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DRAGON’S KEEP by Janet Lee Carey

DRAGON’S KEEP

By Janet Lee Carey

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: April 1st, 2007
ISBN: 0-15-205926-1
Publisher: Harcourt

In 1145, on Wilde Island, Rosalind counts the days by the saints and once a week has her mother the queen trim the dragon claw that is the third finger of her left hand. Told in the first person, Rosie’s story unfolds slowly. Her mother has kept Rosie’s claw hidden from the dragon-ravaged populace, always wearing golden gloves so her daughter’s will not be questioned. The dragon comes to feed as dragons do, and is slaughtered by Lord Godrick and his son Kye. The dragon’s mate, however, comes to rescue his eggs and takes Rosalind as servant to tend them. Rose learns from the dragons, believing that the key to her birthright is found in the children’s chant, “Bright fire. Dragon’s fire. Broken sword. One black talon ends the war!” Wonderfully imagined dragon lore and an elegant backstory connection to the Arthur Pendragon legend are woven with rich strands of mother/daughter, child/nursemaid, friend/companion resonance, and the dark-skinned, blue-eyed half-Muslim Kye is a worthy hero. The weakly melodramatic climax is the only flaw, and it’s balanced by a sweet dénouement. (Fantasy. YA)