Another delightful saga in Ms. Briggs' fantasy world of the Five Kingdoms, DRAGON BLOOD is an intense read strengthened by endearing characters and a sense of humor bubbling just below the surface.
Four years after Wardwick Hurog killed the family ghost and it turned into a guardian dragon, Ward is still trying to master his land magic and rebuild his keep before it's again attacked by the High King's magic. The High King currently ignores Ward and Hurog Keep, in the heart of Shavig, northernmost of the Five Kingdoms, but he won't wait forever.
When the warrior princess Tisala escapes the High King's torturers and runs to Hurog for sanctuary, Ward reenters the courtly intrigue arena. If the High King can safely brutalize his noble subjects, he reasons, maybe it's time someone else was put on the throne. But the High King has a secret weapon that can overwhelm even the most powerful magic—and it needs Ward's blood as a power source.
(Jan., 288 pp., $6.99)