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Dragon’s Keep

Dragon’s Keep © 2007 by Janet Lee Carey

Far away on Wilde Island, Princess Rosalind is born with a dragon claw where her ring finger should be. To hide the secret, the Queen forces her to wear gloves at all times until a cure can be found, so Rosalind can fulfill the prophecy to restore the family to their rightful throne. But Rosalind’s flaw cannot be separated from her fate. When she is carried off by the dragon, everything she thought she knew falls apart. The dragon sees beauty in her talon where her mother saw only shame, and Rosalind finally understands what her mother has truly denied her. A stunning portrayal of the complex relationship between a mother and daughter in a lyrical novel sure to thrill readers who love fantasy—and those who don’t.

ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults

* Booklist starred review

* School Library Journal starred review


The Queen’s Knife Wilde Island AD 1145

Mother pulled out her knife. We were alone in her solar.

“It’s time,” she said. “Give me your hand.”

I drew back. “It’s not yet Sunday eve.”

“We’re together, Rosalind and the door’s well locked.”


“Tonight.” Then softening her voice she said, “Come, Rosie, take off your gloves.”

Her blade flashed in the firelight, which sent a russet glow across the room. She was ready for the ritual. I dreaded it.

“Take yours off first.”

Mother placed her knife on the table and bared her hands. Queen Gweneth’s fingers were finely tapered as candles, her skin milky as the moon. It was a shame for her to wear golden gloves, but she’d donned them at my birth to protect me, and worn them ever since.

“Now you, Rosie.”

I bit my lip as she removed my right glove. Pretty hand that never saw the sun with soft and creamy skin not unlike her own. Mother kissed it. Then taking my other hand in hers, she peeled away the left glove.

My throat tightened as we looked at my fourth finger. The horny flesh. Blue-green and scaly as a lizard’s hide. Claw of the beast with a black curving talon at the end. Read More

Read The Discussion Questions

See the Wilde Island map in MAPS AND GAMES


“In stunning, lyrical prose, Carey tells the story of Rosalind, a twelfth-century princess destined for greatness by a prophecy from Merlin. Read more

—Booklist starred review *

“A rich medieval fantasy, a splendid weaving of bright and dark threads, constant surprises and startling turns of events; of brutalities and beauties, terrors and triumphs. The spacious tale has, at its center, the enduring Princess Rosalind, whose golden glove hides a shocking secret and who finds herself caught up in the working out of Merlin’s ancient prophecy.
Janet Lee Carey not only creates a secondary world but one parallel to a specific historical era. So myth becomes history and history transformed into myth—a remarkable achievement.”

—Lloyd Alexander, Newbery Award winning Author

Nonstop action may keep readers glued to this page-turner, but strong writing and character development are what will make it linger in their memories long after they've finished it. Princess Rosalind Pendragon is meant to fulfill a 600-year-old prophecy from Merlin that she will restore her family's good name and end a war. Rosalind was born with one dragon talon, which is a fearful secret known only to the teen and her mother. Read more

—School Library Journal starred review *

“In addition to the writing, the fantastically multifaceted relationships among the main characters make this novel one that will easily hold readers attention.”


“Wonderfully imagined dragon lore and an elegant backstory connection to the Arthur Pendragon legend are woven with rich strands of mother/daughter, child/nursemaid, friend/companion resonance, and the dark-skinned, blue-eyed half-Muslim Kye is a worthy hero. ”


“Carey (Wenny Has Wings) has written a romantic fantasy steeped in the Arthurian tradition of knights, dragons and lost kingdoms. Read more

—Publishers Weekly

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