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DragonKnight    by Donita K. Paul order for
by Donita K. Paul
Order:  USA  Can
WaterBrook Press, 2006 (2006)

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* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Donita K. Paul's latest DragonKeeper novel, DragonKnight, is even better than her last, even though most of it does not concern Dragon Keeper Kale at all. But though Kale must share the spotlight with other characters, Paul's ever-improving writing will keep fans enthralled.

Three years after his quest with Kale, Bardon is on the last stage a sabbatical for reflection - of training to become one of Paladin's knights. Bardon is greatly surprised when he arrives at the secluded cabin - where he's supposed to spend many months in thoughtful solitude - to find three women already living there. With no time to think, Bardon reluctantly joins their quest to find a dozen missing knights, thought to be still held under a sleeping spell cast by the late Wizard Risto. New friends are added to the questing party as they battle many displaced evil creatures along the way. Eventually, they discover the resting place of the knights, only to have to fight the greatest evil of all.

DragonKnight is an engrossing read as Paul keeps Bardon's adventures constantly moving with only brief moments for quiet reflection with Wulder. While this, like the rest of the DragonKeeper novels, is an allegory (though never overpowering), the epic fantasy element is just as important making it as appealing to fantasy fans as to those who like religion incorporated into their reading. The fantasy element is brought out beautifully in the people and creatures that Bardon encounters on his journey as well as the discovery of the final destination. The first part of the book, Paladin's Call, is Bardon's story. However, the last part, Wizard's Call, is shared by both Bardon and Kale. At first, this change in point of view is jarring, but soon Paul is deftly transitioning between Bardon's and Kale's thoughts, keeping the story moving, and even picking up the pace a little as things come to a head.

Donita K. Paul is becoming a force to be reckoned with in the allegorical fantasy world since her novels take on new depths as the characters grow. Fans will delight to know that her DragonKeeper series is not a trilogy (like so many epic fantasies), as there is at least one more book needed to tie up loose ends left at the end of DragonKnight. Hopefully even more adventures await Bardon and Dragon Keeper Kale.

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