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Dragon's Keep

Dragon's Keep

4.3 62
by Janet Lee Carey

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Far away on Wilde Island, Princess Rosalind is born with a dragon claw where her ring finger should be. To hide this secret, the queen forces her to wear gloves at all times until a cure can be found, and Rosalind can fulfill the prophecy that will restore her family to its rightful throne.

But Rosalind’s flaw cannot be separated from her fate. When she


Far away on Wilde Island, Princess Rosalind is born with a dragon claw where her ring finger should be. To hide this secret, the queen forces her to wear gloves at all times until a cure can be found, and Rosalind can fulfill the prophecy that will restore her family to its rightful throne.

But Rosalind’s flaw cannot be separated from her fate. When she is carried off by the dragon, everything she thought she knew falls apart. . . .

Includes a reader's guide.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Carey (Wenny Has Wings) has written a romantic fantasy steeped in the Arthurian tradition of knights, dragons and lost kingdoms. After eloping with an outlaw, King Arthur's sister, Evaine, is banished to Wilde Island. Merlin, however, foresees a prophecy regarding the 21st queen in her future lineage: "She shall redeem the name Pendragon. End war with the wave of her hand. And restore the glory of Wilde Island." Centuries later, Queen Gweneth (the infertile queen number 20) devours an egg stolen from the dragon, Lord Faul, in an attempt to conceive. When she does give birth, her daughter, Rosalind, is born with the "devil's mark": her left hand bears a claw in place of one finger. Rosalind hides her hands underneath golden gloves and Queen Gweneth repeatedly commits murder to preserve the secret. The lonely princess doubts any man will ever marry her, but when she meets Kye-a young knight who vanquished a female dragon that has plagued Wilde Island-she falls in love. Soon after, Rosalind is captured by Lord Faul (her true father) and becomes nursemaid to his offspring, known as pips. When one of the pips drowns, Lord Faul's tears quench his "inner fire," killing him and ending Rosalind's capture. She returns to Wilde Island to claim her rightful place as queen, and though she is put on trial for being a witch, Rosalind's "curse" ultimately becomes her triumph. Fantasy lovers will readily empathize with this brave heroine who learns to be true to herself. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
VOYA - Dawn Talbot
Princess Rosalind was born with a dragon's claw, disappointing her mother, who expects nothing less than perfection. Merlin has prophesied that Rosalind will one day restore her family to its rightful throne, but Rosalind's destiny seems to be denied her when she is abducted by a dragon. Carey's writing style is beautifully expressive. In describing dragon scales, Carey writes, "Stuck to the shell, they were the size and shape of rose petals." Scales are "bright as rippling water"; wood is "bleached . . . bone white"; and gray hair lifts "like cobwebs in the breeze." There is wonderful depth in the story because of the rich language. The complicated relationship between Rosalind and her mother sparkles. Especially in the second half of the book, Rosalind learns that there are many sides of her mother that she did not know. Part of Rosalind's interesting journey includes facing the truth about who her mother really is, a difficult task. Rosalind also develops a unique, complex relationship with her dragon jailer that drives the story forward in unexpected ways. In addition to the writing, the fantastically multifaceted relationships among the main characters make this novel one that will easily hold readers attention.
Karolinde Young
