Synopses & Reviews
On a large dragon estate in Malacar, young Zarq Darquel's rebellious ways go unnoticed by the watchful eye of the Dragon Temple-until she accidentally captures the attention of an eccentric and dangerous dragonmaster and unleashes a storm of tragedy. Zarq and her delirious half-breed mother flee through the underworld of their land-from The Zone of the Dead to a sanctuary for outcast dragons, through discovery and persecution. Consumed with the desire for revenge, Zarq develops a taste for the highly addictive venom drawn from the dragons she has been taught to revere, and sinks into a realm of bizarre magics. Here, influenced by the divine grace of dragon memories, Zarq glimpses possibilities of revenge and social revolution; but to achieve such, she must defy not just the sexual taboos and patriarchal conventions of her society, but the Emperor who rules her nation.
"Set in Malacar, a land with a repressive patriarchal society that both worships and enslaves dragons, Cross's bold debut introduces headstrong nine-year-old Zarq Darquel, who lives a harsh but not completely unpleasant life as a member of the pottery clan on a dragon estate. When destitution forces her father to sell Waisi, Zarq's beautiful older sister, into sexual slavery, her mother, Kavarria, who belongs to the disdained Djimbi race, tries to save Waisi at all costs, but more tragedy follows. Zarq, her life governed by her mother's madness and obsession, eventually winds up as a sexually mutilated nun caring for retired bull dragons. Turning the fantasy clich of the underdog girl who dreams of dragon-mastery into a grim but fascinating coming-of-age tale, Cross scratches only the surface of this richly detailed, well-imagined world. Hints of a plot involving social and religious revolution hold promise for future installments of the Dragon Temple saga. Agent, Caitlin Blasdell at the Liza Dawson Agency. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The first in an exciting new series, "Touched by Venom" is a powerful debut novel by an author destined to rank among the fantasy genre's best.
About the Author
Janine Cross has published short fiction in various Canadian magazines and was nominated for an Aurora Award in 2002. Her mainstream fiction has appeared in newspapers and a local anthology, Shorelines. She has also published a literary novel.