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Derek Hart

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Secret of the Dragon's Eye
by Derek Hart   

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Books by Derek Hart
· Minerva's Shield
· Secret of the Dragon's Breath
· Tales of the Yellow Silk
· A Favor for FDR
· Danger Cruise
                >> View all

Category: 

Fantasy

Publisher:  iUniverse ISBN-10:  059542967X Type: 
Pages: 

262

Copyright:  2/2/07
Fiction

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Secret of the Dragonís Eye is a tale of fantasy for all ages, with a high-spirited dragon named Thaddeus Osbert and three adolescents who befriend him. Faced with danger and intrigue, the children band together with the dragon, to thwart a German top-secret mission, aimed at seizing the mystical and magical sword of King ArthuróExcalibur. By combining their wits, their courage, and their imagination, the children overcome many obstacles to forge friendships as solid as time itself. Yet there is a price to pay for their brave intervention against the forces of evil. Will they be willing to once again battle incredible odds to make amends? What sacrifices will be required to save their mythical, fire-breathing friend from his pre-ordained fate?

Secret of the Dragon’s Eye recounts the adventures of Gavin Kane, Emily Scott, and Bunty Digby, twelve-year-olds who struggle with their daily lives in England during the autumn of 1940.  While relatively safe on the north Cornish coast, their world is still turned upside down by war, as the Germans bomb London and the surrounding industrial cities.  These friends must learn to cope with constant air-raid sirens, rationing, and the fear of impending invasion, while still going to school and trying to lead normal lives.

 

Secret of the Dragon’s Eye is also a tale of fantasy, with legends that come alive and a high-spirited dragon named Thaddeus Osbert, who is not your typical dragon in any sense of the word.  Faced with danger and intrigue, the children band together with the dragon, to thwart a German top-secret mission, aimed at seizing the mystical and magical sword of King Arthur – Excalibur.  By combining their wits, their courage, and their imagination, the children overcome many obstacles to forge friendships as solid as time itself.  Yet there is a price to pay for their brave intervention against the forces of evil.  Will they be willing to once again battle incredible odds to make amends?  What sacrifices will be required to save their mythical, fire-breathing friend from his pre-ordained fate?  Three adolescents must discover the answers to many difficult questions, all against the backdrop of World War Two. 


Professional Reviews

A Winner!
In the North Cornwall coastal town of Crackington Haven, twelve years old Gavin Kane enjoys his childhood playing make believe games with his best friend Emily Scott. However, Gavin knows his parents fear war is coming to England as the Nazis blitzkrieg their way across the continent. His dad knowing he will soon fight for his country shares time with his son; they read together a tale of about King Arthur and Thaddeus Osbert the dragon.

WW II hits home doubly so to Gavin as his father leaves to fight and he befriends a newcomer evacuee child Bunty who survived the Nazi bombing of Plymouth inside air raid shelters until he was transported to North Cornwall. The three children meet Thaddeus Osbert the dragon who begs them to provide him with sugar at a time rationing grips the country. When the Germans land a force near Crackington Haven seeking Excalibur, the three kids and their sweet-toothed dragon try to repel them and their flying ally.

SECRET OF THE DRAGON'S EYE is a superb WWII fantasy that hooks the audience in two ways. First the description early WWII England mostly through the eyes of Bunty makes for a vivid anchored historical. When Thaddeus enters their lives, the story line adds fantasy elements to it. Mindful of Naomi Novik's Temeraire saga, readers who appreciate something different in their war novels will enjoy fine historical fantasy.

Reviewed by Harriet Klausner
#1 Amazon.com Reviewer


Engaging & Timeless
ConNotations
The Bi-Monthly Science Fiction, Fantasy & Convention Newszine of the Central Arizona Speculative Fiction Society
Volume 17, Issue 6
December / January
2007 / 2008

Back cover blurb: ďSecret of the Dragonís Eye is a tale of fantasy for all ages, with a high-spirited dragon named Thaddeus Osbert and three adolescents who befriend him. Faced with danger and intrigue, the children band together with the dragon, to thwart a German top-secret mission, aimed at seizing the mystical and magical sword of King Arthur-Excalibur. By combining their wits, their courage, and their imagination, the children overcome many obstacles to forge friendships as solid as time itself. Yet there is a price to pay for their brave intervention against the forces of evil. Will they be willing to once again battle incredible odds to make amends? What sacrifices will be required to save their mythical, fire-breathing friend from his pre-ordained fate?Ē
Gavin and Emily are best friends living in near by villages in Cornish in 1940. The night before school starts, Gavinís father brings out an old family book, Kings and Dragons, and reads a few chapters to Gavin. Story time is short-lived though as Gavinís father joins the armed forces the next day and has to leave his family. Soon Gavin and Emily are joined by Bunty, orphaned by a German bombing and taken in by Gavinís mother. To this point, weíre dealing pretty much with straight historical fiction. And then the dragon, Thaddeus Osbert, shows up and the adventure begins.
I am a fan of both historical and young adult fiction and this novel fills both interests. Gavin, Emily and Bunty are engaging characters and Thaddeus is delightful. Read this to your kids, read this yourself. And then go out and buy book two when it comes out.

- Stephanie L Bannon


First book in a new fantasy series
Twelve-year-old Gavin Kane lives in Crackington Haven, a small seaside town in North Cornwall. He makes the most of the last gasp of childhood by playing letís pretend games with his best friend Emily Scott, but now the war has come to change everything. Before his father is called up he shares a book with him, a wonderful book all about King Arthur and a dragon called Thaddeus Osbert. But dragons are made up, arenít they? Surely there isnít really one living in Tintagel?
Reading this is a great way to learn a lot about what it was like to live during World War II. Itís all here in some considerable detail, including evacuee boy Bunty who witnesses the bombing of Plymouth, air raid shelters, gas masks, rationing, the Home Guard and more. It almost seems a shame to interrupt it with the fantasy, as there is so much here that is so much larger than life, and distant to how we live now. Letting the dragon appear sooner would have been a good plan, as when he does appear it causes a rift between the real world of bombings, people dying and feats of domestic heroism and the other one of talking dragons and magic swords. It certainly puts a new spin on war fiction, and if this is your sort of thing then you will be pleased that it is only book one in a series. This is an extremely difficult sort of novel to pull off, balancing the two extremes of wartime realism with rather cute fantasy but it works better than many other efforts.

Rachel Hyde
MyShelf.com


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