"Absolutely amazing!" – Kayla Erickson
"A book I would read again and again" – Alyssa Williams
"run out and grab a copy" - Mindy S
"Karpov Kinrade's words are magic, painting a picture in your mind that stays forever." - Courtney Cole, New York Times bestselling author
Published: October 17th, 2017
From USA Today bestselling author, Karpov Kinrade, Of Dreams and Dragons begins an incredible tale of magic and wonder and love. For fans of Throne of Glass, Harry Potter, and Game of Thrones, experience a story of epic proportions.
The day darkness descends into my life begins like any other.
Taking care of the kids I call my own. Fighting fires in my small Northern California town. How could I have known evil walked my streets and would soon rip apart my world?
But death comes for us all, and when a stranger with mysterious abilities shows up demanding payment for a promise I never made, I refuse. When he kidnaps my baby sister, I fight back.
And I discover the power of the dragons within me.
Now, I must leave everything behind and travel to a world of magic and wonder in order to train with a charismatic dragon lord, in the hopes that one day…
I can save my sister.
Or make her killer pay with blood.
But nothing in this world is what it appears. And my closest friends are keeping secrets from me.
Secrets that could tear the worlds apart.
I brace myself for the cold shock of water, but instead emerge into a sea of stars. A night sky never ending. I float through the darkness, as if there is nothing but space around me. No air. No water. Only cold. Only night. And the stars and planets and moons shimmering in the unspeakable distance.
There is the sound of water breaking. I look up and see Kaden appear from nothingness. His scarf and coat and hair drift up slowly, as if he were sinking, and he moves through the space as if swimming, until his arm is touching mine.
I want to speak, but I dare not let the air out from my lungs. I do not know if I can breathe in this strange place. Kaden gestures for me to follow him, then swims forward, toward a ring of golden light. A nebula, I think I’ve heard it called. I follow Kaden, paddling through the sky, and find that moving here is much like moving through water, but easier and faster, as if there is no friction of any kind. It's like my dreams, where I would fly as if swimming. I wonder if I am really in space, but I cannot be. I would freeze to death.
The nebula grows larger before us, until it covers all my vision with gold. Up close now, I realize it’s not a multitude of stars as much as a wall of light. Or perhaps it changed as I grew closer. Kaden swims past me, disappearing behind the golden hue. For a moment, I hesitate to follow, but there is no turning back now. I reach out with my hand, touching the light. It feels soft and smooth and warm. With one final push, I plunge forward, letting the sea of stars engulf me in its warm embrace.
My head breaks through the surface, and I emerge as if from a deep dive, gasping for air. I stand in a shallow pool of crystal clear water, my feet touching sand that was not there before. The air is thinner here. The wind weaker. And the heat stronger.
It is bright. Night has turned to day, the sky a clear blue. Lush green bushes that look like the tops of palm trees circle the pond we just stepped out of, and thick vines fall from taller trees. Dense emerald grass covers the ground, and small purple flowers that sprout in clusters dot the landscape. Far above, I hear a shrill bird call, then a chorus of responses from the nearby trees, a beautiful song reverberating through the air.
Past the trees and the grass, past this little oasis we have landed in, is an endless horizon of silver sand shining too brightly in the sun. An endless stretch of desert with no signs of life, at least above the surface. “Something is wrong,” says Kaden, walking out of the water, his clothes dripping onto the grass. “We were supposed to arrive closer to the Cliff. This place…” His words trail off, and he stands silent, looking at the sky.
I walk onto dry land, my wet clothes rubbing against my skin. At least it’s warm. I’d be freezing in the wind. “What happened? Your fountain portal broke or something?”
“They’re not portals,” he says, “not really. It’s more about the stars.
When the stars align over certain bodies of water, that water can be used to travel between worlds. All one needs is a travel talisman and the knowledge of which stars align where and when. It changes from month to month, year to year. It’s not a simple science, but I was certain we should have arrived miles north of here.” He pauses, frowning. “I heard whispers… talk of the stars fading, the light dying…”
I raise an eyebrow. “Care to explain what you’re mumbling about?”
He turns to me. “Some say this world is ending. That soon our magic will fade away and the light will vanish. That darkness will come. Of course, there are always those who speak of the apocalypse and there always will be. I gave no credence to it, but the stars…” He shakes his head. “I must have made a mistake is all. Simple as that.”
He glances around. “Now where was… ah. Here.” He runs up to a tree with emerald vines and large, multi-faceted crystals that grow in place of fruit. He brushes away a pile of sand and stone, revealing a symbol underneath: two black swords crossed over each other in an X. “One of our hidden caches,” he explains, grabbing a handle obscured in the ground and pulling. The symbol opens like a hatch, revealing a small space stuffed full of objects: clothing, a pair of daggers, something that might be food.
Kaden passes me a blue cloak and robes and a towel. “Dry off, then put these on. They will keep you warm in the night. And they’ll help you fit in with the locals.”
