Janet Lee Carey In the Time of Dragon Moon

ISBN 13: 9780142425749

In the Time of Dragon Moon

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9780142425749: In the Time of Dragon Moon
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Fans of Red QueenSeraphina, and A Court of Thorns and Roses will love this epic fantasy about dragons, dark secrets, and magic.

On the southernmost tip of Wilde Island--far from the Dragonswood sanctuary and the Pendragon Castle--live the native Euit people. Uma, who is half Euit and half English, and not fully accepted by her tribe, wants to become a healer like her Euit father. But the mad English queen in the north, desperate for another child, kidnaps Uma and her father and demands that he cure her barrenness. After her father dies, Uma must ensure that the queen is with child by the time of the Dragon Moon, or be burned at the stake. Terrified and alone, Uma reaches out to her only possible ally: the king's nephew Jackrun, a fiery dragonrider with dragon, fairy, and human blood. Together, they must navigate through a sea of untold secrets, unveil a dark plot spawned long ago in Dragonswood, and find a way to accept all the elements--Euit, English, dragon, and fairy--that make them who they are.

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About the Author:

Janet Lee Carey was born in New York and grew up in California. She is the award-winning author of several young adult novels, most notably her epic fantasy novels set on Wilde Island--Dragon's Keep, Dragonswood, and the upcoming In the Time of Dragon Moon. Janet lives near Seattle with her family where she writes and teaches writing workshops.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

CHAPTER ONE
Euit Village, Devil’s Boot on Wilde Island — Falcon Moon, April 1210
 

Knife in hand, I crouched under the willow. Father’s dragon skimmed over the river, her crimson scales blazed blood red across the surface. Her searing cry rang through the valley. Dragons live more than a thousand years; their turning eye sockets allow them to look forward and back, seeing past and future, patterns in time we humans can never see. My eyes were fixed on smaller things. 

Today he will tell me. Today I will know.  

I took my knife to the ends of my hair. Crow-black strands in my hand, red-toned where the morning sun struck them. The auburn from my English mother was nearly swallowed by the black, but I could not hide what I was: a girl, a half English. Under the willow, I covered the strands with soil. I’d buried much in this secret place. 

Tying back what remained, I went to wash Father’s medicine pots in the river. 

“Uma!” Ashune raced down the muddy riverbank, her baby screaming in her arms. “Help him please!” 

I scrambled ashore, dripping. “What’s happened?”

“A bee stung him. And he . . . look!” She pulled back Melo’s blanket. His waving arm was red and swollen as a rotting plum. I gripped his tiny wrist. He wailed as I pulled the stinger out.

“Was he stung in other places?”

“No, just here.” Her eyes were wide. “Why is it so swollen?” 

I heard a wheezing sound between cries. His throat was swelling shut. “It’s a bad reaction.” 

Ashune hugged him to her chest. “He needs medicine, Uma.”

My father, the Adan, was the only healer in our village. He’d gone to Council Rock to speak to the elders on my behalf. I didn’t expect him back for hours. 

Melo coughed, shuddered. 

“Help him, Uma. Please!” 

“I can’t. Only the Adan can—”

“You’re the Adan’s apprentice,” she cried. “Look at him. He can hardly breathe!” 

“Wait here.” I raced uphill to the healer’s hut and ran my hand along the shelves. This could cost me my apprenticeship. But how could I let Melo suffocate? All Father’s hard work bringing Melo into the world would be in vain if he died, and Father was away just now because of me. 

I grabbed the elixir I’d seen Father use and a jar of sooth-salve. 

Little Melo was turning blue by the time I reached him again. 

“Hold his mouth open, Ashune.” Holy Ones, help me help him. Our law was clear. No one but the Adan could heal the sick, but still I spilled three green drops on Melo’s tongue. So the law is broken in drops, I thought. 

“Swallow it, little one, swallow.” Breathe. The world grew silent as I listened to his ragged sounds between each cry. I could not hear the wind in the branches, the rushing river; only Melo struggling for air. 

