Monday, September 10, 2007

Ciruelo 2008

Ciruelo's 2008 dragons calendar is available - take a look! The art is of uneven quality, but afew paintings are so breathtaking that one would have to be mad to miss out on them. Only Michael Whelan is a match for white dragons!

I seem to be on a dragons kick of late. Does anyone remember Patricia A. McKillip's Forgotten Beasts of Eld? The book appears to have become as forgotten as the magical beasts it celebrates; I have been blessed enough to know a medievalist who remembers it. These days you are only likely to find this book in the young adult section of the bookstore, though it may be a rare young adult who will enjoy it. But ah! what a book. I remember the dragon, Gyld: The great wings unfurled, black against the stars. The huge bulk lifted slowly, incredibly, away from the cold earth, through the wind-torn, whispering trees.

When the sorceress whom the dragon obeys consents to leave her mountain fastness for the sake of love, she and her beau try to figure out where to put the dragon. We can store it in the wine cellar, her beloved remarks cheerfully.

That poor, cramped behemoth with its wings tight around it, sleeping in the dark in the scent of wine.

Another book worth reading - this one more recent - Elizabeth Kerner's Song in the Silence, now a complete trilogy. I must warn you that to read Kerner's novel(s) you must be in the mood for a very starry-eyed romance, but the books are alive with a vibrant and desperate poetry, and a deep humanity. The dragons are truly both new and ancient to the reader, and desperately memorable. There is one scene in which Lanen, the woman who heroes her way dauntlessly through the novel, midwifes a dragon through a breach birth, though the heat of the dragon mother sears her arms almost to the bone. Kerner's imagination is both raw and elegant.

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