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FANTASY BOOK REVIEW A Recommended Book of the Month Frying pans at the ready - Quenelda and Root are back! Stealth Dragon Services, the fourth vel in Lucinda Hare's Dragonsdome Chronicles opens with a handy glossary of 'who's who' - so you'll be up to speed if this book is your first of the series. If you're an avid fan - it'll all sound very familiar! Before you open the book, prepare yourself for moments of reunion that will make you want to cry; monsters that will make you want to hide; a dark magic so consuming it will make you want to turn to the dark side; and a good magic so good... it'll make you wish you could speak to dragons. This vel is still filled with Hare's classic humour (the frying pan is still the weapon of choice) which surely wins it the coveted place of 'bedtime story' for many children. Her portrayal of dragons is second to ne: she describes them with such David-Attenborough precision, that you can't help but wonder if they really do exist. Don't be fooled, though - SDS is the darkest book in the series to date. The Hobgoblins are the stuff of nightmares (three rows of teeth!) and the Lord Protector, quite literally, goes over the edge. It's these dark moments that make you wish for a film-adaptation, if only to give yourself chance to hide behind your popcorn. But what truly separates Hare's vels from other books is the deeper message they convey - and this continues with SDS. Hare offers us a world where the underdog can triumph, where you can be who you want to be, where girls can fly dragons, but also dress how they want. Quenelda is still very much a girl in a boys' world and this is what makes a story about old folklore so modern. We see Quenelda battle through, (literally, at times!) as she tries to deal with life as a young girl and her growing dragon magic. Once you've reached the last page, sit back and hope for a film adaptation and a line of frying pans as merchandise. This Stealth Dragon Services book review was written by Liz Wride
Lucinda was born in Edinburgh and spent her childhood in rural East Lothian, where she spent much of her time roaming the beaches and woods, watching deer, pheasants, geese and rabbits, and listening to the bark of the seals float down the Firth of Forth on the evening breeze. It was then that her lifelong passions for animals - from earwigs to elephants - history, reading and drawing began. She spent years daydreaming about the Roman legions, medieval knights and the American west. Rather than write about the dreams and stories in her head, she drew them purely from her imagination. She is hopeless at drawing anything real in front of her. When she was eleven she was introduced to The Lord of the Rings which combined her own passions for history, legend and fantasy. Still her favourite book, she was thrilled with Peter Jackson's recent Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. After reading history at university she went on to pursue a busy and diverse career in many different companies and organisations, ranging from the Argus Newspaper Group in Cape Town, to the Scottish Post Office, and Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt Universities. After marrying Paul in 1999, Lucinda was able to return to those childhood passions, and very soon their house in Lasswade filled up with ever more rescued animals (dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs and ex-battery hens), books, and pastel and watercolour drawings and illustrations covered in dirty paw marks - the cats do always like to help out! This led to Paul's suggestion that she should try putting pen to paper - or rather, given Lucinda's chaotic writing style, get a laptop and start writing. The result was a rapid explosion of ideas and the start of The Dragonsdome Chronicles. It should be no surprise, then, that the characters at the heart of Dragon Lords Rising and the earlier books in the series - apart from sorcerers, gnomes and dwarfs - are in fact dragons; dragons with their own language and character, from the teasing Chasing the Stars to those with serious attitude like the battledragon Two Gulps & You're Gone. The dragons owe the inspiration for their names to Native American culture, and their characters draw on some of the family pets.