“It’s not working,” Ashune cried.

“Pray,” I said. I dosed him again, gently ran my fingers along his throat to help him swallow. 

Melo was conceived thanks to Father’s magnificent fertility cure. Breathe. Our small Euit tribe needed every child. Live. 

Melo squirmed, sucked in air, and shuddered all over. He kicked in his blanket. Was the soft brown color coming back to his face? I gripped the elixir jar tight, watching him. He took a few more breaths that didn’t sound thick or strained. And with his breathing, other sounds returned—the breeze in the willows, the singing river.

“Holy Ones, you did it.” Ashune wept with joy, rocking her boy between us. She was a year older than me, eighteen when she bore Melo. It wasn’t an easy labor. 

I wanted to hold him too: weep and rest my cheek against his downy head, but I had never seen my father do such a thing when he cured the sick. A healer kept his dignity. And his distance.

I rubbed the sooth-salve on Melo’s swollen arm, scooped out more of the ointment, and wrapped it in a leaf. “Rub this twice more on him today. Hide it in between.” 

Ashune took the leaf. 

“Tell no one you came to me,” I said.

“I won’t tell.” 

She looked at me, silent a moment. The word Euit means “family.” Our chieftain said we were one family. We all belonged. It wasn’t that simple for me. Ashune’s mother caught us playing by the river together when I was six, she seven, and told her to keep away from the half English. I looked more like Father than Mother, with his skin, high cheekbones, and dark eyes, but that did not count for much back then. I knew I didn’t belong. Not long after that, I buried my girl’s clothes under the willow, left my mother’s side, and went to serve my father the Adan to become a person of value in the tribe. 

Ashune rocked Melo. “Thank you, Uma.” Since the day her mother dragged her off, things had been awkward between us. 

“I have washing to do,” I said, glancing down at the pots. She hesitated, but I waved her on. “Go. Melo should sleep.” 

Ashune’s colorful woven skirts brushed past clumps of wild iris as she climbed back up the riverbank. Melo made a contented cooing sound. He was one of just five infants born to us after nine years of emptiness and waiting. No one knew why our women had stopped having children. Had some plague infected us? Had something entered our food or water? We still didn’t know, but after years of seeking, my father found the plants he needed to make his fertility potion. 

I’d held Melo the night he was born. Today I’d cured him—maybe even saved his life. My heart swelled, tightening the binding cloth around my breasts as I watched Ashune heading back to the village. 

In our family hut just before dinner, Mother gave me a new belt with twelve red dragons woven in it. Her green eyes shone with delight above her freckled cheeks. The belt was her wordless way of telling me she expected good news when Father came home. I clung to the belt, admiring her fine craftsmanship. Hoping. More than that, believing she was right.

Mother said, “I wove some of my hair into each dragon.” She’d done the same with Father’s sixteen-dragon belt. Her auburn strands gleamed in the red wool, adding vibrant orange tones. I hugged her before cinching it around my waist like a power charm, then stepped outside to wait for the Adan. Today he will tell me. Today I will know. 

In the hut, Mother sang to herself as she grilled the tuki peppers, Poppies and roses in her hair. She is queen of the May. Oh sing to her gladly and never sing sadly, she is the light of our day. She loved the English ballads from her childhood, but I was no queen of the May. 

I looked beyond the cone-shaped rush roofs to the thick forest climbing steeply beyond the village and felt a small flutter of excitement as Father came down the trail with his herbing basket. 

I knelt and touched the Adan’s feet with reverence before he entered our hut. At dinner I could hardly eat around all my unasked questions. Father, for his part, seemed to be chewing his thoughts. I’d served as his apprentice for ten years, but no girl has ever become an Adan. If the chieftain agreed today, I’d be the first.

Father hadn’t accepted my help that first year; still I persisted. He did not like girlish chatter, so I was silent. He did not like weakness, so I stayed strong. He was never ill, so I was never ill—or if I was, I never let him know it.

