Dragon Tempest

Don Callander
Dragon Tempest
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Mundania Press
Release Date
March 2014
Book 3 of Dragon Companion series
Fantasy Romance

What makes a Dragon Tempest?

Take one librarian named Tom from Iowa. Add one magical dragon, one beautiful princess, and one evil kidnapper named Byron Boldface.

Toss them on a tempest sea of monsters and savages. Pour over ancient maps until shipwrecked. Roast over low dragonfire. Save the girl.

(Don't forget to wash your claws.)

Book Review by Barb Taub (author)
Apr 17, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
78 people found the following review helpful
There is a comforting familiarity about my sisters' homes. Even if it's the first time I enter one of their houses, I know which drawer will probably have the spoons, and which cabinets will hold the glasses. We're not identical, but shared experiences impart a bone-deep familiarity to basic decisions about how a house should work.

That recognition is what I felt reading when Don Callander's DRAGON TEMPEST. Although I've never read his books—-including the first two books of the Dragon Companion series of which this is the third volume--his words recalled a lifetime of tales my parents read to me, I read to myself, and then to my own children.

The story is a fairy tale with a twist. Thomas Whitehead, a librarian from Iowa, was mysteriously transported to the magical kingdom of Carolna in Book 1 of the series, Dragon Companion. As the only human in a land where everything is done with magic, he uses common sense and technology to befriend dragons, rescue princesses, and defeat villains who have never had to defend against anything but magic.

Now in Book 3, we find him married to his princess and responsible for the people and creatures of a large estate. He still doesn't know who brought him from Iowa or why he was chosen. But he doesn't have time to worry about that when his pregnant wife is kidnapped, the kingdom is threatened, and that baby's due date is too close for comfort. Once more, he and his dragon companion are the only hope against evil mages, volcanoes, pirates, shipwreck, and savages.

Author Don Callander didn't publish his first book until he had retired from a career as a globe-trotting travel writer for AAA at 62. Making up for lost time, he published eight more and was working on yet another when he died in 2008 at age 78. DRAGON TEMPEST is one of those books I might have been reading with a flashlight under covers when I was just discovering the universe of adventure in books. But it also begs to be read out loud, over multiple nights where Callander's matter-of-fact prose delivers tales of dragons, wizards, and princesses to be rescued. To listen is to hear The Wizard of Oz without L. Frank Baum's fiscal policy message, or the Narnia books without C. S. Lewis' religious agenda.

I'm not sure that DRAGON TEMPEST qualifies as a romance in any sense of the word and I suspect that it wasn't the author's finest work. His cast is a varied and enormous collection of magical types, and his descriptions of their fantasy world probably owe much of their realistic feel to his travel writing experiences. But between his slightly avuncular tone (a man might be described as a "stout fellow", or a woman as a "happy and cheerful lass") and his world view where the women cook, keep house and get rescued, the story feels a bit dated. I would give DRAGON TEMPEST three stars as an adventurous read for a young target audience.

If you're looking for an old-fashioned tale of magic and adventure that you can read to your child or your grandmother, DRAGON TEMPEST is a good choice. Just don't pick it up for the romance.
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