High overhead, a dragon flies on coppery wings, raining down fire and destruction on all that lies below. The last of the great beasts, it wreaks havoc everywhere it flies, burning the countryside and its terrified inhabitants to grey ash and cinders with its fiery breath. Desperate and frightened, the people pray for a hero to save them. Jude is no hero. Deeply traumatized after returning to find his village a charred ruin and his family dead, he is picked up by a travelling fair, where he rescues the strange yet beautiful Jing-wei from a life as a caged freak. Eluding their pursuers, Jude and Jing-wei meet Lan, a wise old Chinese woman who straightens Jing-wei's bound and crippled feet, and reveals to Jude his destiny. He alone must kill the last dragon. With Jing-wei's help and Lan's ancient knowledge, Jude and Jing-wei set out to destroy the beast, and embark on the perilous journey of what becomes the hunting of the last dragon.
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Sherryl Jordan is a prominent New Zealand author. She has worked with deaf children for a number of years and has always loved sign language. Sherryl Jordan extensively travelled the British Isles to research The Raging Quiet; she lives in Tauranga, New Zealand.From School Library Journal:
Grade 5-7 In this multilayered tale set in an alternate 14th-century England, a British peasant lad and a Chinese orphan far from her native Hangchow set out to kill the last fire-breathing beast to survive a systematic extermination. Deeply traumatized after returning from an outing to find his village a blackened ruin and his family dead, Jude is picked up by a traveling fair. His job is to tend to "Lizzie," a young woman with bound feet who is exhibited in a cage as a freak. Amid news of more destroyed settlements, Jude and Jing-wei (her real name) grow close, then escape together, fetching up in the cottage of an ancient Chinese herb woman. She convinces them to take on the dragon, arming them with both practical lore and a goodly store of gunpowder. Grieving for his family, and frequently quarreling with his vexingly strong-minded companion, Jude makes an engaging, reluctant hero. Through his eyes, readers will find Jing-wei admirable, too; not only is she definitely the brains of the operation, but she also has courage enough for two. She's also crazy about Jude, as everyone but he can plainly see. After a close, brutal battle reminiscent of Aerin's fights in Robin McKinley's Hero and the Crown (Greenwillow, 1984), the two repair to a monastery to heal. Jordan shoehorns in yet another plot line by framing Jude's tale as a monk's word-for-word transcription including general banter and complaints about a monastery guest who has become a suitor for Jing-wei. By the end, the scales have fallen from Jude's eyes, and his tale makes absorbing reading despite the narrative artifice. -John Peters, New York Public Library
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