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Named of the Dragon

Named of the Dragon

4.5 6
by Susanna Kearsley

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A haunting tale of intrigue from New York Times bestselling author Susanna Kearsley.


The charm of spending the Christmas holidays in South Wales, with its crumbling castles and ancient myths, seems the perfect distraction from the nightmares that have plagued


A haunting tale of intrigue from New York Times bestselling author Susanna Kearsley.


The charm of spending the Christmas holidays in South Wales, with its crumbling castles and ancient myths, seems the perfect distraction from the nightmares that have plagued literary agent Lyn Ravenshaw since the loss of her baby five years ago.

Instead, she meets an emotionally fragile young widow who's convinced that Lyn's recurring dreams have drawn her to Castle Farm for an important purpose--and she's running out of time.

With the help of a reclusive, brooding playwright, Lyn begins to untangle the mystery and is pulled into a world of Celtic legends, dangerous prophecies, and a child destined for greatness.

"A grand adventure... Susanna Kearsley just keeps getting better and better." -LAUREN WILLIG, New York Times bestselling author
"Enchanting! Beguiling! Gorgeously romantic! A truly brilliant book." -KATE FORSYTH, Award-winning author of Bitter Greens
"Susanna Kearsley deftly conjures a contemporary heroine as unique as she is memorable." -DEANNA RAYBOURN, New York Times bestselling author

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Susanna Kearsley delivers a cozy yet atmospheric novel of love, loss and Arthurian legend set in Wales." - Shelf Awareness Reader

Romantic Suspense with Arthurian Twists

Fans of Mary Stewart's romantic suspense or her Merlin series should be pleased with Susanna Kearsley's newest novel, as it utilizes the best of both. Named of the Dragon blends modern-day romance with the mystery of Arthurian legend to create a suspenseful and entertaining story.

When London literary agent Lyn Ravenshaw is coerced into spending the Christmas holiday with Bridget Cooper -- one of her more eccentric and demanding writers and the author of a series of highly successful children's books -- she hopes the time away will be healing. For Lyn is still plagued with horrifying nightmares that have haunted her sleep for the past five years, ever since the death of her baby. Sweetening the deal for Lyn is the fact that James Swift, a big-name author who is currently represented by one of Lyn's biggest competitors, will be staying in the same rambling farmhouse. Rumor has it James is looking for a new agent and signing him on could mean a huge promotion for Lyn, who has long admired the man's work. The fact that Bridget is currently romancing James put the odds in Lyn's favor.

When she first arrives at the farmhouse, Lyn is both enchanted and intrigued by the building's history and those of the ruins nearby. And things with James seem to be going along quite well. But then the dreams start, different dreams this time that feature a strange woman and a little boy. The dreams take on a more puzzling flavor when Lyn meets Elen, a strange young widow who keeps muttering things about someone taking her son away. At first, Lyn assumes the woman is a little off, affected by her grief over her dead husband. But then certain things happen that make her wonder if there isn't some truth behind Elen's seemingly hysterical ravings.

As if things aren't complicated enough, Lyn also runs into Gareth Gwyn Morgan, a brooding and reclusive -- though highly acclaimed -- playwright who lives nearby. Gareth is immediately wary, assuming Lyn is only there to try to sign him up to her agency. When someone in Lyn's office issues a directive to do just that, things get really sticky. But simple survival soon takes preference over any business needs as Lyn delves deeper into the mystery of her dreams, the Arthurian legends they are tied to, and the role Elen's young son seems destined to play.

Kearsley clearly knows how to spin an enchanting tale and does a masterful job of bringing the past to bear on the present. The characters are just quirky enough to make them utterly fascinating and so realistically drawn that they seem to leap off the page. Kearsley's vivid depiction of the setting -- a small village along the quaintly picturesque coast of Wales, replete with castle ruins and odd inhabitants -- is as intriguing as any of the characters and serves to accentuate the mystery, magic, and well-masked mayhem. Named of the Dragon is a winner on all fronts.

—Beth Amos

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5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Shine, little lamp, nor let thy light grow dim.

Into what vast, dread dreams, what lonely lands,

Into what griefs hath death delivered him

Far from my hands?

-Marjorie Pickthall, "The Lamp of Poor Souls"

The dream came, as it always did, just before dawn.

I was standing alone at the edge of a river that wound through a valley so lush and so green that the air seemed alive. The warble of songbirds rang over the treetops from branches bent low with the weight of ripe fruit, and everywhere the flowers grew, more vivid and fragrant than any flowers I had ever seen before. Their fragrance filled me with an incredible thirst, and kneeling on the riverbank I cupped my hands into the chill running water and lifted them dripping, preparing to drink.

A shadow swept over me, blocking the sun.

Beside me the grass gave a rustle and parted, and out came a serpent, quite withered and small. It slipped down the riverbank into the water and opened its mouth, and as I knelt watching the serpent swallowed the river, and the flowers shriveled and died and the trees turned to flame, and the songbirds to ravens, and everywhere the green of the valley vanished and the world became a wasteland underneath a frozen sky, and the riverbed a hard road winding through it.

And the serpent, grown heavy and large, slithered off as the ravens rose thick in a chattering cloud that turned day into night, and I found myself walking beneath a pale moon through the wasteland.

I was looking for something-I didn't know what, but I'd lost it just recently...

And then, far off, I heard a baby crying in the night, and I remembered.


The crying grew stronger. I started to run, with my hair streaming out like a madwoman, running, but always the cry came from somewhere ahead and I couldn't catch up with it. "Justin!" I called again, panicked. "Oh God, love, I'm coming. Hold on, Mummy's coming."

But already I was losing him, I wasn't running fast enough, and then the road fell away and I fell with it, spiraling helplessly down through the dark into nothingness, hearing the cries growing fainter above me, and fading...

I woke with a jolt.

For a long moment I lay perfectly still, blinking up at the ceiling and forcing my eyes to focus through the stinging mist of tears. Outside on the pavement I heard footsteps pass with the brisk, certain ring of a businessman heading for Kensington station. The sound, small and normal, was something to cling to. I drew a deep breath...and another...reached my hand toward the lamp.

Light always helped, somehow.

Clear of the shadows, my room felt less cold and less empty. I rose, shrugged myself into my robe, and crossed to the window. The sulfurous glow of a late November night had given way to hard gray light that flattened on the line of roofs and chimney pots that faced me. In the street below, the stream of morning traffic had already started, sluggishly, as everywhere the houses yawned to life. It was morning, just the same as any other morning.

I pulled the curtain back an inch, and looked toward the fading morning star. It looked so small, so vulnerable. Another hour, and it would be forgotten. There wasn't anybody in the flat who could have heard me, but I spoke the words quite softly, all the same: "Happy Birthday, Justin," I said, to the tiny point of light.

It winked back, faintly, and I let the curtain fall.

Meet the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author and RITA award winner, Susanna Kearsley is known for her meticulous research and exotic settings from Russia to Italy to Cornwall, which not only entertain her readers but give her a great reason to travel. Her lush writing has been compared to Mary Stewart, Daphne Du Maurier, and Diana Gabaldon. She hit the bestseller lists in the U.S. with The Winter Sea and The Rose Garden, both RITA finalists and winners of RT Reviewers' Choice Awards. Other honors include finaling for the UK's Romantic Novel of the Year Award, National Readers' Choice Awards, and the prestigious Catherine Cookson Fiction Prize. Her popular and critically-acclaimed books are available in translation in more than 20 countries and as audio books. She lives in Canada, near the shores of Lake Ontario.

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Named of the Dragon 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fans of Mary Stewart and Barbara Erskine will rejoice to have found this talented Canadian writer! Her characters are unique and vividly drawn, as are settings and plot. Highly recommended!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think that "Named of the Dragon" is an absolutely fabulous book! The descriptions in the novel are so vivid that I want to be there. I like the fact that there is a romance between two unlikely people, and that it doesn't make up the whole book, it is a part of it. This book keeps the suspense alive, and left me wanting a sequal. Susanna Kearsely did an outstanding job with this novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found the history compelling, made the story larger and made me want to read more by this Author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
gaele More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars rounded. I’ve read a couple of Kearsley titles, and I love them for the atmospheric escape that they bring, evocative prose allows you to exist with the characters within the setting. In this title, set in Wales is liberally sprinkled with Arthurian legend, paranormal spooky moments, and a clear correlation between Gareth and Lyn (in this story) with the couple, Sir Gareth and Lynnette from Tennyson’s The Idylls of the King. You don’t have to have a familiarity with either element to enjoy the journey, but the references are easier to spot, and are richer for the knowing. Lyn is a literary agent with a star children’s book author, Bridget. Bridget is more than the stereotypical spoilt star, she’s rather annoying most of the time, then does or says something that has you wondering just why you were annoyed. A bit of a trial though, and Lyn’s rather passive approach to antics that are far from acceptable made this friendship a bit one sided. Fortunately, we have other townsfolk, some strange dreams and a touch of romantic interest mixed in, that give the story some body beyond focusing on Bridget and Lyn. Enter Gareth, a bit of a recluse, difficult and purposefully abrasive, the attraction between he and Lyn is an odd one, more hinted at then actually consummated, and often falling to the background when strange happenings and stranger dreams start to become more prevalent and important. A bit of a mix in the combinations: Arthurian legends, Tennyson’s poem and the events in the current day would have shown stronger, for me, had this been more of a time-slip / travel inclusion, even as there were distinct parallels in many moments. While those didn’t work as well for me, the whole concept, placed against the wonderful description and details of the setting, bringing in a tone that varies from grey and rainy to actually a spookier sort of gloom works together to keep me reading. While not my favorite, there is enough here to escape and shiver along for several hours, and the intersections of current, past, legend and place all create an atmospheric read from start to finish. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.