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VOYAEvil appears unleashed in the form of a dragon amidst the already horrifying torment of a storm that threatens to wreck the ship. The danger of drowning moves Elspeth to tether herself to the mainsail. But only luck can save her and Edmund from the dragon's fire that threatens to burn them and the boat to cinders in the middle of the raging rainstorm. They become the only survivors of the ship along with a mysterious trunk filled with ancient magic, which alters their destiny by pitting them against the evil Orgrim. Elspeth, the tomboy daughter of the ship's Captain, becomes the magical crystal sword bearer, while Edmund, a King's son in disguise, discovers his own Ripente powers, as one who could look into a man's mind and out through his eyes. In this debut novel, Lake skillfully kicks off a quest series, The Darkest Age, with a page-turner that will leave readers eagerly awaiting the next installment. This early medieval tale that blends adventure, suspense, friendship, and magic as well as the savage world of wild boars, malevolent knights, dragons, and ancient evil will appeal to boys and girls alike. Middle school and junior high readers who enjoyed Christopher Paolini's books, Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke (The Chicken House/Scholastic, 2004/VOYA October 2004), and The World of Eldeterra: The Dragon Conspiracy by P. R. Moredun (Eos/Harper Collins, 2005/VOYA October 2005) will appreciate this fearsome dragon saga. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2006, Bloomsbury, 250p., Ages 11 to 15.