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VOYA -This third book from Callander's Dragon series is good fantasy but a hard read if one has not read the first two titles, Dragon Companion (Ace, 1994) and Dragon Rescue (Ace, 1995). Our hero is a librarian (how nice), and the plot involves a dragon, a princess, the exploration and discovery of new lands, a kidnapping, and of course a rescue. Though the setting is another land, other than Earth, the reader is made to feel at home-in fact, sometimes this feels like a historical novel. Tom, the librarian, pioneers across "Carolna" by means of boat, foot, and ox-drawn covered wagon, meeting new creatures and new peoples having experiences similar to our own pioneers-with the exception of talking lions and flying dragons.
In the first book a dragon appeared to this Library of Congress librarian and took him away to a magical land where librarians are among the most powerful humans; and what powerful human does not have enemies, especially in an unchartered land? In this continuation, the princess (Tom's wife and the King's daughter) is kidnapped shortly after the birth of her first child, has to be rescued, and then decides the fate of her captor. This plot is woven with Tom's other adventures.
The characters are colorful and easy to relate to, but the series is for the true fantasy reader and will probably not have general appeal. The text and the plot are not as complex as Eddings or McCaffrey, but the fantasy is similar. Although all the characters are adults, the reading level will be appropriate and very appealing to the middle school reader.
VOYA Codes: 3Q 2P M J S A/YA (Readable without serious defects, For the YA reader with a special interest in the subject, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9, Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12 and adults).