The first part of the internationally awardwinning
In the time of the Han Dynasty in ancient China, the last remaining dragon is in danger of being killed by the cruel Emperor. A nameless orphan with no past and an uncertain future becomes his unlikely ally. The young orphan soon discovers that it is her destiny to protect the aging dragon and his mysterious purple stone. Chased by an evil dragon hunter and a powerful sorcerer, their adventure is not easy. Each must learn to help and understand the other if they are to survive. To succeed in her task, the young orphan must reach deep within herself to find courage she never knew existed. No longer can she be the timid, shy orphan she once was. She is now the one, true Dragon Keeper.
About the Author
Carole Wilkinson is an award-winning author of books for children. She has a longstanding fascination with dragons and is interested in the history of everything. Carole is a meticulous researcher who finds it difficult to stop researching and begin writing. She once searched for weeks to find out whether there were daffodils in Han Dynasty China. Carole is married, has a daughter, and lives in inner-city Melbourne.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-An action-packed adventure set in China in 141 B.C. In a remote western palace, Ping, a slave girl of unknown origin, serves the emperor's Dragon Keeper, an incompetent drunkard who neglects the two last-known dragons in his charge. When one of them dies and an evil hunter threatens to kill the other for his magical body parts, the old dragon, Danzi, escapes with the girl. He entrusts Ping with his precious and beautiful purple stone, which he is determined to take to the ocean. As they make their long journey east, Ping develops plausibly from a terrified, abused child into a confident young woman who truly deserves the official title of Dragon Keeper. Beset with self-doubt, often making mistakes, she slowly becomes aware of her innate powers, which includes second sight. The plot twists and turns, cinematic action comes in bursts, and villains are vile, while Danzi, Ping, and her pet rat are heroic, appealing companions who can fight or scheme their way out of every tight spot. Danzi sometimes speaks like a Daoist philosopher, but his telepathic communication with Ping too often resembles the truncated phrases of a Chinese speaker still learning English. That said, the dramatic plot and competently crafted writing make this a good choice for voracious readers of fantasy, especially those who have enjoyed Anne McCaffrey's dragon fantasies. The ending, though satisfying, makes way for a sequel.-Margaret A. Chang, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
In this award-winning but uneven import, a young slave, her pet rat and a very old dragon flee across the ancient empire of the Han. Fugitives from a remote Imperial Palace, Ping, furry Hua and frail Long Danzi, last of the Emperor's captive dragons, set out for the ocean, carrying a "Dragon Stone" with which Danzi is strangely obsessed. Repeatedly getting each other out of scrapes along the way, Ping develops a great attachment to her terse, grumpy companion, while discovering within herself both latent magical powers and the resourcefulness to carry on when, at journey's end, Danzi and Hua leave her alone. Not quite alone: readers will figure out long before she does what the Dragon Stone really is. Though Wilkinson barely sketches in the historical setting, and mishandles the plot-dropping one scary pursuer abruptly and setting up a climactic battle with another by having Danzi commit a seriously against-type betrayal-she throws an engrossing barrage of challenges and reversals of fortune at her trio of well-drawn travelers, and all three acquit themselves well. (Fantasy. 11-13)
For Ages: 8+ years old
For Grades: 4 - 6
Number Of Pages: 368
Published: 1st May 2012
Dimensions (cm): 20.8 x 14.1 x 2.7
Weight (kg): 0.394