To escape a lifetime of wedded woe, fourteen year old Jemma leaves behind her sisters, her father, and her would-be-groom, and sets out for an uncertain life as a maid at decaying Castle Thrandrak. It won't be easy.

The castle is as filthy on the inside as it is on the outside. However, she's not alone. Not only does she have her pig, Almond, but she finds herself in the company of the dragon brothers, Drosa and Grotto. Strange magic abounds within the castle, including stormy night ghosts, a magic mirror of legend, and spell books that hold the secret to time travel.

As her attachment to Drosa and Grotto deepens, Jemma resolves to save them from the malevolent wizard, Thrandrak, even if it means the ultimate sacrifice.

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Excerpt from Moon Face and the Dragons © Copyright 2024 Megan Devine

This is it, thought Jemma miserably. My life is over. I’m about to become the wife of the village idiot.

What if she were to jump over the side of her litter and run? She imagined running and running, out of Sudsbury, over the hills and down, through the mysterious forests beyond, until the woods vanished and she reached the sea's great foamy edge. Perhaps a passing pirate would take pity and make her a cooking wench. But what were the chances of that happening? She would never make it that far. She'd starve first.

At that moment there was a scream, followed by several others. Jemma turned her head in the direction of the cries. The villagers had stopped walking and were looking up. Some were pointing.

Jemma looked up too. Something like a bird was flying overhead. But it was too big to be a bird, though it had enormous wings spread out from its shoulders. Whatever it was, it was coming closer. As Jemma unsuccessfully tried to identify the animal, one of the men in the crowd shouted, “It’s Thrandrak’s dragon!”

Jemma had never seen Thrandrak’s dragon, and this was certainly not how she had imagined him. Her storybooks had always painted dragons as gargantuan reptiles that dwarfed mountains. This dragon stood on two legs like a man, and while he was taller than every man in the village, including Lubka, it was only by a head. He was dressed in clothes (his shirt had holes cut in the back for his wings to go through, as did his pants for his tail), and on his head was a thick, unruly mane of golden-brown hair. Through the hair, his ears stuck out, large and triangular and flattened back. Between his ears were his horns, spiral and bony and curved backwards. His scales were glistening amber gold, overlapping one another like little round plates. His claws were massive, almost the size of a man's head, with long talons, iron gray and sharp as razors. He was certainly like no dragon Jemma had ever read about.

“What do you want, Drosa?” one man demanded angrily. “We’ve already paid Thrandrak his offering this season!”

“Did somebody not pay?” cried a woman.

“Is he going to curse us?” shouted an old man from the back of the crowd.

The dragon, addressed as Drosa, spoke. “Villagers of Sudsbury, I come with a message of peace on behalf of Lord Thrandrak. My Master has tasked me with finding a maid for the Castle Thrandrak. Is there any young lady who would be willing to accept the job?” The villagers stared at him blankly as though he were speaking in a different tongue.

Jemma understood though, loud and clear.

“Anyone at all?”

“ME!” Jemma shouted. She stood up, wobbling as she did, and jumped from the litter. She landed in the dirt on her knees, scraping the skin on the rough ground, but she didn’t care. Picking herself up, she hitched up her skirt and ran to the dragon. “I’ll take the position!”

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