Rosalind is a beautiful princess with a bright destiny. It has been prophesied that she would bring peace and restore the honor of her people. But Rosalind also bears a curse, a dragon's claw. Rosalind's mother forces her daughter to wear gloves to cover her devil's mark, even killing to hide Rosalind's curse. But fate overtakes the young princess when she is kidnapped by Lord Faul. Rosalind learns the truth behind her curse and struggles to learn who she truly is. Carey spins a story of magic, destiny, treachery and love that is exciting and emotional. Readers will identify with Rosalind's attempt to discover who she is and where she belongs. The book is appropriate for middle and high schoolers. Reviewer: Karolinde Young
KLIATT - Cara Chancellor
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, May 2007: All her life, Rosalind Pendragon and her mother have kept a secret, one that has kept her from a royal marriage and from fulfilling the prophecy surrounding her reign as the 21st queen of Wilde Island. Whereas the rest of Rosalind's hands are a royal, alabaster white, the fourth finger on her left hand is a shimmering, metallic dragon's claw. In a kingdom in which people have been burned for witchcraft for far less, Rosalind is forced to hide her flaw under golden gloves that never leave her hands. When the omnipresent marauding dragon turns its attention on Rosalind's village, it sets off a chain reaction no one could have foreseen. The dragon hunters arrive, including a young man named Kye who makes Rosalind wish in earnest that she could marry. When the dragon is killed, though, it is only the beginning of Rosalind's misery. Its mate arrives to claim Rosalind as the new nursemaid for its pups, and she discovers the horrible secret behind her claw. As the sole human resident of Dragon's Keep, the island home of the dragons, Rosalind learns several surprising truths that make her wonder if it is her race or the dragons' that is really more "human" and whether or not she will ever fulfill the destiny that was foretold to her. Carey's novel is enjoyable, fast paced, and easy to read. It will have obvious appeal to YAs who feel like "outsiders," and Rosalind has the perfect balance of honor and personality flaws to make her both likeable and credible. The book is at times graphic—characters are burned alive, dismembered, eaten, strangled, drowned, and drugged—but Carey presents her tale in a medieval context that makesits adult themes less disturbing than they could be. On the whole, the novel projects a theme of embracing one's differences that is undeniably pertinent to the 10th and 21st centuries alike. (An ALA Best Book for YAs.) Reviewer: Cara Chancellor
Kirkus Reviews
In 1145, on Wilde Island, Rosalind counts the days by the saints and once a week has her mother the queen trim the dragon claw that is the third finger of her left hand. Told in the first person, Rosie's story unfolds slowly. Her mother has kept Rosie's claw hidden from the dragon-ravaged populace, always wearing golden gloves so her daughter's will not be questioned. The dragon comes to feed as dragons do, and is slaughtered by Lord Godrick and his son Kye. The dragon's mate, however, comes to rescue his eggs and takes Rosalind as servant to tend them. Rose learns from the dragons, believing that the key to her birthright is found in the children's chant, "Bright fire. Dragon's fire. Broken sword. One black talon ends the war!" Wonderfully imagined dragon lore and an elegant backstory connection to the Arthur Pendragon legend are woven with rich strands of mother/daughter, child/nursemaid, friend/companion resonance, and the dark-skinned, blue-eyed half-Muslim Kye is a worthy hero. The weakly melodramatic climax is the only flaw, and it's balanced by a sweet denouement. (Fantasy. YA)
From the Publisher

