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The Coming of the Dragon (Legacy of Beowulf) Paperback – October 11, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
Although based on the epic of Beowulf, this book stands very well on its own, and no knowledge of the medieval tale is necessary (although readers familiar with Beowulf will appreciate it even more). At its center is young Rune, who washed ashore as a baby in a boat that also carried weapons and armor, wearing around his neck a pendant bearing mysterious words written in runes, giving him his nickname. He grows up ignorant of his parentage until the land is tested by the fury of a dragon, when he has to call on his courage and what little training he has as a warrior to defend his adopted people.
Rune is a very appealing character who isn't perfect, but who tries hard to do the right thing. Other characters are well drawn and individual.
It's refreshing to read a book set in the Middle Ages whose author really knows the subject. Her expertise never becomes heavy-handed, and it lends an air of realism to even the supernatural aspects of the story.
Teachers should consider adding The Coming of the Dragon to their students' reading lists.
This is Rune's story and shows his journey from taunted farm boy to one of the king's men facing a dragon, and then on to a bit more. Through Rune's story the reader gets so much more though. Not the least of which is a very accurate representation of Anglo Saxon life. I have to agree that this aspect did remind me of Rosemary Sutcliff in that the power was in the details. Small things were included that gives the reader a sense of the setting and did not require a lot of description. There is also a lot said about seeking wisdom, governing, war, peace, love, friendship and family. None of this is didactic, it is the story.
The plot is fast paced. The story covers little time. Things with the dragon happen quickly. The story taken from Beowulf ends about two thirds of the way in and the rest of the novel is pure invention and follows the things that occur in the land post dragon. The end is a bit rushed and some of Rune's emotions are startling in how quick they form but it was still concluded well.
Rune is a fascinating main character who comes across as real. I felt everything he was feeling so acutely as I read the book I actually had to double check to see what point of view it was written in before typing this review. It is third but I could have sworn it was first. All of the secondary characters are interesting as well, particularly Beowulf and Amma.Read more ›
Rune, a teenage boy struggling to find his place in life, struggling to be brave in the face of the un-faceable, is a believable hero who is put in an impossible place and rises to the challenge. He's not one of your cocky, self-assured heroes who will clearly come out on top; rather, he's one of the self-doubting ones, who finds in himself more than he ever imagined. His character development comes not just from central problem of the dragon, but is also bound up in the larger, more complex questions of the mystery of his origins, and the future that awaits him.
There is magic, and the gods are at work, but these fantastical elements are subtle, and integrated into the fabric of the story in a way that strengthens the central plot, rather than distracting the reader. And finally, the great cast of supporting characters includes some strong-minded girls, although, in as much as this is Rune's rather dragon-centric story, they don't get as much page time as the boys do! My only area of vague dissatisfaction was the ending, which seemed a bit forced and rushed.
However, despite that one reservation, I think this is one of those rare books that I enjoyed just as much now as I would have when I was the age of the intended audience, which is to say lots.