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Master of Many Treasures    by Mary Brown order for
Master of Many Treasures
by Mary Brown
Order:  USA  Can
Baen, 1995
* * *   Reviewed by Theresa Ichino

In Pigs Don't Fly, Summer found herself with a menagerie of rescued creatures, including a blind knight. She thought she was in love with the gorgeous knight, and she thought her only goal was to make a respectable marriage. That was until the winged pig she rescued turned out to be a dragon, who was also a stunningly attractive man. At the end of Pigs Don't Fly, Jasper left Summer in search of his dragon kindred. However, the determined young woman sets out on his trail to fabled Cathay.

The mediaeval tapestry of Brown's world is as richly colourful as Summer's adventures. Disguised as a boy, she undertakes the long and dangerous journey to China, home of dragons. With her is the devoted Growch, the stray dog who adopted her and who is convinced she won't survive without him. (Summer's ring, made of unicorn horn, makes Growch's opinions only too understandable.) Along the way, our soft-hearted heroine also rescues a slave boy and a dancing bear, unable to abandon them to ill treatment.

She is fortunate in having the aid of Ky-Lin, a mystical creature with unusual powers. Brown has added threads of Asian myth and culture, to create an entrancing adventure. Ky-Lin is a delightful addition to her cast. (A ky-lin is a type of unicorn, symbolizing nirvana.) He tells Summer that his imperfections have condemned him to remain on the earthly plane until he reaches a higher state of enlightenment, but he also enjoys being here. Less welcome is the nosy and greedy young apprentice-merchant who refuses to believe that Summer is not on the trail of a fabulous treasure. He is right, of course, except Summer's treasure is not mere gold or jewels. She is seeking her love.

Ky-Lin assures Summer that seven is an auspicious number for a quest; their seventh member is a tiny dragon's egg, result of Summer's passionate union with Jasper. He however is unaware of the egg's existence, which Summer hopes to use to win the acceptance of the Council of Dragons. She herself will not live long enough to see the egg hatch, for it will take centuries to develop to that point.

Readers familiar with Summer's adventures in Pigs Don't Fly will not be disappointed by her quest in Master of Many Treasures. Once again, she braves hardship and danger, meeting a variety of characters and finding adventure around every corner. All the characters are well developed, and likeable except for the despicable Dickon. Brown also gives us fascinating glimpses of another culture and beliefs; and as always, she provides an unexpected twist in the plot. This author can write!

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