You've read his enigmatic tweets, maybe have even read an interview he hosted on his blog with another author, now discover Paul Cude and his debut novel, Bentwhistle The Dragon In A Threat From The Past!
Beginning with the true story of George and the Dragon as it is told to young dragons in their nursery ring, the reader is introduced into a world where dragons can change shape (mutatio) and turn into humans. In their dragon form they appear as the storybooks told: large (well...most of them), fast, high-flying and able to spit fire harsh enough to crisp a small village if they wished. But when they transform the only difference between them and a normal human is their aura and their green blood.
After the students hear about the dragon story--when George had to help his dragon king trap an evil dragon and his cohorts in the depths of an underground cavern--the reader is introduced to Peter Bentwhistle, this story's main character. Peter teaches the reader the basics of an everyday dragon lifestyle, from birth to the nursery ring (which is a dragon's way of educating their young to survive in the dragon world and the human one as well), and how mantras and magic play a key role in everything a dragon does.
Peter mentions seeing an Old Man (which is how the book refers to the gentleman the whole way through and even in his character bio on Mr. Cude's website [link will be below]) always near the nursery ring while Peter was attending classes. Once he graduated, he never saw the man again, but he still thought about him, even into his adulthood.
The story takes up where Peter is an adult, running the security of a prestigious company called Cropptech that mines Laminium, a precious metal to dragons and very valuable as it is so rare. His boss, Al Garret, is a jovial human man who treats his employees as if they were friends and the atmosphere at the workplace is wonderful...until Garret makes a change.
Peter is called into Garret's office to meet a new associate, Major Manson (Remember the tweets? "Who is this Major and why is he a disappointment?" read the book and you'll see exactly why!). Manson is an affiliate with the company Darktech and seems to have much influence over Garret, which drastically changes the mood in Peter's department.
No dragons work at his company, that he can sense, except for himself and his friend, the beautiful Richie Rump, though this is a company that mines a dragon-coveted metal. But as soon as Peter meets Manson, his senses are alerted...though there is no dragon aura about him. But it still makes him suspicious and he brings it up with Richie who had not gotten a single bad vibe off of him whatsoever!
The novel centers around Peter, Richie and their friend Tank, as they get pulled into a war between dragons that is centuries old, involving an old dragon (the 500-plus Gee Tee, Tank's boss who runs what was once the largest mantra shoppe in the world, and now is struggling to stay on its feet in London), Laminium and secrets. I do wish I could reveal more, but read on to see my key points that vary from the main plot and then the purchase links, because this book must be read!
Featuring a lot of geographical information, sports statistics and an in-depth look at a dragon world from Mr. Cude's mind, the reader must pay attention to what is written on the page before them, but the end result is worth it.
I loved how sports played a key role in dragon lore, from the characters in their human forms playing hockey, lacrosse and rugby (respectively) and there being a made-up dragon sport (Laminium Ball) that is the equivalent of human football. Rarely do the novels I read include much sports and, as a lifelong tomboy, my heart was satisfied at the action, adventure and fantasy having an element of sportsmanship added to the story.
Dragons in this novel are "clean": they don't drink, smoke, do drugs or even take pharmaceuticals and they have trie for centuries to keep humans pure as well, even since an old rogue group of dragons introduced humans to tobacco in the 1500s and tried to corrupt them.
Another great thing that variates from the plot a bit is Peter's endless attraction to his friend Richie. While this novel is far from romantic, the subplot is nice to read and I think many readers can feel a kinship with Peter: being in love with a friend but unable to show it because of the fear of losing that friend forever.
This book, deep down, is about teamwork, respect and love--love of each other, life and, yes, a love of sports!
To sum it up, this is a dragon tale (excuse the pun) of pure fantasy and adventure and every reader who has ever liked a fast-paced fantasy epic with a lot of amazing detail should pick this novel up!
Mr. Cude has a big imagination, which he lent to make this YA novel one of the best of this generation!
5/5, great work!
Purchase Bentwhistle as a physical copy on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bentwhistle-Dragon-Threat-Past-Paul/dp/0755206789/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1323614549&sr=1-2
Purchase Bentwhistle as a download for Kindle: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bentwhistle-Dragon-Threat-Past-ebook/dp/B006CQUIQC/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1323614549&sr=1-2
Or you can download a free copy at Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/286035
Be sure to visit Paul Cude on the following places online:
Bentwhistle Official Site: http://www.bentwhistlethedragon.co.uk/index.html