Reviewed June 6, 2009.
Harcourt, Orlando, 2007. 301 pages.
Princess Rosalind is to be the twenty-first Pendragon queen of Wilde Island, descended from Evaine, daughter of Uther. She is the one about whom Merlin prophesied, that she would redeem the name Pendragon, end war with the wave of her hand, and restore the glory of Wilde Island.
Yet Rosalind and her mother the Queen share a terrible secret. The Queen, desperate to conceive, took drastic measures before Rosalind was born. And Rosalind was born with one finger a dragon's talon.
Meanwhile, a dragon is ravaging the island, and anyone suspected of consorting with the dragon is hanged for witchcraft. Rosalind and the Queen wear golden gloves, and Rosalind is not allowed any friends who might learn her secret. Every possible healer is consulted, but since they never learn Rosalind's ailment, it's no surprise that their remedies fail.
Meanwhile, the Queen is determined that Rosalind should marry the future king of England and end the long civil war there. But who would marry a woman with a dragon's talon?
A powerful but dark story of grappling with ones destiny. The plot was sprawling, and the romance happened suddenly, but the story remained interesting and epic in scope.