I rubbed the old scar bisecting my palm. Tell me, Father. He bit. He chewed. 

“I spoke with the chieftain about you,” Father said at last, dusting the crumbs from his mat. “Your path is chosen, Uma.” 

I hooked my thumb through my new belt, tugging the flying dragons tighter against my waist, circling Uma Quarteney. Healer. Adan. 

Father said, “You are to marry the hunter Ayo Hadyee in the time of Fox Moon.”

My stomach seized. “M . . . marry? But my healer’s path . . . Didn’t you ask the chieftain, Adan?” 

“You have been a great help to me, Uma, but I’ve put things off too long. I should have started training a male apprentice sooner.” 

“What male could learn as much as I already know?”

“Mi tupelli,” he said softly. 

Mi tupelli—my lad. The nickname raked my heart. “Don’t call me that. Not now!” His brows flew up. I’d never raised my voice to him before. 

“It’s been decided,” Father said. “As a female, you can be an Adan’s helpmate. Never a healer.”

“Then why this?” I tugged my tunic down to the fox mark below my collarbone. “Why did you burn the pattern of my Path Animal on my skin if I was never meant to be a healer?” 

Such burns were reserved for warriors, elders, healers. I gloried under the excruciating pain the night he pressed the tip of the hot wire to my skin again and again until the tiny fox was complete. I took it as a sign I would become an Adan. A healer would not be shunned for being half English. A healer is needed. A healer belongs. And more than anything, I’d wanted to belong.

Father took Mother’s hand. “Paths can change directions, Uma. I know you dreamed of more, and for a time I also thought . . . but our laws guide us. It’s good for you to marry. You know how much we need children.” 

“I’m needed as a healer. People have learned to accept me as your apprentice.” An acceptance that was hard-won. “I know how to help you treat our women with Kuyawan so they can have the children we need. Who else can do that?” 

Father’s mouth was a stern line. 

I said, “Does Ayo even want to marry a half English, a girl who does not cook or garden or weave, a girl who has dressed as a boy most of her life?” The look on Father’s face told me what I needed to know.

Mother said, “I understand how you feel, Uma.” 

“No, you don’t.” 

“Believe me, I do. I know how hard you’ve worked. I’ve seen it. It hurt for me to give up my midwife practice and come here to live a different life, learning Euit ways so I could marry your father, but I did it.”

“You did it because you love him! I don’t love Ayo Hadyee.”

“You can learn to love him, Uma. It’s what your father wants for you.”

“No! It’s what you want!” 

I shot out the door. I didn’t know why I raced to the healer’s hut until my hands were on the jars I’d washed that morning, until I was hurling them across the room, breaking them against the wall.

“Uma, stop.” Mother came in, took my hands, and pulled me back outside. People had poured out of their huts, curious to see where the crashing sounds had come from. “Go back to your meals,” I shouted. “Leave us!” 

A hot wind scoured us from above. Father’s red dragon, Vazan, must have heard the sound of breaking jars from the healer’s hut. She dove from the clouds and roared a warning fire over our heads. I pushed Mother away, wanting to scream fire right back at Father’s guardian. But no human breathes fire. 

Or so I thought then.

The next day, after convincing Father to let me work beside him until Fox Moon came, I helped him attend my uncle Sudat, who’d accidentally cut his leg while skinning a goat. I was soothing my uncle with a smoking sage bundle as Father stitched the wound, when I heard horses’ hooves and shouting in the distance. 

Father kept chanting as he stitched. The far-off shouting turned to screams. The Adan did not allow himself to be distracted, but I peered out the door. 

“Adan,” I screamed. “King Arden’s army!” I’d not seen the king’s soldiers since I was small, when they’d burned our huts and forced us farther south. “They’re armed!”

A soldier raced up and slashed an old man’s neck right in front of our hut. Blood spurted onto the murderer’s boots and breeches.

