The Captive Dragon is a fantasy novel that tells the story of a band of small and powerless individuals who, lead by a young princess, combat the evil forces that threaten to destroy their country. The story is set in the Kingdom of Allendril and its neighboring kingdoms of Illondra and Sholgoth. Allendril and Illondra are in a tense alliance against the stronger, war-mongering nation of Sholgoth. There are two main characters in the book, the princess Amandra, and the aging wizard Azrahed. |
Amandra is still a child, but is rapidly becoming a young woman. I see her as embodying goodness, innocence, nobility, kindness, joy, and -- at times - the foolishness and impetuosity of inexperienced youth. In Amandra, I hoped to create a character that was sympathetic, and yet believable. She is open to learning, and changes a great deal as she confronts and struggles with the problems that are engulfing her world. One of the things she learns is that no one will act for her; if she hopes to prevent evil from happening, she has to take action against it herself, which she does. Amandra has inherited magical powers from her deceased mother, powers which are just beginning to make themselves felt as the novel opens. She has to learn how to control these powers and to use them for good purposes, and to resist the impulse to use them rashly. She is guided in this by the wise and kindly dragon, Abbey. Princess Amandra strives to free Abbey -- who is held captive in the dungeon of her father's castle - from the clutches of the corrupt Captain Mordreer and his evil magician, Grovalde, who are using Abbey as a weapon in their bid to overthrow the government of Allendril. At the same time, Amandra is doing all she can to prevent a terrible war from breaking out between her Kingdom of Allendril and its ally, Illondra.
On her twelfth birthday, Amandra receives from her father, King Feldrick, a magical ring that had once belonged to her mother. She soon discovers that when she wears the ring in the presence of the dragon Abbey, she has magical powers that enable her to communicate and form a bond of friendship with Abbey. She is surprised to find that Abbey is more intelligent, moral, and civilized than most of the people she knows. Abbey, in her wisdom, senses that Amandra has rare qualities that promise to make her a fine leader of her people, someday, if she cultivates them. With guidance from Abbey and also from the princess's loyal tutor, the dwarf Glim, Amandra learns to use her powers to combat the stronger magical forces wielded by the evil magician, Grovalde, while resisting the temptation to use them to destroy the mage. Amandra is aided in her struggles by the dwarf Glim; Denn, the baker's son who is naïve but fearless; Kell, a timid servant girl who was abandoned by her family; the sisters Frydda, Martela and Genevra, who are Grovalde’s slaves; Prene and Priss, a pair of small, psychic faun-like creatures known as Geblings; and the Vizzies, a friendly race of elves.
The point I was seeking to make in the telling of this tale is that at times it is possible for the weakest and least powerful of individuals to resist vastly larger and more powerful evil entities, and that what makes this possible are the powers of goodness of heart, trueness of spirit, and nobility of purpose, as well as courage and faith. Amandra learns this truth from both Abbey and Glim, and applies it in her fight against Grovalde and Mordreer.
As a secondary theme, the book follows the adventures of the aging and world-weary Wizard Azrahed as he undertakes a long and dangerous journey in service to King Feldrick. While Amandra embodies youth and innocence, Azrahed represents age and experience. Old, in poor health, and a bit cynical but still motivated by the highest of ethical standards, Azrahed would prefer to retire to a quiet life far away from the political events of the day, but circumstances won't allow him to do this. He reluctantly agrees to go on an intelligence mission to find out if Allendril is indeed under threat of attack from its ally Illondra (as Mordreer claims). On his perilous journey, hunted by Mordreer's scouts, he has prophetic visions of a dark future for Allendril, and although he feels his mission is doomed, he presses on, feeling obligated by duty. Along the way, he is helped out of some tight spots by the widow Stell, a new convert to the grassroots resistance movement that is developing in Allendril. Azrahed is surprised to find new meaning in his life as his friendship with Stell gradually grows into a mature love.
What I was attempting to do with Azrahed's character is to present a figure that complements and balances with that of Amandra. He is wise, experienced, learned, but he has lost all of the joy and spontaneity of life that he had as a youth. Forced during his journey to constantly stay one step ahead of the pursuing soldiers and to be continually adapting to new situations and surroundings, he finds again some of the flexibility and vigor that he thought was lost forever. And he comes to realize that he has needlessly shut himself off from emotional closeness with others. Stell gets him to open up and feel again, for which he is grateful.
The Captive Dragon is the first book of a projected trilogy.