Dragon’s Keep, by Janet Lee Carey

[Happy St. Patrick’s Day/Guinness-Drinking Day to anyone reading this! (Is anyone reading this?) –S.]

I had never heard of this author when I saw Dragon’s Keep on the shelf, information pills and I am almost embarrassed to admit that the main reason I bought the book was because it was a dollar. The cover isn’t much — just a hand with one finger replaced by a dragon’s claw, anabolics on a black background. There are some very faint dragons, but my dust cover is not terribly clean so I didn’t notice them at first. The inside blurb isn’t all that great, either — at the end of it, I was still confused as to whether it was a fantasy novel or a romance novel, and if it was a romance novel, I thought it sounded like a terrible one. Lucky for me, I did buy it, and I even took off the dust jacket and read it.

Fortunately, this book is just one more piece of evidence that I should perhaps stop judging books by their covers. To start, the actual book itself under the dust jacket is a very pretty shade of green, and has a nice pebbly texture. Next, the contents are wonderful. Rosie (Rosalind) is the crown princess of Wilde Island, a small independent kingdom off the coast of England. It is 1145 C. E., and she is fourteen. Her family line is descended from a sister of King Arthur’s, who ran away to marry the king of Wilde Island many years ago and was disowned. Merlin prophesied that the twenty-first queen of Wilde Island — that would be Rosie — would stop a war with a wave of her hand and restore the name of Pendragon. Therefore Rosie always must be perfect — except she isn’t. The fourth finger on her left hand (her wedding ring finger) is a dragon claw, and who would marry a princess with a devil’s mark? Rosie’s mother, the queen, spends a good deal of time trying to find ways to ‘cure’ her of this affliction, so she can marry Prince Henry of England.

Secondarily, there is a dragon terrorizing the countryside. The dragon comes and eats several villagers every few weeks, and thus far, the army’s efforts to kill it have been in vain. Many lives have been lost. Is there anything Rosie and her dragon claw can do about this? Continue reading Dragon’s Keep, by Janet Lee Carey