Named of the Dragon by Susanna Kearsley (♦♦♦♦)
Literary agent Lyn Ravenshaw has had recurrent nightmares for five years, ever since she lost her newborn in childbirth. An invitation to spend the two weeks leading to Christmas at a seaside village in Pembrokeshire, South Wales—in the company of Bridget Cooper, an author Lyn represents, and James Swift, an author she admires and would like to sign up—hints major changes, for Lyn’s nightmares change shape and prompt her to take care of a baby—descendant of King Arthur and a line of Welsh heroes—who may be destined for greatness and is in danger of being captured by “a dragon”. Lyn has the help of brooding, and elusive playwright Gareth Gwyn Morgan, a local who steers her through the world of Celtic myths, Arthurian legend, and Merlin’s prophecies to make sense of her dreams and their meaning.
Named of the Dragon is the fifth novel I read by Susanna Kearsley after The Winter Sea, The Rose Garden, Mariana, and Firebird.
I started Named of the Dragon twice or thrice last year, but it seemed I wasn't in the mood for Kearsley's style. I was craving something more along the line of Frederick Forsyth and I had to satisfy that crave. And it worked. Just last month I read a glowing review penned by a fellow blogger on Named of the Dragon and I told myself: "what do I have to lose?" Apparently, a few hours of sleep.
Named of the Dragon is written in trademark Kearsley's style: absorbing, page-turning, comfortable, familiar storytelling that seems so effortless that you wonder if she invented the story or it has actually happened to someone, somewhere. I noticed this time around something that had called my attention when I read Firebird; some of her characters reappear in some form or another in her other novels. It's not necessarily a series, but it pays off to read her entire body of work from the beginning and pay close attention to characters.
I had a great time reading Named of the Dragon. In it, Susanna Kearsley weaves Celtic legends and myths to create a story that, though contemporary, recreates a time of forgotten heroes and prophesied greatness, bringing to the fore the vastness and richness of Welsh and Celtic traditions.