The Dragon Round

Written by Stephen S. Power
Review by Eva Ulett

Jeryon is an experienced captain and loyal servant of powerful ship owners, in a fantasy world with a historical atmosphere. There are no engines or gunpowder, while crossbows, edged weapons, and sail power are used. On a cruise home with medicines vital to stave off an epidemic, Jeryon defends his ship against a dragon attack. After he refuses to delay the mission to render the dragon’s valuable bones and skin, his avaricious crew set Jeryon adrift in a small boat. Because she won’t take part in the mutiny, the ship’s apothecary, Everlyn, is also stranded. The relationship between Jeryon and Everlyn as they cooperate to survive, their discovery, raising, and training of a dragon, form the most enjoyable parts of the story.

These scenes end early, however, and a tale of revenge ensues. Told in rapidly shifting first-person present tense, the narrative can be confusing, particularly during the exciting opening encounter with a dragon. The revenge plot and multiple viewpoints make it difficult to engage with the characters, and as the violence and cruelty to men and dragons escalates, there are few with whom to sympathize. Power creates a credible ethnic and class-divided world, but is less successful distinguishing the voices of his many characters.