dragonkeeper_Australian_2ndDragonkeeper is an amazing series by Caroline Wilkinson, featuring 6 books telling of the adventures of Ping and her ancestors. Caroline Wilkinson captures the beauty and wisdom of dragons through these nail-biting series of books.

Before she ran away with Danzi, Ping didn’t have a name.

She worked as a slave to Master Lan, the emperor’s Dragonkeeper. Lan is a hard and unforgiving master, and Ping’s only friend is a rat she rescued from a trap of her own making and named Hua. One of Ping’s chores is to feed and groom the animals that live around them at Huangling Palace, two of these animals are dragons. Ping does not like the dragons as they are always lazy and never thank her or interact with her in any way, but she is still extremely upset when one of them dies.

After the death of the first dragon, Ping sets herself to care for the remaining one as best she can. Through her close proximity to the remaining dragon, Ping discovers that not only is his name Danzi, but nobody else can understand him. If they try, all they hear is a strange series of sounds like wind chimes, cracked bells, and bronze bowls clashing together. However, in Ping’s head, the sounds translate into words. This leads to a close bond between the two, leading to Danzi and Ping escaping from the ferocious clutches of Diao, the dragon hunter who continues to hunt Ping and Danzi through the remainder of the book.

Ping and Danzi must travel across the world to reach ocean, where Danzi’s son Kai will be born from the dragon stone Ping has carried since the very beginning of their travels. Along the way, Ping forms an unlikely relationship with the young emperor, who appoints Ping his new Imperial Dragonkeeper.

However, Danzi is not pleased with the appointment and runs off with a former Dragonkeeper of his, Wang Cao. Ping is upset, but does not leave the emperor’s side as he makes his journey to become true emperor at  Mount Tai Shan. It is here she is reunited with Danzi as he and his previous dragon keeper are cornered by Diao. Ping arrives just too late. Early enough to save Danzi and her rat Hua, but not fast enough to save Wang Cao or Diao. After an emotional scene Ping and Danzi finally make it to Ocean where Danzi leaves Ping to look after his newborn son. This the ending for the second book, which will lead on to the adventures of Danzi’s son Kai with Ping.

Dragonkeeper is just the first of a series of three in which Ping is included. The next three are all about Ping’s descendant Tao. I highly recommend these books as they are extremely enjoyable and a challenge to read.