"A rich medieval fantasy, a splendid weaving of bright and dark threads, constant surprises and startling turns of events; of brutalities and beauties, terrors and triumphs . . . a remarkable achievement."--Lloyd Alexander
[star] "Stunning, lyrical prose . . . Carey smoothly blends many traditional fantasy tropes here, but her telling is fresh as well as thoroughly compelling."--Booklist (starred)

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Dragon's Keep Series , #1
Sold by:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Sales rank:
File size:
630 KB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Queen’s Knife
MOTHER PULLED OUT HER KNIFE. We were alone in her solar.
 “It’s time,” she said. “Give me your hand.”
 I drew back. “It’s not yet Sunday eve.”
 “We’re together, Rosalind, and the door’s well locked.”
 “Tonight.” Then softening her voice she said, “Come, Rosie, take off your gloves.”
 Her blade flashed in the firelight and sent a russet glow across the room. She was ready for the ritual. I dreaded it.
 “Take yours off first.”
 Mother placed her knife on the table and bared her hands. Queen Gweneth’s fingers were finely tapered as candles, her skin milky as the moon. It was a shame for her to wear golden gloves, but she’d donned them at my birth to protect me, and worn them ever since.
 “Now you, Rosie.”
 I bit my lip as she removed my right glove. Pretty hand that never saw the sun; the skin was soft and creamy not unlike her own. Mother kissed it. Then taking my other hand in hers, she peeled away the left glove. None but Mother and myself knew what hid underneath.
 My throat tightened as we looked at my fourth finger. The horny flesh. Blue-green and scaly as a lizard’s hide. Claw of the beast with a black curving talon at the end.
 I rubbed the scar at the base of my claw. A wound I’d made myself the night of Nell’s witch burning. With her cunning craft Nell had lured folk into the woods and fed them to the dragon. Of this she was accused, and too she had a devil’s mark on her back. I’d seen the mark myself before they burned her—it was nothing compared to mine.
 With Cook’s sharp knife I’d stolen to my room to try to cut off my cursed part. The wound was deep and the blood had drenched my kirtle before Mother caught me.
 The queen was peering at my claw now, working her face to hold back a sickened sneer, but with all her trying, her lip still tightened. “The sorrow of it,” she whispered. “That it should be your wedding finger.”
 “No man would marry me unless he was a leper.”
 “Rosie. Don’t say such things.”
 “Then say it isn’t true.”
 Mother pulled out her silver vial, sipped the poppy potion, and closed her eyes. The fire crackled. When the lines around her eyes and mouth grew smooth she capped the bottle and set her jaw. “Now.”
 I hid my hand behind my back. “It will hurt.”
 “I’ll cut with care.” Tugging my wrist close, she used her knife to peel the black talon as a fletcher sharpens an arrow.
 Curled bits of hard black nail fell to the floor. Sparks flew and a trail of smoke rose as she trimmed the nail. It was a wonder we’d shaken our heads at. For what kind of talon hides a spark?
 Scrape. Scrape. I closed my eyes and smelled the odor of ground bone and, stranger still, a scent of rusted metal. The stench filled me with shame.
 I waited for her to finish, taking slow breaths to calm myself. Then I felt a sharp prick.
 “Too close to the quick!” I drew back and blinked away the tears.
 “Done,” said Mother, sweeping the broken bits of nail into her hand and tossing them in the fire.
 Gently now, she slid my golden gloves back on and put her cool hand on my cheek. “This secret is heavy between us,” she said. “But don’t cry, Rosie. I’ll find a way to cure you. I swear it on my life.”
 Copyright © 2007 by Janet Lee Carey All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be submitted online at www.harcourt.com/contact or mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

Meet the Author

JANET LEE CAREY received the Mark Twain Award in 2005 for Wenny Has Wings. She lives near Seattle, Washington.

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Dragon's Keep 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 62 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Rosalind's fate was written in the stars, read by Merlin, some 600 years before she was born. A direct descendant of the Pendragon line, her ancestor, Evaine, was the younger sister of King Arthur. Evaine married an outlaw and was banished to Wilde Island and erased from family history, setting Rosalind's destiny in motion. Three things are said of the twenty-first queen of Wilde Island; "She shall redeem the name Pendragon. End war with the wave of her hand. And restore the glory of Wilde Island."

Rosalind knows the prophecy well. She has been groomed for it her entire life. The way her mother sees it, England is in the midst of a civil war and Rosalind will marry Prince Henry, future king of England, thereby fulfilling all aspects of the prophecy. There are just a few problems. Having never met the Prince, what if he and Rosalind don't get along? Not that the Queen of England has officially contacted them yet, though it is assumed she is aware of the prophecy. With the recent dragon attacks on Wilde Island their military force is depleted, and may not be much help to England. Oh, and there's the little matter of Rosalind's ring finger. Instead of a finger it's a dragon's claw. So far she and her mother have hidden it behind golden gloves, but that won't work when Rosie is married. They MUST find a cure soon. A cure that is made harder to find due to the fact that the healers are never told what the exact problem is. Things are beginning to look bleak.

When an envoy from England comes to visit Wilde Island, things may be looking up a little. Especially since they've managed to slay the dragon that has been harassing the Island forever. It doesn't hurt that the one who killed the dragon is a handsome boy around Rosalind's age. At least in Rosalind's opinion, but her mother might not see it the same. Not that it's a concern for long. What should be one of the most triumphant moments in their history turns horrifying when the dragon's mate returns to punish the people, and takes a special interest in Rosalind. Before long, Rosalind's life will never be the same, and it doesn't look like the prophecy could ever possibly be fulfilled.

