Literature / Dragon Keeper Trilogy

The Dragon Keeper Trilogy are a three book series written by Carole Wilkinson. Set in Ancient China, The trilogy consist of Dragon Keeper, Garden of the Purple Dragon, and Dragon Moon, with a small prequel story "Dragon Dawn".

Dragon Keeper opens with Ping (and her pet rat, Hua) working as a slave under Master Lan, the man responsible for taking care of the Emperor's dragons. After one of the two dragons die from neglect, Master Lan blames Ping and tell the Emperor that she is an evil sorceress. The Emperor sends soldiers to capture and execute Ping, but she manages to escape along with the last remaining dragon, Long Danzi, and the mysterious Dragon Stone. Which is totally not in any way a dragon egg. Hunted not only by imperial soldiers, but also by dragon hunters, Ping and Danzi embark on a journey to reach Ocean, a place where Danzi will finally be safe from humanity. They do reach Ocean, at which point Danzi leaves Ping with the freshly hatched Dragon Stone.

In Garden of the Purple Dragon, Ping (and Hua who can now spit fireballs) attempts to raise Kai, the dragon that hatched from the Dragon Stone. After being attacked by a necromancer, they are captured by Imperial soldiers and taken to the Emperor, Liu Che . . . who promptly drops all charges against her and welcomes her into his court. While there, a boy named Jun is brought into the Emperor's service as the true Dragon Keeper. It is later revealed that he is a fraud. Later, after nearly being assassinated, Ping discovers that Liu Che has aligned himself with the necromancer from earlier, and that they are bleeding Kai in an attempt to create an elixir of immortality.. With Liu Che's permission, the necromancer attempts to sacrifice Ping. However, she kills him instead. Afterwards, she flees the palace with Kai (Hua leaves them to be with his own kind), and accepts the offer of a Princess she previously befriended to live in their home.

Dragon Moon opens with Liu Che's troops attacking the palace where Ping now lives. Fearing for Kai's safety, she and him flee in search of the Dragon Haven, a legendary place that is, you guessed it, a safe haven for dragons.

Not to be confused with the novel of the same name by Robin Hobb.

These books provide examples of:

  • Berserk Button: You'll trigger it if you mess with Ping's friends, and vice versa.
    • Never mention the word "slave" around Ping....ever.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Dragon Keeper ends with the egg hatching, but Danzi and a mortally-wounded Hua leave Ping (although Hua returns in the next book). Dragon Moon ends with Ping leaving Kai with the other dragons.
  • But Now I Must Go: Danzi to Ping in Dragon Keeper, and Ping to Kai in Dragon Moon.
  • The Chosen One: Ping is the rightful Dragon Keeper. Despite what Jun might have people believe.
  • Foreshadowing: Liu Che makes a few comments in Dragon Keeper about how he is searching for a way to extend his life ... Come Garden of the Purple Dragon, and he is harvesting Kai's blood in a attempt to make an elixir of immortality.
  • Functional Magic: There's a whole magical society.
  • Humans Are Bastards: The reason why Ping and Company have to move around so much.
  • I Am Dying Please Take My Macguffin: Subverted, then eventually played straight. When Danzi goes to the Island of the Blessed, he leaves Ping the Dragon Stone. In Dragon Moon, Ping seems fully convinced that Danzi died of old age during her time at Yan when he stopped visiting her dreams.
  • I Have Many Names: Danzi says this pretty much word for word.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: The dragons in the story are Chinese Dragons, as opposed to the European kind.
  • Immortality Seeker: Liu Che
  • Jerk Ass: Ping's old master Lan embodies this trope.
    • Liu Che eventually devolves into this.
  • MacGuffin: The Dragon stone and even more so when it hatches.
  • Made a Slave: Ping in the beginning of Dragon Keeper.
  • Magic Is Evil: Inverted: Danzi explicitly mentions that sorcerers are not bad people, however, necromancers are.
  • Mama Bear: Ping towards Hua and Kai.
  • Meaningful Name: Averted with Ping, who is disappointed to learn that her name means "duckweed". Played straight with Long Danzi whose name means "Courageous Dragon".
  • Moral Event Horizon: In-universe, Ping believes Liu Che has crossed this after she discovers he is harvesting Kai's blood.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Hua to Ping.
  • The Obi-Wan: Danzi during the course of Dragon Keeper.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Kai the small, purple dragon.
  • Small Annoying Creature: Ping sees Kai as this at first but soon she grows to love him and fiercely protect him.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Hua develops the ability to shoot fireballs.
  • Unequal Rites: Necromancers and Sorcerers are not the same thing.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Dragons are weak to iron, centipedes and five-colored thread. Only the centipedes is actually logical- they sometimes climb up a dragons ear and into ti's brain. Where it promptly eats the brain.——