The Burning Sea by Paul Collins and Sean McMullen

cover image

The Warlock's Child bk 1. Ford Street, 2015. ISBN 9781925000924
(Ages 10-14) Fantasy. This is the first of new fantasy series written in collaboration by two well known writers who are adept at building a fantasy world where dragons and magic are commonplace. Students will recognise the cover art by Marc McBride from the Deltora Quest covers and accompanied books.
Lazily circling above an invasion fleet of Dravinian ships, Drvaud the dragon is aware of a hint of something dragon-like on board one of the ships. For Dantar life as a cabin boy is not easy, especially as the son of the Emperor's Battle Warlock, bought up in the royal palace. His older sister Velza is a very competent officer who is keen to prove herself in the male dominated world of the navy.
As the fleet draws closer to Savaria there appears to be someone prepared to sabotage the success of the invasion as Dantar overhears talk of traitors and a fire is lit in the oil store. When the fog bank that they had been sailing behind disperses, their element of surprise is lost. With their secret weapon, the Deathlight which employs mirrors and the sun's rays to set fire to the sails, the Savarians attack.
Survival seems impossible for Dantar, who cannot swim, as he is flung into the ocean but the timely arrival of Velza and a piece of drift wood, fill him with hope as he heads towards shore.
The scene is set for the next book in the six part series with more questions raised than answers given. This is a good example for getting readers to predict what will happen next, and with a short time frame between each book's release, there will be a ready audience for book two.
Sue Keane