Now people were running, scattering like goats frightened by a mountain lion. Two armed men burst into the healer’s hut.

“Are you Adan?” the taller one barked. Father looked at him. He did not say yes. He did not say no. But the soldier saw what Father was doing to mend my uncle’s leg. The shorter man grabbed me, shook the smoke bundle from my hand, and stomped it out with his boot. 

“Are you the famous healer who cured infertile women?” the tall one asked. “Answer me!”

“Yes,” Father said.

Sudat groaned, “My leg.” His gash still gaped open. The soldier shoved Father aside and drove a dagger through my uncle’s heart, silencing him. I stopped the scream that came up my throat. It was like damming a river. 

He turned his bloody blade on Father. “Pack all your medicines, old man. The queen of Wilde Island commands your presence.”

Father loaded his trunk. I watched the dagger’s point as if my eyes alone could keep Father alive. 

The second soldier let me go. “Help him pack, boy. Stinks in here.” I did as I was told, wrapping the tincture jars, the fertility herbs we’d gone so far across the mountain to find. Father packed his herbal book and locked the trunk. He was whispering, praying to the Holy Ones. I was too sick with fear to pray. 

The army encircled our village. Our warriors and the red dragons were away hunting. We were defenseless. Ashune hid in the trees with Melo. People ducked behind boulders, bushes, huts. The soldiers chained Father’s wrists and prodded him up the steps into the jail cart. 

I raced up and jumped in the cart with him. Father pushed my shoulders. “No, Uma. Stay here with your mother.”

I gripped the iron bars so he couldn’t throw me outside.

A soldier jabbed me with his sword, slitting my pant leg where I crouched, clinging to the bars. “What are you doing, boy?”

“I am the Adan’s apprentice. He needs me.” 

They looped a cold chain tight around my wrists, chained Father’s ankles and mine, and shut the metal door with a clank. Then the army set out, their lead chargers stirring up choking dust.

Through a brown cloud I saw Mother run out from our hut, her red hair streaming behind her as she raced after us calling my father’s name, calling mine. “Uma, no!” 

I gripped the bars, afraid, as two soldiers grabbed her arms, stopping her. But they did not put the sword to her throat. 

For once I was glad she was not like the other women in our village. 

For once I was glad she was English.



CHAPTER TWO
Journey to Pendragon Castle — Falcon Moon to Fox Moon, April to May 1210
 

It was a grueling three-week journey. Half the army followed the king’s son, Prince Desmond Pendragon, north out of Devil’s Boot. The other half had stayed behind, surrounding our village. The queen wanted Father alive, but what would happen to Mother and everyone we left behind? What would the army do to them? My anxious thoughts churned in rhythm with the cart’s relentless wheels. 

On the third day, I felt a rush of warm wind. “Father, look.” Large red wings cut through the thin clouds above. His dragon, Vazan, had found us! Her muscled body spanned the length of seven horses; twice that again if you measured her snout to tail. She skimmed down on wings as large as mainsails. Men sho...

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Book Description Speak. Paperback. Condition: New. 480 pages. An epic fantasy about dragons, dark secrets, Pendragons, and magicOn the southernmost tip of Wilde Island--far from the Dragonswood sanctuary and the Pendragon Castle--live the native Euit people. Uma, who is half Euit and half English, and not fully accepted by her tribe, wants to become a healer like her Euit father. But the mad English queen in the north, desperate for another child, kidnaps Uma and her father and demands that he cure her barrenness. After her father dies, Uma must ensure that the queen is with child by the time of the Dragon Moon, or be burned at the stake. Terrified and alone, Uma reaches out to her only possible ally: the kings nephew Jackrun, a fiery dragonrider with dragon, fairy, and human blood. Together, they must navigate through a sea of untold secrets, unveil a dark plot spawned long ago in Dragonswood, and find a way to accept all the elements--Euit, English, dragon, and fairy--that make them who they are. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Seller Inventory # 9780142425749

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