________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 11 . . . . January 23, 2009

cover Firestorm of Dragons.

Michele Acker & Kirk Dougal, eds.
Calgary, AB: Dragon Moon Press/Hades, 2008.
217 pp., pbk., $19.95.
ISBN 978-1-896944-80-7.

Grades 8 and up / Ages 13 and up.

Review by Ronald Hore.

*** /4

excerpt:

St. George, though, was smart, and it didn't take him long to figure things out, so he tried a different approach. He cornered me in Ethiopia — the Faerie Ethiopia, that is. What a great gig. They really respected dragons there. Just show up at the gates and they'd toss out the livestock. Better than take-out Chinese. Anyway, St. George bound me with the Power of God and his own personal will. He took everything from me — my size, my flight, my power, my fire — and gave me only one way to return to my former glory. I've got to earn back my former powers through constant faith and good deeds. And you can imagine how hard that was in the land of Faerie. Throughout history, dragons were The Enemy. Who was going to believe one had changed? Few wanted my help; the ignorant wanted to kill me, or try to, anyway. Used to be an annoyance; after George, it was downright hazardous to my health. It took fifty years just to find a priest willing to listen to my confession. Eight hundred years of trying, and I'd gotten back a third of my height, less than that of strength, some of my wisdom, and let's not talk about my puny healing abilities. At least I could smell properly again. Handy skill.

A collection of 15 short stories, all involving dragons in some form or other, this anthology should appeal to fantasy readers who are fond of the big beasts. Varying in length from eight to 18 pages, with an average length of just under 14, the stories should be able to hold the interest of even the reader with a short attention span. The points of view vary from the innocent to the hunter to that of the dragon.

     In "Dragonscaling!" we are introduced to a textbook covering a very dangerous sport. The "Dragonkeeper" takes place in China and covers off what might happen when you take a dragon's egg. The third story, "Lessons" is a morality piece, with a slight difference. "The Druid's Dragon," the next tale, involves a conversation between a would-be Druid and a large dragon. In the fifth piece, we meet a different kind of dragon in the aptly named, "Dragon Eye, P. I."

     The variety of stories is shown in "Poison Bird," which is an unusual take on a boy and the girl next door. Tale number seven, "A Reptile at the Reunion," leads the reader into a fantasy world that just touches on our own and a school reunion. The eighth adventure opens in a butcher shop that sells prime, grade-A unicorn. Aptly titled "Dragon's Blood," it describes what happens when market prices drop. "No Time For Dragons!" describes what takes place when a persistent dragon, promoting religious tracts, calls on a witch. The tenth tale, in a more Arabian Nights setting, "For Your Eyes Only," is a love story in which the lovers cross paths with a dragon.

     The next story in the collection, "Shattered Dreams," starts out with a picnic, but the couple involved have a meeting with a pest who is slightly more of a nuisance than a few ants. "A Darkness of Spirit" is the twelfth in the collection. It relates the story of a warlike man whose internal conflicts are compounded by a dragon seeking peace. "Dragon Fruit" deals with the decisions the Dragon Lord must make when he chooses virgins for sacrifice. The fourteenth, "A Dragon's Dawn," tells us of an individual who, as the last of her kind, is tired of living, at least in her current form. The final story, "Inside the Cavern," covers the actions of a group of refugees as danger approaches.

     At 217 pages, and with a wide variety of stories, some humourous, some sad, this volume should appeal to lovers of the genre or casual readers looking for something different. The book also includes four pages of additional titles put out by this publisher.

Recommended.

Ronald Hore, involved with writer's groups and writer's workshops for several years, retired from the business world in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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