There is so much more to this book than I can tell you here! So many more levels and layers to the story. If I tried to fit it all in it would not only ruin the story, but end up nearly as long as the book! The relationships between the characters are so multi-leveled and very realistic. Rosalind may be a Princess with a dragon's claw in a faraway time and place, but her relationship with her mother is something you could see in anyone's life. Her desire to be normal and accepted are the same things everyone experiences as a teenager. So while the circumstances aren't something we experience every day, the people in them, and their reactions to them, are completely realistic and easy to relate to.

Part fairy tale, part mythology, part legend, all around fantastic! Read it! You'll be glad you did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Throughout my lifetime I have had the pleasure of reading several books and indulging myself in the worlds several authors had been able to paint with only their words. This book has infinite meaning to me, for it has -and still to this day- keeps me thinking about the characters, their personalities, the situation, and the lessons learned. It has a permanent spot in my soul, wedged in a place where I always find myself thinking back to. I will be forever grateful to the author, for sparking this love, this ache in my soul that resigns there and always will for literature, and all the beautiful art created by authors everywhere. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read it for a reading compitition and I found it surprisingly very good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I recently read the book Dragons Keep by Janet Lee Carey and i have to say that it was an amazing book and you wont waste any money when buying it!!!!!! The book was so good that it took me two days to read because i couldnt put it down and i loved turning every page!!! I think thag Janet Lee Carey deserves a huge round of appluase!!!!!!!! Please report back to me when you have finished reading the book. The way you can let me know that the review is from someone who read mine is to title the headline for the review is: Brfybm1. Thx for reading!!!!!!!!!!!
TEST NOOKUSER More than 1 year ago
I liked the book, choppy and misbegotten beginning and all. However, she was as fatal to her characters as Martin. Don't become attached to anyone and you'll like this story just fine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rose goes through quite a turn. A dragon captures her and she learns the dragon's ways. I think this is a truly awesome story. If you love dragons, is a tween/young teen you would enjoy this!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book sucks
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was amazing!!!!!But there were alot of sad parts. However the good and happy parts out numerbed the sad and upseting parts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, it was really good and easy to feel like you where there. But, there was a lot of people and animals who died. At the end, i counted at lest 11 people or animals who where close to the main characters dead. Also, the very end was a little hurried. The rest of the book great because of it's detail bit the end, well, the end let that detailed book down. It's just pretty easy to see that the author had to rush the end to finish the book. It was a wonderful book and you feel for the main character, but if this book is more geared for girls then the author could have made the book a best seller without all tye people dead.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing! Words cannot be put into detail on how well this book is. I have read it twice. Its so enthralling and makes me want to be Rosellin, caring for some of the last dragon kind while slaving away for the sake of the lives of her loved ones. I recomend this book to any one.
advancedreaderformyage More than 1 year ago
this book blew me away with the detail and i absoluetly loved it. i havent read the second book and i cant wait to read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From qwhat i read the book is amazing. Perfect for ambitious young readers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am so glad that the heroine is not some damsel is distress. She is smart and capable. The ending for me is a bit rushed, i hope there will be a sequel.
ScarlettH More than 1 year ago
Rosalind is a bright, young, beautiful girl with a bright future ahead of her. Her prophecy is destined to redeem the Pendragon family after her ancestor, Evaine, was banished and erased from the family history once she married and outlaw. Rosiland’s parents have groomed her in order for her to fulfill this prophecy since she was born, and she is also destined to marry the Prince of England, whom she has never met. However, an obstacle has been encountered. On her ring finger, there lies the finger of a dragon which she has had since birth. Only her mother knows about this, and they both wear gloves to conceal it from everyone. A cure for this must be found in order for her to marry the prince. What’s not so much help are the dragon attacks that have been happening recently, delaying the process to find a cure. Even once that dragon is slain, it’s friend turns to attack Rosiland as well, putting not only her life in danger, but the chances that the prophecy will be fulfilled is also becoming less and less likely. The question doesn’t become if she can ever bring the Pendragon family back to high honors, but if she can survive. I recommend this book to teens ages 15-20 for the fact that the old language can be hard to interpret and any age older than around 20, the book can seem childish due to the fantasy aspect of it. Very good book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is every good. I loved reading it and it wasnt what you expected. Give it a chapter or two and you wont be able to put it down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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sgmaxx More than 1 year ago
enjoyed it a lot.