The Lost CastleThe Lost Castle – Michael Pryor

Cover blurb
When Queen Tayesha threatens to conquer all seven kingdoms of Krangor and so break the ancient bond between the saur and the land, one young noble vows to stop her. Adalon’s promise sets him on a perilous quest. He and his loyal friends, Targesh and Simangee, must find a safe haven, far from the queen’s bloodthirsty soldiers. Beyond a river of fire, a lost castle beckons. Mysteries and magical wonders await the three friends at the castle – but awakening ancient magic brings its own dangers.

Michael Pryor says
I love writing fantasy, where I can use my imagination to create whole worlds. Sometimes I like to set myself a challenge, too, and writing a story with non-human characters seemed like an exciting approach. But what sort of non-human characters? I thought about that for some time, and then it came to me. I’ve always loved dinosaurs, so what if I created a world of magic where the dinosaurs didn’t become extinct, and instead evolved into the dominant, intelligent species? It seemed like a good idea, and the more I thought about it, the more convinced I was. It gave me an exotic background to explore ideas of friendship, duty and responsibility – and to have some fine adventures.

The Lost Castle begins
‘What do they want?’ Adalon asked his father, Lord Ollamon, as they stood behind the parapet of High Battilon.

Sun flashed on the armour and bright blades of the approaching force. The thunder of their passage echoed from the surrounding hills and over the rooftops of Lod, the small village that huddled around the castle’s walls.

‘I do not know,’ Lord Ollamon said, his tail twitching. ‘It is strange to see the Queen’s Own Guard so far from Challish.’

Adalon’s mother had died when he was a baby and he had been close to his father ever since. So he knew Lord Ollamon was concerned; his claws gripped the stonework hard enough to leave marks. Adalon, however, was eager to see the latest weapons and armour from the smithies of the capital of Thraag. He stared out over the long approach to the castle. The Queen’s Own Guard, here in the Eastern Peaks province? I was a wonder!

Adalon had seen fifteen years. He was tall for his age, and strong-shouldered for a Clawed One. He had dashing blue patches on the scales of both cheeks, and his thumb-claws were sharp and curved. Clawed Ones were the swiftest of all the saur kind, and Adalon was renowned for never having lost a race. He tapped his claws on the stone with frustration, waiting for the soldiers to arrive.