Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Brass Dragon Codex by R.D. Henham


"Never start a conversation with a brass dragon--it might never end! In another volume of the companion series to A Practical Guide to Dragons, orphaned baby brass dragon Kyani ventures out into the desert to find something to eat, and finds a gnome named Hector instead. Hector is not so sure he wants a chatty, hungry brass dragon following his every move. But several groups ready to go to blows over the marvelous invention Hector guards with his life, he may need the help that only a fun-loving brass dragon can provide."

Rebecca Shelley, writing as R.D. Henham has once again delivered a fast paced interesting book. I invited my youngest daughter (let's call her J) to help me review this book. J read Red Dragon Codex and loved it. When she heard about the Brass Dragon Codex, she couldn't wait to get to the book.

She said the book is full of adventure and interesting characters.
The characters grow in the book and learn the importance of truly listening to others. I think it is a wonderful story and lots of fun to read aloud with the kids. I asked J to come up with some questions to ask Rebecca.

J: How did you come up with the interesting names?
Rebecca: Krynn is a shared world. The Dragonlance books have been around since I was a kid, so there are a lot of characters and places that existed long before I got a chance to write in this fun world. Many of the characters that appear in Brass Dragon Codex originated in other Dragonlance books.

We have the author Dan Willis to thank for the names (and the wonderful characters) Mudd, Heira, and Hector and, I think, the name of the gnome town, Haggersmoore (introduced in Dragon Well and Dragon Knight). The author Stephen D. Sullivan came up with Syndall, Connal, Ariana, Amber, Shara, Shem, Goldmane, the Bronze Giant, and the city Kaal, and town of Purespring (appearing in the Goodlund Trilogy).

I could go on with many other authors and what they've contributed to this world, not the very least of which are Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman who wrote the original Dragonlance Chronicles and brought the Dragonlance world into being, but that's probably enough on this subject.

It is fun to write in such a deep and rich world and add my small part to it. I came up with the name Kyani (tumbleweed). In the Practical Guide to Dragons it shows the baby brass dragons as a tarnished brass color (a somewhat greenish black with flecks of lighter brass.) that is similar to a mineral called Kyanite. So that's where I got his name. Here are some links to images of Kyanite.

http://www.gc.maricopa.edu/earthsci/imagearchive/Kyanite%20955.jpg
http://rides.webshots.com/photo/2613886300017354934fPWEFK

Of course a dragon can't go telling everyone his true name. It's said that if someone knows your true name, they can have power to command and control you. So, since he lived in the desert, I thought the name Tumbleweed would be appropriate, especially since he tends to wander around aimlessly like a tumbleweed.

The captain, Peyote, also has a desert plant name. The peyote is a kind of cactus. I thought that would fit since Peyote is kind of prickly in the story.

J: Why did you make the brass dragon so talkative?
Rebecca: Great question. Since the dragon codex books are companion to the Practical Guide to Dragons, I got to make my brass dragon fit what it says in the book. Here's what it says in the Practical Guide: "The brass dragon loves to talk, and it often ensnares unsuspecting travelers in a bout of long-winded conversation. . . . like its elders the wyrmling is born with the gift of gab. It will talk on and on and on, at times about seemingly nothing. It will talk to animals that can't talk back. It will even talk to itself if no one is near."

J:
I can't wait for you next book. What are you working on now?
Rebecca: Right now, I've just started a book tentatively called The Elves of Lincoln Junior High. We've seen so many books about vampires, werewolves, witches and wizards in school, I thought it was high time the elves got a chance to shine, or at least get to blow things up in some seriously fun North vs South type action with a little romance thrown in along the way.

J: What other books have you written?
Rebecca:
I've written the Red Dragon Codex, which started the dragon codex series. In addition, I've written a number of other books that have yet to be published. Here are three that are currently being looked at by publishers.

Take Monkey, a literary genius with flatulence; Bean, a science and math guru with a dangerous bug collection; Vinny, a computer whiz who can't keep her mouth shut; and Art, an artist who can shoot a basketball like a pro, confront them with a mess of fourth grade trouble, and watch the fun explode in the Smartboys Club, a chapter book series.

Mist Warriors is a retelling of "Chylde Roland and the Goblin King" aimed at a middle-grade audience. When Robby Chylde's sister, Ellen, rollerblades around the church and vanishes into the mist, Robby sets out to find her. His search leads him into the Goblin Kingdom where he discovers a goblin plot to conquer the Faerie lands. Now it's up to Robby to battle savage goblins, defeat the Goblin King, free Ellen, and save the Faerie Kingdom.

In Screepy and the Egyptian Curse, Screepy witnesses another girl killed in a car crash with a vehicle carrying relics from King Tut's tomb. An artifact damaged in the crash releases the spirits of ancient evil priests and plunges Screepy and the ghost girl into a three thousand-year-old mystery, which they must solve before the priests take control of the city and enslave its inhabitants.

J: Those all sound fun. One last question. What is your favorite mythical creature?
Rebecca: It's a tie between dragons, elves, and fairies.

Thanks Rebecca. This book can be found here and visit Rebecca's site here.