From School Library Journal
Grade 5—8—Dragonology: The Complete Book of Dragons
(2003) and The Dragonology Handbook: A Practical Course in Dragons
(2005, both Candlewick) are purported to be guides written by Dr. Ernest Drake, one of Victorian-era Britain's foremost dragonologists. Steer, their real author, has now written the first of a series of novels about Dr. Drake as seen through the eyes of 12-year-old Daniel Cook, one of his apprentices. In 1882, Daniel and his older sister are unaware that their mother and father are dragonologists working in India for the colonial government. The children are at first disappointed when they are shipped directly from their boarding school to Dr. Drake's-they had been promised a summer holiday with their parents-but the eccentric man introduces them to their first dragons and they're soon hooked on the "science." A sinister rival, Ignatius Crook, hopes to claim a gem, the Dragon's Eye, that would give him powers over the dragons of the British Isles, and Drake and his crew are determined to stop him. Soon Drake, Daniel, and Beatrice are journeying all over the nation by train and boat and on dragonback to track down the precious stone. This book will be lots of fun for fans of the beautifully illustrated "Dragonology" titles, but as a work of fantasy, it is merely average. The art, critical in a work like this one, is unspectacular; several of the adult characters, in particular Crook, are stereotypes; and the young protagonists lack depth.—Walter Minkel, New York Public Library
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After success with such imaginative books as the Dr. Ernest Drake's Dragonology
(2003) and the Dragonology Handbook
(2005), Steer is launching the Dragonology Chronicles, a series of adventures based on the purportedly nonfiction writings of the eccentric dragonologist, Dr. Ernest Drake. This first entry is narrated by 12-year-old Daniel Cook, who, along with his sister, Beatrice, is sent to a school run by Dr. Drake, where the youngsters pursue the secret study of dragons. Mysterious happenings lead the children to accompany the doctor on a search for the Dragon's Eye, the key to the fate of all the dragons, which is being sought by the evil Ignatious Crook. Steer infuses the exciting story with the flavor of a nineteenth-century novel and incorporates some of the equipment, spells, and dragon lore found in his earlier books. Dragon lovers will be well pleased. Sally EstesCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved