|Series:||Julie Andrews Collection Series|
|Product dimensions:||5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.42(d)|
|Lexile:||830L (what's this?)|
|Age Range:||8 - 12 Years|
About the Author
Julie Andrews Edwards is one of the most recognized figures in the world of entertainment. She is perhaps best known for her performances in Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, and The Princess Diaries. Ms. Edwards is the author of many favorite children's books, including Mandy, The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles, and the Little Bo series. She and her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, an arts educator and theater professional, have coauthored over twenty books for young readers, including Simeon's Gift, The Great American Mousical, Thanks to You: Wisdom from Mother & Child, and the recent New York Times bestsellers The Very Fairy Princess and Julie Andrews' Collection of Poems, Songs, and Lullabies. Emma is also the author of Raising Bookworms.
Read an Excerpt
DragonHound of Honor Julie Andrews Collection
By Julie Andrews Edwards Emma Walton Hamilton
Katherine TegenISBN: 0-06-057119-5
The morning was filled with promise. It was in the quality of light, spreading across the unspoiled countryside - limning every blade of grass, every bush, twig, tree; nature in full glory on a summer day. It was in the air - a gift in itself, dew-freshened, and perfumed with hints of clover and sweetbriar rose carried on a gentle breeze. It would be warm later.
A lark rose from the underbrush, spiraling upward in ever-ascending circles, trilling its hymn of praise. Reaching the peak of its climb, it hung fluttering above the plain as if arrested with wonder at its existence and the beauty of the world beneath.
The dog crested the hill and he, too, paused - front paw raised, alert to every detail, his nostrils sensing rabbit that had passed moments before and the doe and her fawn hiding in the forest nearby. He was magnificent, his color white - rare for a wolfhound - and he had a fine head and well-set eyes. He wore no collar, no trimming of any kind, the only tether holding him in check being an innate intelligence and the respect and love he bore his master. Looking back to make sure that he was close, the dog ran on, rejoicing in his exquisite freedom.
Thierry urged his pony in front of the others, eager to be the first to glimpse the horizon. He smiled as he watched the dog cavorting, snuffling, making furrows in the moist green grass. Shading his eyes against the sun, he called, "I don't see anyone yet!"
Two men, riding easily, lazily, came abreast of him and reined in their horses. All three looked down across the plain in companionable silence, broken only by the occasional jingle of harness, the stomp of a hoof, the crunch of a bit.
After a moment, the fair-haired knight spoke. "He said he'd arrive by first light. I've seldom known him be late."
"He's been traveling over two days," said the other man.
"But he'll be anxious to get here. He wouldn't miss the tourney. It has always been his favorite holiday."
Thierry asked, "Won't he be weary?"
"Macaire?" The fair knight laughed. "Five hours' rest and he'll be like new. I wager he'll be successful tomorrow. Or perhaps our friend DeNarsac here." He indicated their companion.
"I can't wait to compete," Thierry enthused.
"And so you shall, when you are old enough, strong enough, foolish enough," DeNarsac replied gently.
"I've been practicing. I want to be just like you."
"Then you will be broken many times, and you will hurt a great deal. It would sadden me to see that young frame jarred, to see those freckles bloodied." DeNarsac knuckled the boy's dark hair affectionately. "But you show considerable promise for your thirteen years. And I know you are brave."
"And there is the thrill of it, the sport, the triumph," countered the fair knight. "You have always loved it, Guy. Admit it."
Guy DeNarsac shrugged. "I do admit it, but if tomorrow fortune chooses to smile on me, then I shall make it my last tournament. I hope I am sensible enough to know when it is time to stop ... if I am to have a life after." He rubbed his knee ruefully. "But truly it is you, Aubrey, who stands to win, even more than Macaire. He has strength, to be sure, but you have quick wits and greater skill."
Aubrey de Montdidier watched as the wolfhound loped away again, then said thoughtfully, "Let us hope tomorrow is the best solstice ever ... a day to remember. Ho! Dragon!" he called as the dog veered sharply toward the forest. "Not in there. You know better."
Hardly breaking stride, Dragon obediently altered course and circled back to the party, his long legs moving rhythmically, easily.
"He is magnificent, Aubrey," commented DeNarsac. "There is not another like him. He is as intelligent as he is well-bred."
"Indeed. He can anticipate the quick turn of a sword as well as any of us."
"Because you trained him. It is not every knight who improves his sparring through playful practice with his dog. When you breed him, would you consider letting me take a pup?"
Montdidier nodded. "I've been searching for a suitable mate for Dragon. When I find one, it will be my pleasure."
"May he be as fortunate as you with Lady Isabelle," DeNarsac said warmly.
"Look!" Thierry interrupted. "What is that?" In the distance, something bright was moving, gleaming, caught by the sun. "That's Macaire, isn't it? That's his entourage!"
"So it is." Aubrey de Montdidier gathered his slack reins. "What did I tell you? Come, let us see who can be the first to reach my cousin."
The two men and the boy cantered across the plain, with Dragon easily matching their every stride.
The Chevalier Richard Macaire rode out ahead of his men to greet them.
"Aubrey! Guy! How splendid. And Thierry! By my faith, boy, you must have added three inches since I last saw you."
The friends embraced, the horses mingling, jostling one another. Macaire maneuvered his palfrey and they trotted back to join the other riders in his entourage - a valet, two guards, a squire, and a servant leading packhorses weighed down with equipment.
Macaire announced, "Gentlemen - may I present my cousin Aubrey de Montdidier of the King's Bodyguard, and our friend Guy DeNarsac, Captain of the Count's Men-at-Arms. This good-looking lad is Thierry, ward of the Count of Montargis. Thierry, you've met Lieutenant Landry, haven't you?" Macaire indicated the earnest young man leading his group.
"I don't believe so, sir." Thierry acknowledged the Lieutenant with a dip of his head.
"Landry was appointed to me when His Majesty gave me my commission," said Macaire.
"How has it been in the field?" Montdidier asked.
Excerpted from Dragon by Julie Andrews Edwards Emma Walton Hamilton Excerpted by permission.
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