Fifteen-year old Donavah's peaceful life as a magic student at Roylinn Academy is shattered when her brother, Breyard, discovers a dragon's egg. Dragons belong to the king, and merely possessing the egg is treason. The hatchling turns out to be one of a powerful race that official history says was wiped out long ago. Breyard is arrested and sentenced to death and Donavah is sent away to a retreat center where she learns a secret prophecy about the red dragons' return. She realizes that the evil king and his Royal Guards will stop at nothing to capture and corrupt the new dragon to prevent a prophecy from being fulfilled. With the help of a kitchen boy, the teen is determined to save both Xyla and her brother-but whom can she trust? This quest fantasy is set in a medieval world somewhat reminiscent of post-Roman Britain. "Quotations" from legends and ancient chronicles hint at long-established history. There are instances of cruelty and violence and Donavah is nearly assaulted by a drunken guard. Although the story reaches a satisfying conclusion, there are a number of plot threads left to be resolved in a planned sequel. An acceptable choice where there is a strong demand for fantasy.
Elaine E. KnightCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
AutumnQuestby Terie Garrison
It is unlawful for anyone but cruel King Erno to have dragons. So when Donavah finds one, newly hatched, in her brother Breyard’s room, she begs him to let it go. The Royal Guard discovers the crime and takes Breyard away to be executed. Heartbroken and guilt ridden, Donavah runs away from school to save him. Pursued by the king’s savage soldiers, her treacherous journey turns into one of self-discovery as Donavah learns to use her “maejic” gift for animal communication. She forms a special bond with Xyla, who turns out to be no ordinary dragon. When Xyla is captured, everyone is depending on Donavahwhose destiny is somehow linked with this mystical beastto rescue her. As her brother’s execution looms near, Donavah wonders how she can possibly save both of them...
Read an Excerpt
At the beginning was thought. From thought sprang order. From order sprang life. From life sprang chaos. From chaos sprang thought. Meditate on this, that you might bridge the chaos with thought and bring order to life. ~from
~fromThe Book of Wisdom
When my brother told me it was a dragon egg, naturally I didn't believe him. I might be three years younger than he, but at fifteen, I was long past the age when I'd fall for every practical joke he wanted to play on his little sister. Besides, having a dragon egg was high treason.
Still, I decided to play along with his prank. If nothing else, it might be fun to see how far he'd take it.
"Really?" I asked, widening my eyes.
"'Tis," he said with a satisfied nod.
"Can I touch?"
He considered, then shrugged. "Guess so. Don't see what harm you could do."
I reached out a finger and gingerly caressed the foot-long, blue egg mottled with tiny pink dots.
A strong vibration pulsed through me for an instant and, surprised, I snatched my hand away.
"What?" Breyard asked, watching me through narrowed eyes.
"Um, nothing," I said, pulling my hand into the sleeve of my novice's robe so I could rub the tip of my finger secretly. "Just don't want to hurt it or anything."
"Sure." Breyard was suspicious, so I looked him straight in the eye, hoping I wouldn't give myself away. Fortunately, he looked away first so that he could admire the egg-shaped thing, whatever it was.
As I headed back to my cell to prepare for midafternoon meditation, I pondered just that: what was it? Breyard had always been good at making things. As a matter of fact, if he hadn't been invited to attend Roylinn Academy, he'd have been apprenticed to a craftsman and probably worked his way up to journeyman by now.
But even though he was three years ahead of me in his studies, I knew he couldn't have learned enough yet to make magic objects. Only masters could do that. And the egg-thing was definitely a magic object.
As I walked down the corridor, lost in thought, I felt Marileesa's excitement before I heard her footsteps racing towards me. I paused. How could I possibly know it was Marileesa, my best friend? True, I'd always been sensitive to the moods of people around me, but lately I'd found that it seemed to be developing into something stronger, almost as if I could feel people's very thoughts. I shook my head to try to clear the feeling and resumed walking.
"Donavah!" Marileesa's voice brought me to a halt, and a moment later, she herself came running up behind me. "Don-avah, you're never going to believe it!" She practically crashed into me as she skidded to a stop.
"Go ahead and try me," I said with a smile. What could possibly have stirred her up? Calm and cool all the time, she never shouted. Or ran.
"She said yes! Master Kellery said I can play ensemble!"
I let out a whoop that rang down the corridor, bouncing off the stone walls. "Congratulations! I knew she would. You're too good a musician to miss out."
"I will officially be the youngest novice from Roylinn ever to play at Summer Solstice."
"And one of the best, too." I grabbed her hands and started to twirl around with her. We spun faster and faster, laughing as we stumbled over our own feet.
Then the warning bell rang. We stopped, grinned at each other, and made a run for it, with barely enough time to get to our cells before meditation began.
I closed my door just as the signal bell sounded. I'd made it. Well, strictly speaking I hadn't, because I was supposed to have been starting to meditate, not panting and trying to catch my breath. I hadn't even lit my candles yet.
