Title: The Dragon of Trelian
Author: Michelle Knudsen
Published: May, 2009
A princess and her sisters, a mage and his apprentice, a wedding, a death plot, a dragon and a horrific creature called a slaarh are all intricately woven into this magical tale expertly told by Michelle Knudsen, author of the New York Times best-selling picture book Library Lion. This is her first novel, and it is a captivating one.
First, we meet Calen who is the apprentice to Mage Serek. He suffers Serek’s scorn and sarcasm because he longs to convince his master, and himself, that he is indeed worthy of becoming a true Mage himself.
Calen is tardy returning from an errand when he meets Meg, one of the King of Trelian’s daughters. A beautiful princess, she longs to be treated as a person, and the two become fast friends.
Meg realizes that she can trust Calen with a very special secret: she has met a baby dragon, hidden him in a cave, and they have begun to link, which is to say they have an inseparable understanding and attachment to one another. The story of Meg, and her dragon, Jakl, is one of my favorite parts of this story.
“It was incredible. For a moment Meg immersed herself in the wonder of what she was feeling. Jakl’s energy pulsed through her veins until she imagined she must be glowing with the sheer force of it. She felt his joy in flight, in speed, the pleasure of stretching his wings and the warm fire that was building within him. Above all she could feel his abundant love for her and his gratefulness that she was finally linked with him completely-the way she was supposed to be. That shamed her; she hoped he could sense in return how sorry she was to have kept him at arm’s length for so long.” (p. 250-251)
Unfortunately, she cannot keep him secretly hidden away forever. Nor, can she and Calen continue their friendship without danger. While hiding in a tower to watch the tourney, Meg and Calen overhear a private conversation between Wilhem and his mother, Sen Eva. They are planning the murder of Meg’s sister who is betrothed to Prince Ryant for whom Wilem is the trusted senior advisor. When Meg hears this plot, she is so overcome she gasps aloud, and is discovered by Sen Eva. From there the story catapults into a fast paced adventure of magic spells and escapes, of dragon rides and lies, as Meg and Calen work together with Jakl, to protect Meg’s beloved sister from betrayal and death.
With magic and a dragon, friendship and her family, Meg leaves childhood behind and steps into the recognition that she has the power to choose for herself as a maturing young woman.
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