Dragonwitch (Tales of Goldstone Wood Series #5)

Dragonwitch (Tales of Goldstone Wood Series #5)

by Anne Elisabeth Stengl


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A New Tale Is Added to this Christy Award-Winning Fantasy Saga!

Submissive to her father's will, Lady Leta of Aiven travels far to meet a prospective husband she neither knows nor loves--Lord Alistair, future king of the North Country.

But within the walls of Gaheris Castle, all is not right. Vicious night terrors plague Lord Alistair to the brink of insanity. Whispers rise from the family crypt. The reclusive castle Chronicler, Leta's tutor and friend, possesses a secret so dangerous it could cost his life and topple the North Country into civil war.

And far away in a hidden kingdom, a fire burns atop the Temple of the Sacred Flame. Acolytes and priestesses serve their goddess to the limits of their lives and deaths. No one is safe while the Dragonwitch searches for the sword that slew her twice...and for the one person who can wield it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780764210273
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/01/2013
Series: Tales of Goldstone Wood Series , #5
Pages: 432
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Anne Elisabeth Stengl is the author of the acclaimed TALES OF GOLDSTONE WOOD series, including Starflower; Veiled Rose; winner of the 2012 Christy Award for Visionary novel; and Heartless, the winner of the 2011 Christy Award for First Novel. She makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a dog, and a passel of cats. Learn more at www.anneelisabethstengl.blogspot.com.

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Dragonwitch 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
palmtreegirl More than 1 year ago
The story begins when Lady Leta of Avien obediently leaves her kingdom to become the wife of the future king, Lord Alastair of the North Country. He doesn't love her and she doesn't love him either. It would be easier if he had some interest in getting to know her but he has no such inclination. To ward off loneliness Leta finds sanctuary in the library and makes an unlikely friend in the Lord's tutor. It is among the vast walls of books that long buried secrets begin to whisper. This book is one of the best fantasy books I've read in a long time. It has epic adventure, unlikely romance, magic and enough secrets to make the pages fly by. I haven't read the other books in this series but I plan to go back and read them now. The story made sense on its own but I want to learn more about the secrets and history of the Goldstone Wood. This book has a permanent place on my book shelf. My only regret is that I read it to fast... next time I'm going to make myself linger so that I can enjoy the journey longer. I received a free copy of this book to review from Bethany House Publishing.
TheScriptSpinner More than 1 year ago
Spoiler Free In the North Country, there is no hope for fairytales. Lord Alistair must prepare to be king, not a hero. His bride-to-be does not love him. The Castle Chronicler will never be more then the misshapen dwarf who can read and write. Fairytales are for children. The House of Lights will never be found. The Smallman will never inherit the sword of legend that slew the Dragonwitch twice. The impossible will never happen. But one day it does.In one terrifying moment, everything the North Country knows is in danger of being destroyed. If it is to be saved, heroes must rise and believe in the legends of old. If the evil is to be defeated, the sword must be found. But to find it requires going into the heart of a distant land where the Dragonwitch rules. Courage will be tested, loyalties must be proved...and the Dragonwitch must be slain for the third and final time. ~ Dragonwitch continues the epic saga that Anne Elisabeth Stengl is unfolding before our eyes. The story takes place soon after the end of Starflower, Book 4. But even after such a short period, dramatic changes have taken place. With new characters to root for and plenty of returning characters to love, this novel escalates to a grand scale not seen in the series before. Entwining with the present events comes the legend of the Dragonwitch and the Brothers Ashiun, so long alluded to, but never fully explained. This is a tale of becoming what you were meant to be. It encourages to live up to your full potential, no matter what you may look like, no matter what people think about you, no matter what you think of yourself. This theme makes Dragonwitch possibly the most triumphant book of all the series. We cheer for the characters as they trust in He Who Chose Them and overcome all odds. But this theme also makes the book the most tragic. For we see those who fail. Those who reject the call of their Creator and turn down a darker road. Those who proclaim themselves as gods and goddesses and end with nothing at all. It is heart-breaking and enlightening. This is the first book where I was literally weeping for the villains. Amidst the drama, the tragedy, and the action, there is plenty of humor and sweetness to brighten your mood. And as always, the book is CLEAN. No language, no sexual content, mild violence. There is more combat and killing on page then before, but the author keeps violent description low, not that it's any less intense. While possible to read as a stand-alone, you will miss the full potential if you don't read the series in order. The most EPIC Tale of Goldstone Wood yet! I give you-- DRAGONWITCH ~ 5 stars! ~
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stengl does it again in her fifth book of the Tales of Goldstone Wood. I was blown away by her writing style and story plot. If haven't read this series, I beg you please do! This is amazing series and is south every penny
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book! This whole series is awesome! I have really enjoyed it & am looking forward to the 6th book's release! Well written, unique characters & great story line!
