By Author / Illustrator
S. A. Patrick
Usborne Publishing Ltd
Paperback / softback
In a world of dragons, song spells, pipers and battles... Patch Brightwater is a boy in disgrace. Thrown in jail for playing a forbidden spell, he is no one's idea of a hero. But then he discovers a deadly truth - the evil Piper of Hamelyn is on the loose. With the help of Wren, a girl cursed to live as a rat, and Barver, a fire-breathing dracogriff, Patch must stop the Piper sparking the biggest battle of them all. Three accidental heroes versus one legendary villain... an epic adventure is born.
Patch Bridgewater has fled Tiviscan Castle, the home of the Pipers' Council. After absconding in disgrace and failing to complete his training as a piper, he has to eke out a living with travelling musicians, never staying too long in one place. Patch is ashamed; Pipers are revered for their ability to use music to aid communities, but his future is now uncertain.
Following the devastating case of the Piper of Hamelyn, communities now summoned pipers when in need and when an abandoned Patch stumbles into just such a community, they think their prayers have been answered. But with his training incomplete, Patch inadvertently puts the village in danger and draws of the attention of the Custodian Elite. In a world where an uneasy truce exists between the humans and dragons, Patch's actions set into motion an unstoppable chain of events.
A Darkness of Dragons is a wonderful fantasy adventure. Patch is a brilliant flawed hero and is ably assisted by the cursed rat Wren and Barver, a fearsome Dracogriff. Attempting to solve the mystery of the Piper of Hamelyn, they encounter sorcerers, heroes and bloodthirsty brigands. The mystery is well-maintained and as the reader you are never quite sure who can be trusted. This is a lively and clever expansion of the Pied Piper tale and with several loose ends still to be tied-up, I am eagerly anticipating the sequel!
393 pages / Reviewed by Clare Wilkins, school librarian.
Suggested Reading Age 9+
A Darkness of Dragons transports the reader to a mythical land of pipers, dragons and talking rats. The traditional tale of the Pied Piper of Hamelyn lies at the heart of this tale but children with limited knowledge of this fable will soon pick up the threads. Before long, the mysterious disappearance f the children of Hamelyn and the motives of the Pied Piper will have the reader desperate for answers. Answers that our young hero hopes to find.
Cheeky, brave, kind and unassuming, Patch Brightwater - an apprentice piper - finds himself thrown into a prison of the most hideous kind. Upon escaping his vile environment, Patch finds himself on an adventure to right wrongs and to solve the mysteries that surround the disappearance of the children of Hamelyn. Accompanied by a girl who has been transformed into a rat and a fire-breathing Dracogriff with a heavy heart, Patch sets off on his perilous journey. He takes with him a secret and with that brings a dilemma; should he reveal what he knows or keep a key piece of information to himself?
The skill of this story is that all the characters have a quest, their own demons to overcome and yet each narrative is woven beautifully and seamlessly together. We meet new characters along the journey but who should we trust?
The reader understands the fear of Patch and the confusion that he suffers. We love how he cares for Wren, always looking out for her and ensuring her safety. We gasp when Barver is injured and we rejoice when he rises once again. There are plenty of exciting moments of action and thrills are aplenty.
The ways in which some characters meet their demise might be too graphic for readers of a sensitive nature and S.A. Patrick does not hold back on vivid, gory descriptive detail! Some younger readers may find a few of the perilous scenes to be a little gruesome but there will be plenty of readers who will relish every word.
This book is plenty of fun and will be enjoyed by those who like magic with a sprinkle of darkness. It is not a jolly fairy story; it is an epic adventure that will captivate the reader.
416 pages / Reviewed by Jo Clarke, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 9+