Review Blog

Jun 21 2012

Blood brothers by Carole Wilkinson

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Dragonkeeper series. Book four. Black Dog Books, 2012. ISBN 978 1 742031 89 7.
(Ages: 9+) Highly recommended. Fantasy. Tao, a novice in a remote Buddhist Temple, believes he's living according to the precepts of the Buddha. Then Kai comes into his life and makes life far more difficult. Kai is a youngster for a dragon but he has seen many years, 465 to be exact.
Tao is sent by his Abbot to the town of Luoyang, the place of his birth and his ancestral home, to beg for alms. However Luoyang has been decimated by war and little is left standing and the remaining population have nothing left to give. The Han army is camped outside the town and barbarian raiders are on the move and it is not a safe time to travel. During one of the battles Kai and Tao meet Pema, a young girl who has survived by her wits and nerve since her family was killed. She proves to be a great problem for Tao who tries desperately to hold on to his vows as a novice monk.
Tao has the attributes of a dragonkeeper and Kai believes he and Tao are destined to be together. Tao of course cannot be a dragonkeeper and becomes a monk. For Tao this is vital because he needs to gain merit to ensure his twin brother Wei gains karma for his next life.
Carol Wilkinson again weaves an engrossing story with the nomad raiders proving moments of great danger and suspense for all the main characters. The relationship between Tao and Kai and Tao and Pema is intriguing and begs the question how will they be resolved? For those familiar with the Dragonkeeper series, the character of dragons, their foibles, tingling, gonging speech, precocious nature and weaknesses will be nothing new, yet Wilkinson's dragons are always endearing and annoying in almost equal measure. Her narrative has plenty of twists and turns and gives an insight into a refreshingly different fantasy world.
Mark Knight

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