To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, July 2004: Simon is a loner, a boarding student at a special school for boys in New England. He knows nothing about his parents. Then his father appears, and his father turns out to be part of a long line of dragon hunters, the last knight on earth: his name is Aldric St. George. He tells Simon about dragons, about how the old dragons have learned to disguise themselves among humans. But they still sow evil, destruction, wars and storms; they wish to destroy all humans. Aldric is fierce; not exactly the loving, understanding father Simon would have wanted to have. One of the main themes of this adventure is the father-son storyhow Simon and Aldric learn to understand and respect each other. The story is too complicated to summarize. You should just know that Aldric and Simon, their animal companions, and a woman magician Alaythia confront one ghastly dragon in NYC, and thinking they had destroyed him, they move on to Venice, Paris, Russia, and China; but the final battle takes place in London, when all the dragons gather to plot the final destruction of the world. Fortunately, the bravery, intelligence and strength of the three dragon huntersAldric, his son Simon, and the lovely Alaythiawin the day in this action-packed struggle against evil. KLIATT Codes: JRecommended for junior high school students. 2004, HarperCollins, 364p., Ages 12 to 15.
Simon St. George can't remember anything before he came to live at boarding school. He doesn't know anything about his parents; he doesn't even know whether they are alive or dead. Then one day two men turn up claiming to be Simon's father. One, who drives a white Rolls Royce, carries a distinct aura of evil. The other, too scruffy and dirty to be anyone's idea of a father, turns out to be Aldric St. George, the last trained dragon fighter on earth. He wants to bring his son into the family business so that together they can try to destroy the last remaining, vicious dragon who poses as an art dealer with a white Rolls. Then the St. Georges discover that he isn't the last dragon after all. Dragons from Russia, Paris, Venice, Beijing, London and elsewhere are planning to take over the earth. Father and son travel around the world in a magical ship hunting down the threatening dragons. In this action-packed novel, the St. Georges face many seemingly insurmountable obstacles and it appears that the dragons must win their power battle. Can they be stopped? Mr. Hightman has written, produced, and directed films, winning some prestigious awards. He spends much of his time in California where, he says, there are many dragons. Readers of this book may enjoy learning more dragon lore from John Hamilton's book, Dragons, published by Abdo Publishing Company. That book provides background and insights accented by wonderful historical and contemporary art illustrations. 2004, Eos/Harper Collins Publishers, Ages 10 to 18.
Janet Crane Barley
Gr 5-8-Simon St. George attends an elite boarding school and hasn't seen or heard from his parents in 11 years. Then one October day, a greasy-haired, ragged, and dirt-ridden man shows up on campus claiming to be his father. Before 24 hours pass, Simon finds himself abducted by this odd stranger and about to be initiated into the family business-dragon-hunting. The man explains that "the Dragon is the source of all that is rotten in the world," and that since the time of the legendary St. George of England, his descendants have been dragon-hunters. Now 13-year-old Simon is needed to join the fight. What ensues is a long series of sword-and-sorcery adventures heavy on action and light on plot-much like a video game, comic strip, or feature-length cartoon written in short sentences and simple language but without the pictures. The setting is contemporary and decidedly dark. Dragons and humans alike, with the exception of Simon, have all the subtlety of cartoon characters. His father is not exactly a noble knight, showing as little tact and feeling in his dealings with friends and family as with his sworn enemies. The cover of this book is reminiscent of Christopher Paolini's Eragon (Knopf, 2003), but readers who expect the depth and complexity of contemporary popular high fantasy will be disappointed. Those who prefer the macabre outlook and less demanding style of Darren Shan's "Cirque du Freak" series (Little, Brown) might enjoy The Saint of Dragons.-Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Hightman's dragons are refreshingly evil, directly responsible for all the world's ills: wars, pollution, disasters, crime, corruption, even chronic depression. Having spent most of his 13 years at an exclusive boarding school, lonely, undersized Simon knows nothing of this, until his father, Aldric St. George, snatches him from school with the news that he is the last of an ancient order of Dragonhunters. It's his duty to exterminate the Pyrothraxes, the human-sized reptilian Dragonmen whose variable "magics" apparently function mostly to display unpleasant national stereotypes. Their nemeses aren't much better: Aldric is scruffy, surly, and disappointingly unpaternal; Simon is torn between resentment, fear, and despair at his shortcomings in the family trade. But there is little time for adolescent angst, as the Dragons unfold a terrifying plot for mass destruction. Like a novelization of some unfilmed summer blockbuster, the story piles on nonstop action, terrific set pieces, and lots of spectacular fiery explosions to distract readers from the clunky prose, wooden characters, and nonsensical, cliche-ridden plot. If they can stop to catch a breath, they'll probably just wait for the movie. (Fantasy. 12-15)