Princess Una of Parumvir has come of age and will soon be married. She dreams of a handsome and charming prince, but when the first suitor arrives, she finds him stodgy and boring. Prince Aethelbald from the mysterious land of Farthestshore has traveled far to prove his love--and also to bring hushed warnings of danger. A dragon is rumored to be approaching Parumvir.
Una, smitten instead with a more dashing prince, refuses Aethelbald's offer--and ignores his warnings. Soon the Dragon King himself is in Parumvir, and Una, in giving her heart away unwisely, finds herself in grave danger. Only those courageous enough to risk everything have a hope of fighting off this advancing evil.
Debut author Stengl conjures the fantastic world of Parumvir. The kingdom's Princess Una is courted by Prince Aethelbald of Farthestshore. She, however, finds him insufficiently romantic and much too boring in his concerns for her safety as a dragon approaches the kingdom. When Una makes the wrong choice, catastrophe ensues for the princess and her family, and love, courage, and trust are needed when darkness engulfs the kingdom. Allegory is hard at work here occasionally too hard, when the intended meaning drives the plot instead of the plot being driven by the momentum of events. But Stengl does let her imagination run in inventing some delightful things and scenes: the Twelve-Year Market that appears in its own good time and sells fairy goods; a clever blind cat who is invariably underfoot and has, of course, a secret. Since they never get enough to read in this small market niche, Christian fantasy fans will be particularly enthralled by this first in the Tales of Goldstone Wood. A clever debut from an author worth watching.