DRAGON'S BAIT by Vivian Vande Velde


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Staked out to be devoured after a mock trial for witchcraft conducted by crooked exorcist Atherton, Alys is unexpectedly rescued by the dragon Selendrile, who then takes the shape of a man and offers to help her get revenge. Together, they plant stolen gold on Atherton and plan to wreak vengeance on the wheelwright who brought the fraudulent charge against Alys by causing his wheels to break and his wife to fall in love with Selendrile. Atherton manages to shackle the dragon-youth in magic-robbing iron; and though Selendrile kills Atherton, the shackles nearly kill him. With the wheelwright's help, Alys saves him, but only in return for a confession; with the villagers about to burn her as a witch, Selendrile rescues her yet again. This dark, bittersweet romance has a number of subtexts: revenge is not nearly as sweet as advertised; witchcraft is where you find it; trust your heart, even if your love seems to be a dragon. The logic and lessons--if any--are a little hard to follow, and there are loose ends (an irrelevant witch, the title); still, the characters are suitably plucky, and inscrutable as needed. An enjoyable if slightly askew yarn, probably no more inconsistent than real life.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0152166637
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich