- The Pit Dragon Trilogy
The Pit Dragon Trilogy is a series of
science fictionand fantasynovels by Jane Yolen. The anthology is simply all of the three books in one. The books are set in the far future, on a desert planet called Austar IV, which has a history and climate similar to that of Australia[http://search.barnesandnoble.com/A-Sending-of-Dragons/Jane-Yolen/e/9780152051280 Barnes & Noble.com - Books: A Sending of Dragons (Pit Dragon Trilogy Series #3), by Jane Yolen, Paperback] ] . The planet was originally a place where criminals and convicts could go instead of their conventional punishment. For many generations the outcasts had adapted to their new environment and even formed a well functioning society, focusing on a caste system of paid bonders and their owners. The amazing feature of the planet is that it does hold life, but very little, and the prime species on the planet are its dragons. They were savage, and very dangerous when they were first found. The humans eventually managed to tame some of the dragons, and train them. They are now used either as food, to breed more dragons, or as ways of making money. The prime money making event on Austar is in "the pit" where owners would bring their dragons in to fight others. People will gambleand some would make lots of money, although some would probably lose big as well. In books two and three evidence is given that the dragons are far more intelligent than most humans perceive.
Book 1: Dragon's Blood
The story starts with a bond boy named Jakkin, working with many others in Sarkkhan's worm farm/nursery (a common name for a dragon master's place).
Early on in the story, Jakkin plans to steal a baby dragon from the farm to raise. In this way, Jakkin hopes train the dragon to fight and to earn him enough money to buy himself out of bond. He eventually pulls it off by sheer coincidence after having been badly injured during the day's work, as one of the hatchling dragons was "miscounted", thus no one one would notice if it was missing (Though it is eventually revealed that Sarkkhan had purposely given him the opportunity to steal the hatchling, knowing that Jakkin was literate and could read the breeder's chart posted on the door).
Jakkin stows the tiny dragon away to an oasis that he had previously found. Akki, a girl at the nursery, eventually discovers his secret. She helps him, and a strong relationship builds. After a full year of training and growing, Akki arranges a way for Jakkin and his beautiful red dragon to get to the pits. The red dragon’s first battle is hard won, and as it turned out too late for Jakkin, Sarkkhan was watching the fight. Fortunately, Sarkkhan took well to the idea of Jakkin raising the dragon, even admitting that he had known about Jakkin’s secret all along. Triumphant, Jakkin receives gold from his win and names his wonderful dragon Heart’s Blood.
As the story continues, Jakkin finds out more about the love/hate relationship between Sarkkhan and Akki. In the end, Akki leaves the nursery…
Book 2: Heart’s Blood
Jakkin is now a master and no longer a bonder. However, he still works at the nursery to pay off his debt to Sarkkhan. It’s been almost a year since Heart’s Blood’s first fight and the day Akki left. Heart's blood is pregnant, and Errikin is Jakkin's bonder.
One day, a Senator named Golden comes with a note from Akki. Golden wants Jakkin to spy on the rebels. Austar is a Protectorate, not a Federation Planet. If Austar became a Federation planet, the master and bonder system, as well as Pit fights, will become obsolete. Austar is useful to the Federation as one of the few violent planets left, but Austar would pay taxes if it joined the Federation. If the rebels got their way, the Federation would benefit neither way. Golden's job is to know what the rebels are up to, and to prevent them from using violence. Golden tells Jakkin that Akki needs his help and wants to know if he is a man. Although Jakkin does not know what would be best for Austar, and he does not want to leave Heart's blood, he eventually agrees, in order to rescue Akki.
Heart's blood lays her eggs, and five hatch. Jakkin bonds with the hatchlings by letting them taste his blood. A note is sent telling Jakking to meet at Rokk Major. Jakkin spends the next few days very annoyed with Erikkin, and training S'Blood.
S'Blood wins the fight but is hamstrung, and killed in the Stews. Jakkin vows never to let this happen to his dragon. Jakkin gets lost, and meets Dr. Henkky who tells him not to trust Golden.
Jakkin returns to Rokk Major with Heart's Blood, and wins the pit fights. After going to bars with Sarkkhan and drinking chikkar, a man dies in front of Jakkin, telling him to be careful of the Rebel Hideout. The cell leader replaces Jakkin with #3, the man who died, and Jakkin is reunited with Akki, at the cell meeting. They are given the task of taking a package to the Pit, and told if they open it, it will explode. Heart's Blood wins the fight, and they tell Sarkkhan about the package. He tells them he will guard it, and they should return to the Nursery. Leaving in the truck, they witness an explosion that destroys Rokk Major's pit, and kills Sarkkhan. Golden meets them back at the nursery, but the Wardens are not far behind. The Rebels framed Jakkin, and Erikkin betrays him to the Wardens. Likkarn tells them to run to the mountains, and stays to fight the Wardens, using his weed fury.
Golden, Jakkin, and Akki flee to the mountains, but Golden is badly injured. Pursued by the Wardens, they are forced to leave Golden behind in a cave which they had sheltered in during Dark After, using Heart's Blood's body as a door and heater. Jakkin manumits the traitorous Erikkin, and Heart's Blood dies from a stinger shot in the neck, her body saving Jakkin and Akki. The only shelter they have during Dark After, is Heart's Blood's body, so they crawl into her birth sac. In the morning, Jakkin and Akki are reborn out of the dragon blood, and became the first real human Austarians, linked to each other and Heart's Blood's five hatchlings.
Book 3: A Sending of Dragons
Jakkin and his beloved Akki are currently living in the mountains, having escaped from some oppressive situations that caused them to be on the run. Jakkin and Akki are now able to communicate the way the dragons can, due to their "rebirth" from Heart's Blood carcass. Threatened by the sighting of a strange helicopter, the two decide, rather than fight, to try and hide by taking refuge in the labyrinth of caves inside of the mountain. In the caves, they meet dragons completely different from anything they've encountered and a strange people who think dull thoughts in dull colors and have other peculiar traditions and dragon-like habits. After witnessing very sanguine (bloody) and very disturbing rituals, in which dragons were sacrificed at the birth of every child, Jakkin and Akki escape, taking a few dragons along with them.
Book 4: Dragon’s Heart
It is currently in first draft and will most likely to be called Dragon's Heart, but that is just a working title. It is set to be released in 2008 if all works to plan, though according to Jane Yolen "...in writing NOTHING ever works to plan!" [http://www.janeyolen.com/faqs.html Jane Yolen's official Web Site] ]
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