Laura_Pol More than 1 year ago
Anne Elisabeth Stengel writes another fantastic book in this series! Just when I think her novels can't get any better and are the best yet, she surprises me and does even better with the next novel! "Dragonwitch" was definitely no exception! I'll admit that for a while in the beginning I was lost and confused. I had read the entire series previously, but I felt there was a lot going on and it took me a while to catch up. However once I did, the story really took me off on an exciting journey! All the mortals were extremely flawed characters and were so easy to relate to. They all struggled with some kind of doubt concerning the realness of Faerie stories they had learned from a child. They would eventually have to face their ideas/beliefs when meeting these people of legends. Are they going to believe their words of truth or are they going to be so full of doubt that their eyes won't open to the power of their words? This is a question that the characters struggle with throughout "Dragonwitch," with some of the characters believing in what they thought didn't exist and others not really seeing the true light! Something that has blown me away with each one of Anne's novel is the powerful message she writes throughout the series. Someone might ask "How can any fantasy novel have a Biblical message?". Well Anne definitely answers this question with a big YES throughout Tales of Goldstone Woord. The message in "Dragonwtich" left me tear-eyed, which was Jesus is our living water and has called us to a greater purpose. There are other inner lying messages, but this one was superior to them all. People might view themselves as a person of no beauty, worthless, different, doubtful, and many other negative thoughts that the devil wants us to believe. The reason being is because he knows if we live and believe these thoughts then we will never truly embrace the calling that Jesus has spoken over our lives and won't be able to walk the path He has laid for us. He died on the cross so that we may have living water, but we as people have to believe and trust in Him. It doesn't matter if He calls/tells to do something that would seem impossible to not only us, but everyone around. He makes us a new creation through our faith in Him so that we truly can do the impossible through His name and fulfill the purpose He had for us since the beginning of time. I strongly encourage anyone to read this novel who loves the typical fantasy of goblins, dragons, and a beautiful unicorn because not only are the characters unforgettable, but the storyline has a message that will not be easily forgotten as well.
PennyMindingMom More than 1 year ago
When the world you know starts to crumble, what do you do? Do you have the courage to stand up and fight, or do you flee? The House of Lights has been hidden for centuries and many do not believe that it's real. Children's stories tell of the Smallman who will open the doors of the House of Lights so that everyone can hear the Sphere songs once again. The Smallman's time has come, but who is he? The Dragonwitch is desperately searching for the sword that has slain her twice, once more and she will die her final death. Who will defeat the Dragonwitch before she grows to powerful? Who has the power to wield the sword? Dragonwitch, by Anne Elisabeth Stengl is the fifth book in the "Tales of the Goldstone Wood" series. This is a very interesting tale. At it's face value, it's a fantasy novel but it has an underlying Christian theme This isn't immediately apparent, or at least it wasn't to me. It wasn't until halfway through the tale, that it suddenly hit me... God has created each of us. Although we may not appear perfect in our own eyes, we are perfect in his. He can take even the most "insignificant" of us and use us to show his Love, Mercy and Might to all people.Another element is the theme of truth. The tale of the House of Lights is just that, for many people, a fairy tale. Something to be read to children and left at that. Like the tale, many choose not to believe the stories of the Bible. "What you believe cannot affect the truth of the matter". (page 52) No matter what you personally choose to believe, it cannot affect the truths told in the Bible.I also see how the reference to the "House of Light" could be Heaven and that, just as the the citizens in the story are waiting for the Smallman, we here on earth are waiting for the coming of Jesus Christ. Dragonwitch took me longer than usual to read. There were times that I become confused and frustrated to the point where I would put the book down, but something kept pulling me back. I needed to know what was going to happen...I believe that if I read the earlier books things may have made a bit more sense, by the end of the story everything started coming together for me. For anyone looking for a new fantasy series to I would recommend taking a look at this one. Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group for review. I was in no way compensated for this review.
