When I Blogged Cornelia Funke's The Thief Lord with such enthusiasm last weekend, Kelly over at Big A little a recommended that I try Funke's Dragon Rider as well. I was finally able to pick it up from the library on Friday, and I finished it on Saturday afternoon. Here's the synopsis:
Firedrake, a brave young dragon, his loyal brownie friend Sorrel and a lonely boy called Ben are united as if by destiny. Together, they embark on a magical journey to find the legendary place where silver dragons can live in peace forever. With only a curious map and the whispered memories of an old dragon to guide them, they fly across moonlit lands and seas to reach the highest mountains in the world. Along the way, they discover extraordinary new friends in unlikely places and a courage they never knew they had. Just as well, for the greatest enemy of all is never far behind them - a heartless monster from the past who's been waiting a very long time to destroy the last dragons on earth.
This is a good book. I liked young Ben, and brave Firedrake, and grumpy Sorrel with her mania for mushrooms; and I liked the idea of the three of them flying half way round the world, from the Scottish mountains where Firedrake and his fellow dragons live together with Sorrel, all the way to the Himalayas in search of 'The Rim of Heaven', the places where dragons can live safe from human interference.
This book isn't just a Quest tale featuring a battle between good and evil, it's also a thought-provoking commentary on humanity's habit of driving out native fauna in our greed for more land. There is a strong contrast between the unseen men who are planning to flood the valley which is Firedrake and Sorrel's home, and both the people of the village on the Indus where Ben learns of his heritage as a dragon-rider, and the monks of the Tibetan monastery high up in the Himalayas where Ben finds someone to lead them to the Rim of Heaven. In the village and at the monastery a dragon is regarded as a bringer of good luck so it is a momentous occasion when a dragon arrives in either place.
I did enjoy this book, so my thanks to Kelly for the recommendation; I think The Thief Lord is my favourite book by Cornelia Funke of the three that I've read so far - but I definitely liked Dragon Rider, and I liked it better than Eragon !