He grabs a pair of black robes for himself, then pulls off his shirt. He starts unbuckling his pants and—“What are you doing?” I ask.
He pauses. “Apologies. I forget myself. Modesty is much less important on Nirandel than in your world. I’ll find a more private location.” He walks away, disappearing behind a tree.
I take the moment to undress and dry off, then put on the new robes.
They are thin and light and seem made of silk, and it isn’t long until I start to feel cooler in the heat. I throw a hood over my head to shade my face, and adjust the blue cloak on my back, then check my reflection in the lake.
I look as if I've stepped out of a fairytale, one about knights and princesses and wizards.
Kaden emerges from the trees, dressed all in black once again, except for his red scarf. He grabs a bag from the cache and packs our old clothing. “This look suits you,” he says.
“Is this how everyone dresses here?”
“More or less. This world is much like your medieval age in some ways, and yet quite different in others.” He pulls a scroll of leather from the cache and unrolls it on the sand, revealing pictures of mountains and trees and cities and borders. A map. Kaden points to the bottom left of the scroll. “We are here, in the Silver Desert. We need to get here.” He points to a picture of a fortress to the north.
I read the script next to the drawing. “Dragoncliff.”
Kaden nods. “The place where you will train. We call it the Cliff for short.” He points to a line on the map near our location. “We will follow this river until we reach a village. Then we can hire a carriage. I’d say we should be at Dragoncliff in three weeks.”
That’s much longer than I expected, and I feel anger burning inside me for the delay. Every moment I’m not training is a moment I waste. The faster I master my abilities, the faster I can stop Pike. But this rage is foolish. I was stupid to think this journey would be a quick one. I will need to train, but I will also need to eat and sleep and rest. I will need to learn about this new world: the laws, the manners, the customs, just so I can survive long enough to defeat my enemy. This journey may take months, I realize, even years. I will need to steel myself for what is to come.
A small creature flutters down from the trees and hovers before me, pulling me from my stupor. I almost think it a bird, but it’s unlike any bird I have ever seen. Its skin is smooth, featherless, and glows a pale blue.
Though it has wings, they are more like fins, and the creature appears to swim through air rather than fly. I raise a hand, and it twirls around my finger, gently touching it with its wispy long tale. The creature hums, a sort of ethereal purr, and rubs against my palm. It has no beak, more a toothless mouth, and it seems to smile.
“Starcatchers,” says Kaden, as he grabs two water skins from the cache and fills them in the oasis. “This one seems to like you.”
I pet the little Starcatcher in my hand, half wondering if this is all a dream. “Where did the name come from?” I ask.
“They are born as little Pods.” He holds his index finger above his thumb. “Little bitty things, that can’t fly or glow. But when they’re old enough, the old tales say Pods go on a quest, a voyage amongst the stars.
And when they find a star of their own, they eat it up, and let it engulf their bodies in warmth. The star becomes a part of them, and so they glow from within and forever get the power of flight. And thus a Pod becomes a Starcatcher.”
The little bird squeals in delight, then zips up, disappearing amongst the trees. I chuckle, and realize my sadness has been swept away by the little creature, at least for a while. There is so much to see here, so much to learn. Perhaps I can lose myself in this new knowledge, and make learning, and not despair, my guide.
“Tell me more about your world,” I say, gesturing to the map. “Show me your capitols and borders. Your cities and towns.”
Kaden begins. “As I said, we are in the Silver Desert. Just north of us is the city of Al’Kalash, and deep within, lies the Palace of Storms. It is where the Emperor, Titus, rules.”
“How much land does he control?” I ask.
Kaden gestures at the map. “He is Titus, the Unbroken, the Slayer of Dragons, the Emperor of Nirandel.”
“Of Nirandel… so you mean… all of it? The whole world?” Kaden nods. “Yes. The whole world. Though of course, there are places where his laws are… difficult… to enforce. The Ashlands, for one.
The Frozen Mountains, for another.” He points to the locations. The Ashlands at the center of the map. The Frozen Mountains to the north.
Then he points to the east. “Here are the Sunstar Isles, where people ride giant beasts amongst the waves and study the ancient arts of Kargara, a form of martial arts.” He points to the west. “And here is La’Moko, a giant island with a proud and wise people, who believe in peace above all.”
Kaden leans back, sighing. “Once, long ago, these lands were ruled by the High Dragons.”
“The ones in the story? Half man? Half dragon?”
Kaden stares into the distance, at the silver sand, his eyes dark. “They were real. Magnificent beings with a connection to Spirits unlike any other. They could do things with Beckoning, Transmuting and Imbuing that I can only dream of. Their Spirits were like giants, titans, forces of nature capable of shaping the very earth.” There is awe in his eyes now, wonder in his words. “I dreamed of being one of them, wished for it with all my being. But…” the thrill leaves him. “But it was not meant to be.
And the High Dragons were not meant to live on.”
