Named of the Dragon is one of Susanna's earliest novels; it was first published in 1998. A new cover and format has brought it back from out-of-print-land and into a bookstore near you. I believe it will appeal to people who want a solid contemporary novel with a bit of history, legend, and Merlin. Not a romance, not a thriller, but just an interesting tale to take you to Wales.
Lyn Ravenshaw is an editor who has been talked into spending the Christmas holiday in Wales with her client Bridget, a popular children's book author. Bridget is a fast talker and has a large appetite for food and for the attention of men. She's also involved with the famous James Shaw, a writer who would be a big cap in Lyn's feather if she could snatch him away from his current agent. Her continued nightmares of a crying child have haunted her since the death of her baby Justin five years before. She agrees to accompany Bridget to Wales to get away from London and break away from the constant grind of sorrow.
Arriving in Wales, she quickly makes friends with James and his brother Christopher. Brooding playwright Gareth immediately suspects her of trying to sign him and their relationship is off to a mutual dislike. And poor Lyn--the young Elen lives at Castle Farm, along with her baby boy Stevie. Elen is convinced "the dragon" is out to take her son. Is Elen crazy from grief at the loss of her husband, or is something weird happening at Castle Farm?
And Lyn. Oops. Those nightmares haven't gone away. Instead, now she dreams of a woman in blue, standing with a small boy, begging Lyn to help protect him before it's too late.
What do Merlin, Wales, and a small boy have in common? Just a few impressive Welsh legends. Love them!
The pace of this novel is slow; not a whole lot happens, and that's fine with me. I liked reading about local legends, and the slow pace suits the character of Lyn just fine. She's a work in progress, and can't be rushed. Lush descriptions of ruined castles, rustic farms, and Christmas in Wales all make you slow down and enjoy the tale. I started this novel not realizing it was set during December so it's perfect for a Christmas read.
Rating: 7/10 for a slow paced novel based on Welsh mythology with the added bonus of a likeable main character and a Christmas atmosphere. Stir up the fire, make a pot of tea, and dig into this book!
Available in paperback e-book, and audio.