YA When Morkeleb, the Black Dragon, attacks the Southern Lands, Prince Gareth seeks the only living Dragonsbane, John Aversin, to ask him to slay it. Instead of the heroic figure he expects, Gareth finds an unprepossessing border lord whose only dragon kill was made reluctantly and through necessity. John agrees to go, in return for Gareth's promise that the King's troops will come to defend John's lands. With them goes Jenny Waynest, a half-taught sorceress and mother of John's sons. When they reach the capital, they find the King under the spell of a beautiful power-hungry sorceress and reluctant to give any help to the trio. When at last the dragon is confronted, it is Jenny who must face him, and she finds that her greatest obstacle to overcome will not be the strength of the dragon, but his seductive offer to teach her the magical knowledge that she has long craved. This fantasy is peopled with appealing, fully delineated characters, even the dragon Morkeleb. The conflict between the need to love and the need to develop one's talents add even more interest to an already interesting quest. Betsy Shorb, PGCMLS, Md.