About the Book
Title: Dragon Defender (Dragon Defense League, Book #1)
Author: J.A. Blackburn
Publication Date: October 19, 2013
Publisher: Pip & Grey
Number of pages: 242
Recommended age: 10+
Summary (Amazon):For over a thousand years dragons have existed in secret . . . Peter Clark can build a robot from scratch and pick a lock in two minutes or less. But he can't figure out why his mother left or why his grandma refuses to talk about her. When Uncle Dominick shows up on Peter's twelfth birthday with a letter that hints at answers and an incredible story about dragons, Peter follows him, determined to find out the truth about his mother's disappearance. What he finds is a reality far different from what he ever could have imagined - where dragons live in hiding, hunted by poachers for their magical parts, and a small group of men and women work tirelessly to protect them. These are the Dragon Defenders. Peter's uncle is one. So was his mother. Now it's Peter's turn.
* Finalist in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association 2013 Literary Contest *
Excerpt From Dragon Defender by J.A.
~ CHAPTER 1: AN UNEXPECTED VISITOR
felt his way back to his desk, running his hand along the rough wood to find
the drawer. He pulled it open and fumbled around inside until his hand closed
around the cylindrical shape of a flashlight. He flipped on the switch and made
his way through the bedroom and out into the kitchen.
opened the fridge and shined the flashlight inside, then pulled out a carton of
milk, opened it, and took a swig. Grandma hated it when he did that. But it was
too dark to bother with getting a glass, and anyway, if the power didn’t come
back on soon, the milk would go bad. He took another drink and set the milk
carton on the counter, then pulled out a plate with a piece of apple pie
covered in cellophane. Dinner.
car approached the house and its headlights shone into the window, the twin
beams sweeping the kitchen with light. Grandma’s home. Better eat fast. Peter
peeled the cellophane off the plate and, holding the pie in one hand like a
sandwich, took a big bite. The spicy sweetness of cinnamon, butter, and apple
filled his mouth.
car outside pulled to a stop. He set the pie back on the plate and started to
pull the cellophane over it. The car door slammed and Peter leaned over the
counter to look out the window. He could just make out a figure hurrying
through the rain toward the front of the house . . . which was weird, because
Grandma always came around the back.
knocked on the front door with hurried raps.
set down the plate, his mind racing. Whoever was at the door, it wasn’t his grandma.
She had a key, and she always came through the kitchen. So who was knocking at
had spent every evening alone since he was ten, when his grandma had taken the
closing shift at the diner. She had decided that Peter was old enough to be
trusted home alone, and besides they needed the money. Her Number One Rule,
which she made Peter swear repeatedly to follow, was: Don’t open the door. For
looked at the clock that hung above the kitchen doorway. Eleven fifteen.
What if something happened to
Grandma? he thought. Maybe it’s someone coming to tell me. But if something
happened to Grandma, wouldn’t they call first?
man’s voice called out, “Hello! Anyone home?”
stomach clenched, and he sucked in his breath. His heart thudded in his chest,
accelerating with each beat.
It’s no big deal,
he told himself, probably just someone at
the wrong house.
man knocked a few more times, then stopped. The only sound was the steady
pounding of rain on the roof.
leaned forward to peer out the window. He couldn’t see much and was about to
turn away when the lightning flashed, momentarily outlining the dark shape of a
man standing in the rain, watching the house.
stood frozen, staring out the window at where the man had been.
long minute went by. The lights flickered on and Peter found that he was
staring at his reflection in the windowpane. He leaned closer to the glass,
looking intently into the darkness.
man’s face emerged from the dark, staring back at him.
yelled and jumped back. His socks slipped on the slick tile floor and he fell
backward, arms flailing wildly, knocking the plate of pie off the counter. He
landed on the floor with a thump, surrounded by ceramic shards and clumps of
man was waving, mouthing something through the window.
It’s me . . .” Peter couldn’t make out the rest.
More Buzz About the Book
"We read an advance copy of this book on kindle earlier this year and our 5th grade son read it twice and is anxiously awaiting the next book in the series. Great adventure, really kept our interest reading it together at night. This was one of the kids books I most enjoyed reading myself as well. The characters and the plot are well developed, and appealing to a wide range of kids (both genders). The writing is sophisticated but easy to understand, not 'dumbed down' like many kids books. The subject of dragons was so well crafted that it's easy believe that dragons just might exist, after all." ~ 5 Star Review, Leigh A., Amazon
"Reminiscent of the Fablehaven series (with just the right touch of Harry P.) this middle grade book is both an adventure and a pleasure...Fast-paced and full of wonder, this book takes middle grade readers on a vivid journey from the southwestern U.S. to Mexico; where jungles, ancient ruins and local folklore add to the enchantment that Peter finds when he discovers that dragons are in fact, real. As a former elementary school teacher, my strong feeling is that kids will eat this book whole, and then turn to searching for dragon eggs in their own backyards!" ~ 5 Star Review, Grace W., Amazon
"Dragon Defender was an absorbing action packed read! The author pulls you in from the first page and I'm not sorry to say I read it all in the first day. I'm 33 but still! This is a fun book for a chapter a night with your 5 year old (my son is loving it so far) or for yourself. The characters are well developed so you feel like you're really there, and the dragon is so believable. I'd venture so far as to say I had to remind myself that dragons don't really exist.... or do they?" ~ 5 Star Review, MGC, Amazon