Jani417 More than 1 year ago
If fantasy is not a reader’s favorite genre, he may be confused and disappointed by this book.  There are several stories running concurrently as well as some flashbacks and prophetic events.  Characters range from plain Anglo-Saxons to winged creatures.  Dwarfs, faeries, lords, ladies, scrubbers, and assorted netherworld beings populate the story and move between worlds and realities.   This was a difficult story to follow, which may be discouraging.  The main plot involves the succession to king after the death of an earl.  The heir apparent is the earl’s nephew, Alistair, who is betrothed to the very bright, beautiful Lady Leta, but who suffers from fears and insomnia.  Lady Leta sees and understands as events unfold and secrets are revealed.  Alastair may be the designated heir to the throne, yet there is another; a very unexpected man.  Plots and sabotage abound as the mystery leads the reader on a long, magical journey. This is the fifth in a series of books called the Tales of Goldstone Wood.  It may be helpful for readers to read the series in order.  Although the story is well told, it takes many side trips, which requires readers to concentrate, sort characters and recall past events.   I was given a free copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers for the purpose of review.  I recommend this book to adult and teenaged readers who enjoy fantasy stories.
BookGrace More than 1 year ago
I wasn't exactly sure what to expect from this book. There were not many characters of whom I had "met" previously, so I did not know if I'd like the story as much as the other books. Wrong- this one is actually one of my favorites from the series.  It had excellent writing,  character growth was evident by the end, and   there was just the right amount of the fantastical, the unexpected, romance, and humor  so that I enjoyed it. I  recommend this book, though I think you'd get the most enjoyment if you've at lest read "Starflower," the book previous to this one.  You probably could enjoy the book on it's own, but there's just something about reading a book and knowing things that have previously  happened, as well as reading about characters you have "met" before. Reading "Starflower," would help give some background to  "Dragonwitch."    With thanks to the publisher for a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
 Welcome to a world that is not limited by reality. Welcome to fantasy fiction. I know that this doesn't fall in line with my new fiction, but when I received an e-mail and this book was on the list it immediately caught my attention. The cover had this absolutely gorgeous red-headed female on the front, and looked King Arthur-esque. I do enjoy fairy tales so I thought I would give it a whirl, and here I am. Let me begin by saying that if you do not find fantasy appealing, than you it probably isn't your cup of tea. There are dragons, fairies, different worlds, mortals, immortals, talking cats, and shape shifting beings.       When I saw the title, I have to admit I was a little scared off. It did come from Bethany House Publishers (one of my favorite publishing companies, that just happens to be christian), however so I was willing to give it a go. Just so you know, when I read a book I don't put it down. I pick it up, sit down, and read it. Sometimes I am interrupted, and when I am I don't usually feel any real compelling force drawing me back to the book in wonderment thinking of what will happen to the characters, just me wanting to read the happy ever after. But, when I put the book down I couldn't stay away from it. I had no clue in which direction it was going in, it seemed to be a mystery.      When I finally started connecting the dots, I was amazed at how deftly the author had weaved together so many different characters and their own goals and failures. When I started the book I felt like so many things were going to happen, and when I got the subtle hints that maybe they weren't going to happen that way, I was pretty upset. But when I got there, I fell in love with the story and I knew the character's hearts. It is beautiful.       As for the way the book is set up in general: You need to be aware that at the start of every chapter there is anywhere from one paragraph to a page of italic text that tells a different story. The story does weave in, and the further you read the more it makes sense. You just need to wait it out, because when you get to the end, you will be glad you did. Also, many times when the chapter changes so does the point of view. Sometimes it can be hard to keep track of all the names (especially as several of them are similar), but if you are reading these books in series order it will be easy for you to handle.      Dragonwitch is the fifth book in a series called the Tales of Goldstone Wood. The previous books are (and in order): Heartless, Veiled Rose, Moonblood, Starflower. I haven't read those yet, I was introduced to Dragonwitch first. If you would rather read these in order, I applaud you. It would be much harder to just pop in. You have to take a lot of time to understand the mere basics of the reality Ms. Anne has just dropped you in.       I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 
The_Cynical_Idealist More than 1 year ago
