Set directly after the defeat of the archaeopteryxes, this third in Fan’s bird fantasy series follows the golden-eagle princes, Fleydur and Forlath, to their home in the mountains. Unbeknownst to them, the villainous Kawaka (introduced in a prologue) also journeys there—but not with good intentions.
Fleydur and Forlath find an orphaned eagle fledgling, Dandelion, whom Fleydur insists on bringing into the stuffy, stratified golden-eagle society. The narrative, hinging on Dandelion’s acceptance in the eagle community as well as Kawaka’s stratagems for taking over Sword Mountain, is fast-moving, engrossing and entertaining. Characters new to the series include an unexpectedly diverting villain, Kawaka’s accomplice, an owl leader whose clan occupies the caves in the heart of the mountain. Story elements may initially seem unrelated, but they come together nicely in the exciting, suspenseful climax. Sparkling humor, from amusing personality portraits to hilarious segments (at one point, the king of the golden eagles, during his funeral ceremony, rises from the dead), offers insights to characters and their actions.
Readers new to the series may experience some initial disorientation; fans of these tales will welcome this further installment. (map, dramatis personae) (Fantasy. 9-12)