Carole Wilkinson is an award-winning and much loved author of books for children. She has a long-standing fascination with dragons and is interested in the history of everything. Though Carole has written over 30 books, she did not write her first book until she was nearly 40. Before that she had worked as a laboratory assistant and as a film and television writer and editor.
Dragonkeeper is the story of an 11-year-old slave girl, Ping, who saves the life of the last Imperial Dragon and unwittingly and unwillingly sets off on a quest with the dragon and her beloved pet rat to reach Ocean, a place of sanctuary and healing that Ping isn’t even sure exists. Along the way, the trio battle a vile dragon hunter, a shape-changing necromancer and other foes who sometimes come in the guise of friends. Ping gradually comes to terms with the fact that, far from being a mere slave girl barely worthy of a name, she is in fact a powerful Dragonkeeper. Dragonkeeper is an ambitious novel, marrying ancient Chinese history and (almost certainly re-imagined, if well-researched) culture with magic and fantasy. Mostly, Wilkinson achieves what she is aiming for; my main reservation is that at some of the novel’s most dramatic moments, the writing remains prosaic and explicatory, when it needs to be dramatically engaging. Nevertheless, Wilkinson succeeds in making us care for the fate of Ping and her wounded and weakened dragon, and the sights, smells and tastes of this fantastic ancient China are fully realised. The ending promises a sequel. For dedicated readers aged 10–14 years. Judith Ridge is on the editorial staff of NSW’s The School Magazine, and is the owner of misrule.com.au, a website dedicated to Australian children’s literature. C. 2003 Thorpe-Bowker and contributors
A story that informs as it delights and leaves the reader with a
yearning to know more. * Children's Book Council of Australia *
In Dragonkeeper, Carole Wilkinson transports the reader to a richly evoked ancient China during the Han Dynasty... in an absorbing, textured, adventure story. * Australian Book Review *
A wonderfully fashioned tale of a young slave girl and an ageing dragon. An enchanting blend of fantasy and history. -- Pia Butcher * The Age *