There is a sorrow in him now, and I touch his hand with mine, seeking to ease the pain. “What happened to them?”
“First, they turned on each other,” he says. “They divided the lands amongst themselves, but like Alandel’s children, they were not content with a small piece of the world. They had to have it all, and so civil war after civil war ravaged the land. There were times of peace, of course, but they were always short lived. And then the High Dragons made a terrible mistake. They burned the wife of Titus Al’Beckus.” He pauses. “Titus was a man of the middle class, a group of people who had grown in wealth and power yet still had to heed every High Dragon’s order no matter how mad. They were tired of wars they cared nothing for, tired of rules that did nothing but rob them, and so, under Titus Al’Beckus, they rose up.
Like a tidal wave, the rebellion swept through the land, killing every High Dragon in its path, until none remained.”
He takes a swig from his water skin, and says no more.
“But if the High Dragons were so powerful,” I ask, “how were they defeated in battle?”
“The Emperor’s Shadows,” Kaden says, his brow furrowed. “Little is known of them, other than they were Titus’s most loyal servants, and underwent rituals best forgotten. They are… more beast than man.
Unnatural things. I pray you will never come across one.”
He turns back to the map, his mood shifting, turning lighter, as if to brush away the darkness of the past. He points to a large circle at the center of the map. “And here is the Wall of Light.”
I trace my hand over the lines on the map. “The Wall of Light? Like the one in the story?”
He nods. “It is the one in the story. The one Nir created to keep the dragons at bay. It is an Ashlord's sacred duty to defend the Wall, for if it were to fall, the Nine Worlds would be covered in death and ash.”
I point at the picture of Dragoncliff. “But if this drawing represents a fortress, then the Wall of Light is huge. Longer than all your rivers, and larger than any city. This map can’t be to scale… can it?”
Kaden sighs. “The Wall of Light is vast. It can be seen from nearly all of Nirandel. Especially in the night, when the skies are dark.”
“So it's enormous.”
“Thousands of dragons live within. Maybe hundreds of thousands.
The Ashlands past the wall stretch on for hundreds of miles. We do not even possess an accurate map of them. Every couple hundred years, an Ashlord with great ambitions will set out to make one, but none have ever returned from the center alive.”
Kaden glances at the sun. “It’s past midday now. We should travel while we can. Before it gets dark. Then we’ll make camp.” He rolls up the map, stuffs it in a bag, and throws the pack over his shoulder. “Once I get a better look at our surrounding area, I should be able to pinpoint our exact location,” Kaden says. “Then it should be easy to find the river.”
“You seem to know these lands quite well,” I say.
He smiles. “There is a library at Dragoncliff full of books and scrolls.
As a child, I would pour over all the maps, dreaming of adventure. I wanted to uncover new lands and discover new creatures, but as my teacher once said, such things are not for those of Ash.” He looks down.
“It saddens me, sometimes.”
This world may be old to him, but it will all be new to me, and for the first time since jumping into the fountain I’m filled with something akin to excitement. Then a thought occurs to me. “You were at Dragoncliff as a child?”
Kaden doesn’t look at me. “We do not choose when we become Broken Ones, nor when we become a Twin Spirit, and my training began when I was very young.” He walks away before I can say more.
I follow him through the brush and emerge onto a desert of silver sand, a vastness of rolling dunes as far as the eye can see. Kaden stares at something in the distance, his smile fading. I follow his gaze to a ruin amongst the sands. Structures and pillars half buried in the earth, withered by time and wind and weather.
“What’s wrong?” I ask.
“That place…” Kaden clenches his fist. “That place is where my best friend was murdered.”
About the author:
Karpov Kinrade is the pen name for the husband and wife entertainment duo Lux and Dmytry Karpov-Kinrade, aka The KK Duo.
Together, they write award-winning, internationally and USAT bestselling books, make music, create art, write screenplays and direct -- all the things.
Look for more from Karpov Kinrade in the Vampire Girl series, The Nightfall Chronicles and The Forbidden Trilogy. If you’re looking for their suspense and romance titles, you’ll find those under Alex Lux.
Check out their music by clicking on the Music tab.
They live in wine country California with their three offspring who have crazy creative genius oozing out of them in the form of music, art, performance, and all the things, and too many cats who all think they rule the world (spoiler alert: they do).
Sounds very interesting.
I saw dragons and had to come check it out. Thanks for sharing.
sherry @ fundinmental
Lux and Dmytry sound like they have a wonderful family life! What are their plans for the future?
Of Dreams and Dragons sounds great! Thank you
I was wondering what the author is working on next?
I was wondering what the author's writing process/routine is like?
I was wondering who is your favorite author?
If you book was made into a movie who would you want to star in it?
thanks this sounds great
I was wondering what you do when you get writer's block?
What's on your to read shelf these days?
What's your favorite book that has dragons in it?
What's your ultimate writing/career goal?
DO you have any book recommendations for us?
HOw long did you submit your work before you were published?
What are your plans for the holidays?
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