Think of yourself out of your comfy chair and your nice house with the roads and the streetlights outside—and the ceiling overhead low enough that a fifty-foot dragon can’t stand on her hind legs and not bump her head—and think yourself into a cavern full of dragons. Go on. Try.
Jake lives with his scientist father at the Makepeace Institute of Integrated Dragon Studies in Smokehill National Park. Smokehill is home to about two hundred of the few remaining Draco australiensis, which is extinct in the wild.
There are five million acres of the Smokehill wilderness and the dragons rarely show themselves. Jack’s never seen one except deep in the park and at a distance. They stay away from the Institute—and the tourists. But dragon conservation is controversial. Detractors say dragons are much too dangerous and much too expensive, and should be destroyed. Supporters say there is no record of their doing anything more threatening than eating sheep, there are only a few hundred of them left at best and they must be protected.
But they are up to eighty feet long (plus tail) and breathe fire.
On Jake’s first overnight solo in the park, he meets a dragon—the thing that he would have said he wanted above everything else in the world. But this dragon is dying—dying next to the human she has killed. Jake knowns this news could destroy Smokehill. The dead man is clearly a poacher who attacked first, but that will be lost in the outcry against dragons. But then Jake notices something even more urgent: the dragon has just given birth, and one of the babies is still alive…
About the Author
Robin McKinley has won various awards and citations for her writing, including the Newbery Medal for The Hero and the Crown and a Newbery Honor for The Blue Sword. Her other books include Sunshine; the New York Times bestseller Spindle's End; two novel-length retellings of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Beauty and Rose Daughter; and a retelling of the Robin Hood legend, The Outlaws of Sherwood. She lives with her husband, the English writer Peter Dickinson.
“A sharply incisive, wildly intelligent dragon fantasy involving profound layers of science and society, love and loss, and nature and nurture.” –Kirkus Reviews
“McKinley renders her imagined universe so potently that readers will wish they could book their next vacation in Smokehill.” –Publishers Weekly
“An exercise in fantasy subjected to the rigors of science, a close psychological portrait of human and alien minds, and a helluva good read.” –Locus
“McKinley offers a seamless, believable world, a self-deprecating narrator whose voice never hits a false note, and a poignant message.” –VOYA
“Robin McKinley has built an admirable career on taking familiar fairy-tale tropes, or long-loved stories, and skillfully combining the architecture of wonder with convincing, realistic detail so that the reader feels she can live inside the story. McKinley has never settled for doing the same thing over and over, but with each new book has experimented with voice, form, and tone, as well as character and plot…[Dragonhaven] is powerful, absorbing, and exquisitely rendered. McKinley makes those dragons real.” –SF Site
“Insightful about emotion, biology, language, and the intricate love/hate relationship between science and humanity. Quietly magnificent.” –Kirkus Reviews