Dragonwitch is #5 in the Tales of Goldstone Wood series. I was very excited to receive my copy of this latest installment, and it did not disappoint! Like the other tales, Dragonwitch is an example of fine Christian fantasy directed at young adults but highly enjoyable for adults as well. Several plotlines are interwoven through the book, involving a dwarf with a secret of such import it could lead to war if it is made known; a goblin invasion; a young woman who rebels against her arranged marriage and role in society and also learns to read and write, all in secret; another young woman masquerading as a boy in order to save a captured legendary figure; and two immortals whose lives have been intertwined for untold numbers of years and whose fates, as intertwined as their lives, are at last upon them. Dragonwitch is the story of how the lives--and deaths--of all of these characters intersect. Many of the characters in this Tale will be familiar to readers of Stengl's previous novels--Eanrin, immortal Knight of the Farthest Shore, Poet and Bard of Rudiobus, and a favorite among readers; Imraldera, female Knight of the Farthest Shore and keeper of the records at the Haven in the Wood Between; and the sinister, murderous Dragonwitch, who has been deified by a local population and has only one life left out of her original three, which she is now using to seek the sword that took her first two lives--along with its immortal wielder. There are also new characters to be met in Dragonwitch. Among them are Lord Alistair, who is intended to take his uncle Ferox's place as earl upon Ferox's death and to unite the North Country into a kingdom under his leadership; Lady Leta, whose demure facade hides a rich inner life; the Chronicler, keeper of records in the library at Gaheris Castle; Mouse, a young peasant boy brought into the castle by Alistair but who is not all that he seems; and Etanun, one of the legendary Brothers Ashuin, a Knight of the Farthest Shore who is believed to have betrayed his king, the Lumil Eliasul, and murdered his brother. One of the themes of the book is "Not everything is as it seems" or possibly "Don't assume." Some characters turn out to be different people than the reader thinks in many ways. Additionally, as the backstory of Hri Sora and the unexpected-but-interesting philosophizing of Corgar about true beauty prove, villains are not completely evil just as the heroes are not completely good; every character's actions are the result of something that happened to them and influenced them in either a positive or negative way. People behave the way they do for a reason. My only qualm with Dragonwitch after a first reading is that because there are so many characters and storylines interwoven together to form the plot, the new characters didn't seem quite as developed as the ones we've already met. However, it seems likely that these characters will recur as the series progresses, and perhaps we will be able to delve more deeply into them in future books. All together Dragonwitch is a great read, one that undoubtedly I will pick up again and again. I highly recommend it.
WishEnd More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars This started pretty slow for me. I liked the story all right, but it wasn't extremely engaging. Some of this had to do with main characters who weren't portrayed as being very strong and seemed to be at the whim of others. I also didn't know if I liked Leta and Alistair together or Leta with someone else. Then there are a couple of different points of view and different story lines, so you have to keep all of those straight. However, I could feel the story building and all the pieces being moved in their proper places as the story progressed. Then a little over a third of the way through the story picked up for me. This is where "The Cat" shows up and several things occur that spur the story on. The banter between the characters becomes rather enjoyable and is fairly humorous in parts as well. The characters begin to understand a little more what is going on, what role they will each play, and change into stronger characters as they face what is ahead of them. I really liked the fantasy world that Stengl created, probably due to the fact that there is a good balance of good and evil. The fairies aren't all vindictive, evil, and dark. I also like the way Goldstone Wood is portrayed throughout the series and in Dragonwitch as well. It is a little bit of a mystery and is alive in its own way. The ending was somewhat surprising. I didn't realize all the different characters that would be involved and how things would work out. Everyone doesn't make it out unscathed. It was a bittersweet, but good ending regardless. If you enjoy reading Christian Fantasy or Fantasy in general, then I think you would enjoy this. Content: Clean Source: Copy from tour host, which did not affect my review in any way. A few excerpts I liked: …The cat addressed this last to Mouse, who nodded. The Cat turned to Alistair again. “Caught up now, are we?” Alistair stared. “Why does my shoulder hurt?” “You were stabbed by Corgar, warlord of Vartera’s horde. You’re lucky you didn’t lose your head.” “What’s a Corgar?” “A goblin.” “As in slavering jaws, gaping eyes, stone hides?” “The same.” “They don’t exist.” “Neither do talking cats.” Mouse looked from the cat to Alistair, then, eyes huge with desperation, said, “Please, what are you telling him?” “Nothing,” the cat said, tucking his tail closer to his paws. “What did you think I was telling him?” “You won’t . . .” She glanced at the young lord again. “You won’t tell him my secret, will you?” “What secret?” “That I’m . . . that I’m not what I seem.” The cat’s ears went back. He turned to Alistair. This time when he spoke, Alistair understood him but the girl did not. “You do realize, don’t you, that she’s a girl?” he said. “Of course I do.” Alistair glared. “Do I look stupid?” “Would you like me to answer that?” “What did he say?” Mouse demanded. “What did you tell him?” The cat shrugged and allowed her to understand his words. “I made certain your secret is as safe as it ever was.” “What?” Alistair said. “Why are we rescuing him? What about my mother? What about all the other folk of Gaheris?” The cat gave him a flat-eared glare. “Sometimes I believe I spend my whole life giving explanations to humans. . .”
