Fantasy adventure starring a swordsman and a female dragon.
Outside the medieval village of Ely, two men and a dwarf brag about raping and murdering a young girl. They also carry a chest containing the harvest stone, a priceless treasure belonging to the villagers. Suddenly, a vagabond swordsman leaps out and slays them. He returns the chest to Marshal Gibling, whose daughter fell victim to the thieves. The vagabond—who refuses to give his name—is surprised to see Ely’s human and dragon population living harmoniously together. After leaving Ely, he encounters a young female dragon living alone in a cave. Her name is Emerald, and she’s starving; the vagabond feeds her and reveals his name to be Akron. The next morning, Emerald’s father, Gowan, finds them and orders Akron to accompany him to King James, who wants to know why the council (which licenses the use of magic) is hunting Akron. King James, however, has designs of his own for the four surrounding kingdoms; he looks askance at humans and dragons cooperating. As Emerald and Akron embark on a journey toward the truth about their world, they discover themselves in the process. Gordon (The Other Side of Dark, 2015) sets up an undeniably compelling story in which humans and dragons share not just civilized society, but unrequited love as well. Emerald will charm readers as she blushes bright green and struggles with her love for Akron. The narrative also uses her neglected upbringing to embellish a theme of child abandonment. A few passages—“His heart begins to see Emerald not as scales and feathers, but as a woman, one his mind desires to please”—illustrate that true love, once ignited, can’t be tamped down. Other fascinating elements include various forms of magic, such as the ability to summon roots like limbs from the ground. The tale’s main flaw is its episodic feel, with smaller stories told here and there at the expense of plot momentum. Frequent cursing also limits the potential readership.
Though loosely plotted, this dragon fantasy is unlike any other.