Taking deep breaths and willing my heart to stop pound-ing, I reached into my top desk drawer and took out two tapers, not paying attention to which ones they were. I shoved them into a pair of silver candlesticks, sat down on the woven meditation mat, lit the candles, and began the routine as a pleasant, summery fragrance of oranges filled the air.
Clear my thoughts.
--A large blue and pink egg that--
Stop. Clear my thoughts.
--Marileesa would play at Summer--
Stop. Clear my thoughts.
--Vibrating at the core of my being--
Stop. Clear my thoughts.
Useless. It was one of my worst meditation sessions ever. When the signal bell rang out an hour later, I still hadn't got-ten past the first step. I snuffed the candles, then sucked in my breath. They were the wrong ones! I looked at the calen-dar, as if it would show I was mistaken. But no, today really was the fourth day of clarity week, and I'd somehow managed to pick up the creativity candles. Two and a half weeks early. Why hadn't it occurred to me that I should've been smelling thyme, not oranges?
I sighed out a breath. All right, so that would explain why I couldn't clear. But meditating with the wrong candles could lead to, well, unexpected events. That's what all the masters said. One of the first things we learned at the academy was the meditation cycle: the twelve weeks of meditation, their significance, and their candles. I'd never once gotten it wrong before. A sense of apprehension settled on me as I wondered what would happen now.
Supper was, as usual, plain but plentiful fare. Whole-grain bread with cheese, soup thick with vegetables and herbs from the academy gardens, followed by fruit from the orchards. I'd heard of some places where they practically starved the novices, and I couldn't figure out what the point was of that. My stud-ies were hard enough without adding the burden of hunger.
While Marileesa told the other girls in our circle her good news, I tried to see what Breyard was doing. Even though the egg-shaped thing was rather large, I thought he might still be carrying it around under his robe. I more than half-expected him to be trying out his joke on his mates. But there he was slurping up his soup and shoveling bread and cheese into his mouth just as he had for as long as I could remember. I scowled.
"What's wrong, Donavah?" I brought my attention back to my friends to find them all looking at me in curiosity.
"Nothing." I smiled at them. "Just checking up on that fool brother of mine."
Loreen's eyes went dreamy. So did her voice. "What's he up to now?"
"No good, as usual." I didn't want to mention the egg to anyone yet, not even to Marileesa. After all, if it really was a joke, I didn't want Breyard to find out he'd fooled me. "Just being his typical brotherly self."
Loreen glanced over at him, but ducked down a bit and blushed when she found him looking over towards us. If I considered him objectively, I could sort of understand what Loreen saw in Breyard. He had long, straight, light brown hair that he usually let flow down his back, a thin nose, bright hazel eyes, and a quick smile. But people also said I looked just like him, except for having Papa's dark brown eyes, so I didn't think of him as being handsome.
He caught my gaze and gave me half a wink. What did that mean? Was he trying to drive me crazy, or just succeeding?
After supper, I went back to my cell. It was my chore group's week off, and I decided to use the extra time to translate more lines of the epic poem, Galina's Travels, from the ancient lan-guage Zahrainian.
I loved sitting alone in my cell studying. It was a luxury I'd never been able to enjoy at home. Before coming to Roylinn, I'd gone to the village magician to learn reading, writing, sums, and even a few spells. But studying in a busy farmhouse, even a small one like ours, meant constant interruptions. By comparison, my cell was almost like having my own private study hall.
It was a small, spare room, exactly the same as every other novice had. It had a cot with a reasonably comfortable pad and bedding appropriate to the season--thankfully no freez-ing nights in Winter. There was a sturdy, well-used desk with an accumulation of old ink blotches and messages carved into the wood by past residents. Black wall sconces held fat, double-wicked candles and an oil lamp on the desk provided extra reading light. A high window let in light during the day but didn't allow a view that might distract when one should be studying. Other than a shelf above the desk to hold books, the pinkish stone walls were bare. Nothing fancy. But my very own, all the same.
I lit the lamp, since the shortening days of early Autumn left the room too dark for studying. Then I pulled the lexicon off the shelf and settled down with the text of the poem and my writing implements. Time escaped me as I tried to unravel the knotty translation.
I'd barely finished the assignment for tomorrow's class when the night tocsin rang out. Where had the time gone? I blotted the paper, wiped my quill pen clean, and placed the books back on the shelf.
The washroom, to my surprise, was empty, giving me a chance to take more time than usual to get ready for bed.
After washing my face and cleaning my teeth, I brushed my hair and braided it. It was really getting long now, down to my waist, and beginning to darken for the Winter.
Then back to my cell, where I changed into a flannel night-shirt of nondescript grey, put out all the lights, and got into bed. The down comforter was perfect for snuggling into on a brisk Autumn night, and I curled up under it.
A quiet rap on my door interrupted my drowsing off. I pulled the comforter away from my head and listened, hop-ing it had been my imagination. Then I heard Breyard whis-per my name.
I threw back the covers and took the three steps to the door. Unlatching it, I started to formulate a scathing reply, but then I saw his face.