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stengl has NO LIMIT to her creativity. It is no surprise that she won the Christy Award for Debut Novel in 2011 for Heartless (first book in the Tales of Goldstone Wood series) and the 2012 Christy award for Visionary Novel for Veiled Rose (second in the series). Dragonwitch is a compelling read. I found myself disappointed when it was time to head somewhere or start cooking dinner as it forced me to delay finishing the story. Because of its fantasy content, it is not a “light read” but it is an excellent, thought provoking story of the journey of a set of unlikely friends. Leta is the meek, obedient daughter of a king set to marry Lord Alistar, nephew and future heir of the King of Gaheris. The Chronicler, whose job it is to journal the events of the day, recent past, and recopy any older ledgers which have become too faded to read, becomes friends with Leta while she is in the castle getting to know Lord Alistar (as it was an arranged marriage). Mouse….is MOUSE, an obedient servant at the Citadel of the Living Flame and her goddess. Mouse takes on a challenge out of awe and reverence for the Silent Lady and is most certainly my favorite character in the book. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Stengl's creative use of phrases growled in anger or whispered in fear.... "Dragon blasted", "Fire burn, fire purify" and "Lights Above". They are unexpected and yet perfectly placed during crises.The quote from USA Today calls the Tales of Goldstone Wood series a “series to stretch your imagination over several long winter nights.” And that is DEAD ON! I plan on picking up Heartless, Veiled Rose and Moonblood as this series is one my children will enjoy – regardless of gender!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of DRAGONWITCH by Anne Elisabeth Stengl from Bethany House. It is the fifth book in the Tales of Goldstone Wood series. Anne Elisabeth Stengl is the “Acclaimed Winner of the 2012 Christy Award for Visionary Fiction,” as proclaimed by the front cover of the book. I have read the other books in the Tales of Goldstone Wood and enjoyed this one just as much. (I was thrilled to see this one available just because of how much I loved the others) Think romance and fantasy mingling for a page-turning adventure. The danger kept me seeking the next chapter to find out what happened next. I especially enjoyed being able to return to Stengl’s world. It was like visiting a beloved vacation spot. Fantasy novels are my passion. Most of the book cases in my cellar are taken up by that genre. Most of the time, I seek fantasy as an escape from reality, and DRAGONWITCH is perfect. Some fantasies become crass or overly violent – DRAGONWITCH is light-hearted while still being exciting. Although it is for adults, I wouldn’t fear allowing a young adult to read it. Normally, the books I read that are published by Bethany House involve historical fiction or Christian fiction. It is refreshing to read one about fantasy.
j2starshine More than 1 year ago
It is the story of Alistair, an earl looking to inherit his uncle's land and become king of the north country. And it is also Lady Leta's story. She has been betrothed to Alistair and struggles with what is considered practical and what she truly desires. And of the Chronicler and his dangerous secret. And then there is Sir Eanrin and Imraldera. As this book is set about 100 years from the end of Starflower, so in a way it is the continuation of their story as well as the Dragonwitch's, but we still don't know how Monster/Sir Eanrin loses his eyes as those of you who have read Heartless will know that the cat in Heartless does not have his eyes.   At the start of the novel, we have three different threads that weave together to influence the story and we are not quite sure how they are all going to come together. The first thread of influence is the Legend of Two Brothers, a tale that differs from what the near world and even some of the far world believes about the two famous brothers. Second thread is a paragraph or so written in italics at the beginning of each chapter, giving us a first person account of another time and place. Third is the story itself weaving the storylines of Eanrin/Imraldera, Lady Leta, Alistair, The Chronicler, The Scrubber, Mouse and the goblins all together into one grand adventure.  As the main story of Dragonwitch slowly unfolds, we get to learn about the characters, their predicaments, their desires, weaknesses, and nightmares. I loved how the story kept us guessing as who was the "bad guy". I love being able to gather the clues and make guess guesses about the plot or characters, whether I'm right or proven wrong in the end. And even better when it has such a beautiful ending to wrap it all up nicely. It is a book to be read again and again. With each book, Ms. Stengl continues to weave a deeper, richer story as we explore the worlds of faerie and mortal alike. I cannot wait for Shadow Hand and all the other Tales of Goldstone Wood novels to come.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago