cover image The Land of Gold

The Land of Gold

Gillian Bradshaw. Greenwillow Books, $14 (154pp) ISBN 978-0-688-10576-1

In this action-filled sequel to The Dragon and the Thief , Bradshaw conjures up a world of treachery, politics and hasty war where goodness, bravery and quick wits eventually triumph. The novel opens dramatically, with Princess Kandaki of Nubia hearing the terrifying screams of her parents as they are slain by traitorous guards. Next in line to die, Kandaki is lashed to a rock, a sacrifice to the ever-hungry and widely feared water dragon of Derr. Her parents' murderer, meanwhile, sets himself up as king and spreads falsehoods about the deposed royals. Kandaki is rescued by Prahotep and Baki (heroes of the previous novel) as they travel upstream in search of fellow dragons for their own dragon, Hathor. An unlikely friendship ensues, and the foursome sets out to restore Kandaki to her rightful throne and to quash the villainous uprising. After a slightly shaky beginning, plot and characters gain momentum, making this an exciting tale of magic and adventure. Clear language creates vivid, immediate scenes, and Bradshaw successfully combines an aura of myth and fairy tale with a decidedly modern, spunky heroine and a few universal truths. Ages 10-up. (Oct.)