Quenelda is passionate about dragons. She also has a special ability to communicate with them, an innate gift the importance of which only her father and the elderly dragon master know. Her father, commander of the most feared battle-dragon regiment in Dragonsdome, allows her to spend her days in the company of dragons, honing her riding skills and learning to care for them. Dreading the day when she must swap her boots and breeches for lace and silk and join the other young girls at court, she begs her father to allow her to continue her dragon education a while longer. Her ambition is to accompany him into battle, swooping through the skies on her scaly mount. He agrees to postpone her court debut, provided she trains seriously by taking on young Root as apprentice. Root is her opposite: newly orphaned, he’s fearful, timid and inept, with no enthusiasm for dragons. But gradually, from their relationship grow friendship and loyalty – and also self-awareness – traits essential to combating the gathering storm of treachery, sorcery and evil that is encircling the realm.
The story skilfully weaves a fantasy world that is utterly convincing, peopled with humans, gnomes, hobgoblins and many-hued dragons. The writing is energetic, poetic at times, with vivid descriptions of landscape adding atmosphere and mood. By the end of the book, many of the story threads remain unresolved so whetting the reader’s appetite and leaving room for a sequel, which is due to be published shortly. David Wyatt’s finely hatched drawings echo the richness of the story.