Humans, dragons and fey coexist on Wilde Island, but this uneasy peace masks a simmering, mutual distrust that surfaces after the English army abducts an Euit healer and his daughter to cure the aging queen’s infertility—failure is not an option.
With their small tribe captive, Uma and her father are taken in chains to Pendragon Castle, where he soon dies, and Uma must persuade the queen, rather than having her killed, to give Uma time to work a cure. The task is complicated by the queen’s madness, a closely guarded secret, and by the royal couple’s dissolute adult son, Desmond. Only his cousin Jackrun’s intervention keeps Desmond from forcing himself on Uma. Half-English Uma’s an outsider among the Euit, who don’t accept women healers; despite that, she’s determined to succeed and free her tribe. Like Jackrun, Desmond’s part dragon. Uma envies the Pendragons’ close affinity with dragons. Her father’s dragon hasn’t accepted her—horrific events will change that, too. Familiarity with Dragonswood (2012) is helpful, but the tale, focusing on the next generation, stands on its own. The Euit tribe, loosely reminiscent of indigenous American cultures, seems to have wandered in from another novel, yet the story largely succeeds, braiding elements and archetypes from several cultures together into a coherent narrative.
Ultimately, a satisfying tale of a girl who must come to terms with her own blended identity. (author’s note) (Fantasy. 12-17)