"C'mon," he said, reaching out with a trembling hand and taking my arm, pulling me gently.
"What?" I poked my head out the door and looked up and down the corridor. "You're not supposed to be here. And it's past curfew, too."
"I need your help. Hurry."
I was tempted to shut the door on him. But then, much like the scent of Summer flowers on a breeze, a sense of his distress wafted over me. The hair on my arms felt as if it were standing up. I tried to shake the feeling off.
"Wait a second," I said. He made an impatient noise but waited while I pulled a robe over my nightshirt and slipped on a pair of sandals.
He held my hand as we sped through the dimly lit corri-dors. No one was around, not even teachers, so it had to be even later than I'd thought. But we could still run into night staff, and then we'd be in big trouble. Breyard knew that, so this really had to be an emergency.
My heart leapt to my throat as the thought occurred to me that it must have been something about our parents. That was the only thing that would explain--
But then we were past the corridor that led to the head-master's office, and if it were our parents, we would surely have been going there.
I pulled back and tried to stop.
"Will you tell--" I started.
"Shh. Just come. Please." Breyard looked back at me, a pleading look in his eyes. I kept moving.
We headed down a corridor I'd never been in before: the boys' block. He finally stopped in front of a door. It better be his cell door, I thought. He opened it a crack and peeked inside, then, apparently satisfied, pushed it open. He reached for my hand again and pulled me into the cell behind him. I closed the door, careful not to make a sound. Breyard let out a noisy sigh.
"Now will you tell me what's going on?" I demanded. I didn't shout at him the way I wanted to. Raised voices could be heard beyond the thick, stone walls.
"I don't know, but look." He pointed to his bed. The egg lay upon it, twitching. I stepped nearer. "What do you think is happening?" he asked.
"How should I know?" I scowled up at him in disbelief that he'd got me out of bed for this. "It's your stupid joke. What are you asking me for?"
"This isn't a joke, Donavah," he hissed.
I looked at him with narrowed eyes. "All right. You got me. Satisfied? I've broken all kinds of rules to follow you. I can't believe--" I turned around to leave, but he grabbed my arm and pulled me back into the centre of the room.
"I'm serious. This really isn't a joke." Even in my annoy-ance, I could hear a note of desperation in his voice. And as if to prove he was telling the truth, a loud CRACK! echoed off the walls.
We both looked at the egg, only to find that it wasn't an egg anymore. A small red dragon tentatively stretched out its wings and creeled softly in hunger.
Meet the Author
Terie Garrison is the author of the YA fantasy series, The DragonSpawn Cycle. She's been an avid writer ever since writing herself a poem for her seventh birthday. By nightshe fantastic teen fiction, by day she writes user manuals for a software company in Manchester, England. Visit Terie on the web at http://www.teriegarrison.com and http://www.dragonspawncycle.com
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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AUTUMNQUEST immediately starts at a blistering pace. Donavah attends a school for those with the gift of maejic. Everything is going wonderfully with her studies, until her brother reveals that he has a dragon egg in his possession; a crime punishable by death! Without warning, the egg hatches to reveal a small red dragon, the rarest of its kind.
Donavah's brother is found and captured by soldiers.
Desperate, Donavah abandons school with her lunch boy companion, Traz, to find the dragon and prove her brother's innocence, all the while trying not to be captured by soldiers herself.
AUTUMNQUEST by Terie Garrison is a fast read, but brilliantly so. Garrison's clear voice and direct dialogue take this story from beginning to end at a mind-blowing speed that will leave readers with the desire to read more about Donavah's adventures. Those who enjoyed Christopher Paolini's ERAGON and are looking for a shorter book will take pleasure in AUTUMNQUEST's story.
AUTUMNQUEST immediately starts at a blistering pace. Donavah attends a school for those with the gift of maejic. Everything is going wonderfully with her studies, until her brother reveals that he has a dragon egg in his possession a crime punishable by death! Without warning, the egg hatches to reveal a small red dragon, the rarest of its kind. Donavah¿s brother is found and captured by soldiers. Desperate, Donavah abandons school with her lunch boy companion, Traz, to find the dragon and prove her brother¿s innocence, all the while trying not to be captured by soldiers herself. AUTUMNQUEST by Terie Garrison is a fast read, but brilliantly so. Garrison¿s clear voice and direct dialogue take this story from beginning to end at a mind-blowing speed that will leave readers with the desire to read more about Donavah¿s adventures. Those who enjoyed Christopher Paolini¿s ERAGON and are looking for a shorter book will take pleasure in AUTUMNQUEST's story. **Reviewed by: Julie T.
Ms. Garrison's book is a wonderful read. It's main character experiences frustrations, uncertainties of her life and the denial that she is gifted. Young adults will relate to her immediately. Go out and buy this book, even if you're not a young adult. It's a wonderful read. Ms. Garrison is highly talented story teller and her plot is original and fast-moving. I look forward to reading all of the stories in this series.