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DRAGON KEEPER by Carole Wilkinson

DRAGON KEEPER

By Carole Wilkinson

Age Range: 11 - 13

Pub Date: April 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-7868-5581-9
Publisher: Hyperion

In this award-winning but uneven import, a young slave, her pet rat and a very old dragon flee across the ancient empire of the Han. Fugitives from a remote Imperial Palace, Ping, furry Hua and frail Long Danzi, last of the Emperor’s captive dragons, set out for the ocean, carrying a “Dragon Stone” with which Danzi is strangely obsessed. Repeatedly getting each other out of scrapes along the way, Ping develops a great attachment to her terse, grumpy companion, while discovering within herself both latent magical powers and the resourcefulness to carry on when, at journey’s end, Danzi and Hua leave her alone. Not quite alone: readers will figure out long before she does what the Dragon Stone really is. Though Wilkinson barely sketches in the historical setting, and mishandles the plot—dropping one scary pursuer abruptly and setting up a climactic battle with another by having Danzi commit a seriously against-type betrayal—she throws an engrossing barrage of challenges and reversals of fortune at her trio of well-drawn travelers, and all three acquit themselves well. (Fantasy. 11-13)