Sean Williams and Garth Nix, Let Sleeping Dragons Lie (Have Sword Will Travel #2), Allen & Unwin, October 2018, 288 pp., RRP $14.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781743439937
Sir Odo and Sir Eleanor, who began their adventures in Have Sword, Will Travel, may be only twelve, but they’re knights, and they’re up for any challenge. And all is not right in the realm. When bilewolves attack, they find themselves battling beside blind Egda and the warrior Hundred to save the village. Then hard on the heels of the wolves, an Instrument of the Crown arrives to force questionable laws on the countryside.
Eleanor and Odo join Egda and Hundred on a quest to find out what’s gone wrong, and why Prince Kendryk is allowing these things to happen in his name. There will be danger, and probably more dragons, along the way.
In spite of having opposite approaches to knighthood and life – Eleanor is keen to jump into action feet first, while Odo is more thoughtful and cautious – Eleanor and Odo make a good team, and they respect each other’s strengths and abilities.
The themes of loyalty and responsibility are repeated throughout the book. Egda is more than he seems, and through the course of their journey the young knights help him come to realise the mistakes that he has made, and help him to rectify them. Eleanor and Odo also have to make their own choices about what their sense of loyalty and responsibility demands of them.
I found the start of the book a little confusing – it felt like I was thrown into action and secondary characters without context – but by the second chapter the pace of the story settled in, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Let Sleeping Dragons Lie is excellent, solid adventure with knights and dragons galore, and a side-order of talking swords. It isn’t a slapstick, sidesplittingly funny book, but it has Garth Nix and Sean Williams’ unique style of wry humour, and readers aged 9 to 12 who like a rollicking good tale of swords and sorcery will have a great time questing with Sir Odo and Sir Eleanor.
Reviewed by Emily Clark