, good Dan Danneby refuses. He wants the dragons to be wild and free. And in spite of her fear, Elynne agrees with him.

But Niys Vennor, the sour-faced farm hand, has his own ideas. Together with some shady characters from a neighboring valley, he steals the queen’s egg. Worse, the dragon queen’s rage gravely injures Danneby. So the only hope of saving the baby dragon prince lies in Elynne, who has never gone farther than the nearest village. Now she has to overcome her worst fears, travel alone over the wild country, and re-steal what has been stolen from some truly dangerous people. And if they are half as determined as they seem to be, her danger will only begin at that point...

This is a brief, straightforward, easily-read story. I think you will enjoy the beauty of the dragons, the hypnotic power of the music that charms them, and the pulse-quickening suspense and action that drive this tale to its climactic end.

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