Susan Fletcher
Flight of the Dragon Kyn
Flight of the Dragon Kyn
ISBN: 978-1416997139
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Flight of the Dragon Kyn
About the Book
This is a story about Kara and dragons. When she was four, she came down with vermillion fever. Her parents, thinking there was no cure, left her in a cave to die. A month later she walked back into her parents' home as healthy as if she had never been sick. It is said that a mother dragon lived in that cave, and she nursed young Kara back to life.
Now, eleven years later, the only reminder of Kara's illness is a small scar on her cheek. Of her contact with the dragon, there is more. Her eyes, which once were blue, are now green. And she can call down birds, which many believe is a sign that she can also call down dragons, for the two are distant cousins.
Only Kara has her doubts. How can a beast as huge and terrifying as a dragon be related to a sweet, gentle bird? But could this explain why the king has sent for her? Does he think she has power over dragons? For Kara, the answer to this question means life or death - not only for her, but for all the dragons, also.
A Note from the Author
Dragon's Milk was going to be a short story. Back in the early-mid 1980's I had this idea for a bunch of short fairy tales featuring girls with grit and courage. But something happened as I began to write. The story grew darker, deeper...longer. Way longer. Pretty soon I realized that I writing a novel, not a short story. And there was a whole bunch more stuff to write about, things that took place before Dragon's Milk began. So I decided to write the prequel, Flight of the Dragon Kyn. (The sequel, Sign of the Dove, came later.)
The most amazing thing about researching Flight of the Dragon Kyn was the birds. I talked my way into an Oregon Zoo program where they trained teenagers to work with hawks and falcons. But first, we had to earn our keep. The teenagers and I cut up cute little dead chicks and mice for the hawks’ and falcons' dinners. We practiced making falconer's knots using the fingers of only one hand. We cleaned the mews and cut up the birds’ mutes and castings, looking for signs of disease. (Castings are like owl pellets, indigestible balls of skin and bones that the birds urp up after they eat. Mutes are what come out the other end.)
Pretty soon I realized that the zoo training wasn't enough. I was going to have to hang out with some falconers. I found a newspaper article about a falconer, Byron Gardner, and called him up. He invited me to his home and introduced me to his birds. He urged me not to "pretty up" the falcons in my book. Falcons are bloody, he said. They kill in order to survive, kill cute little birds and mice. And they are magnificent, nonetheless. Byron promised to read my manuscript for accuracy and to take me hunting with his falcons the following autumn.
When autumn rolled around, I called Byron. He was very ill with cancer. He couldn't take me hunting, but he told a former apprentice about me. And that man, Bob Welle, now a master falconer, showed me his birds stooping (diving from mid-air) on prey.
Byron died before I finished the book. Bob kindly checked it over for me. Years later, when I went on an author visit, I was greeted by Byron's widow, who now worked at the school. On my way out, she handed me a gift: the bell from one of Byron's falcons. It now hangs in a special place in my studio.
Copyright 2011 - , Susan Fletcher. All rights reserved.