Inspiring Young Readers

posted on 04 Jan 2024

Three Tasks for a Dragon by Eoin Colfer and P.J. Lynch

Irish author, Eoin Colfer – he of Artemis Fowl fame – has written a very modern ‘traditional’ tale of quests, treachery, dragons, maidens in distress, a magic curse and the power of love that will keep readers of all ages enthralled. The story comes illustrated by the brilliant P.J. Lynch, whose vigorous and colourful full and part-page drawings give the overall package the sumptuous feel of a gift book.

Following the death of his father, the last Wulfson king, Prince Lir, who now lives with his stepmother, should take on the title from his father. But Prince Lir is no warrior, he is more interested in using his brains than his muscles and really has no interest in ruling. His stepmother and her natural son, Prince Delbayne contrive to use the traditions of the kingdom to force the mild-mannered Prince Lir to accept the role of ‘questor’ – to take on the quest set for him by anyone posting their challenge on the ‘questing pole’. Lir finds himself faced with this:

“…My daughter Cethlenn was taken by the great dragon Lasvarg to the island. I would have her home safely.”

Surely this must be an impossible mission?

On the Isle of Salt however, the dragon is not what he used to be. His fire has gone out – literally. He’s also got a broken wing that has healed badly and so he’s become “an instrument of punishment for the crown. I crush enemies of the wolfhound queen and her conniving son.”

It’s almost as if something is keeping the dragon in thrall. Meanwhile Cethlenn spends her time in the dragon’s captivity treading fruit for the wine the dragon drinks.

Prince Lir might not be a warrior but he’s clever and when he arrives on the island he resolves to use his cunning and knowledge to complete the three tasks that will release the maiden from the dragon.

Hold tight for quite a ride as Lir makes himself indispensable to Lasvarg (you’ll need to hold your breath as he resets the dragon’s broken wing) and Cethlenn, who captures Lir’s heart, turns out to be a whole lot more than just your average maiden in distress.

Will the curse cast by the evil Delbayne keep Lir and Cethlenn apart forever or are the pair destined to find each other despite the odds?

Well, I’m not going to tell you – you’ll have to read it for yourself.

But, as I indicated at the outset, the thrilling story is only half of the pleasure of this book because the multi-award winning P.J. Lynch provides fabulously textured illustrations that will capture your imagination just as powerfully. 

Available now from Walker Books, you should be able to get a copy from your local independent bookshop – who will, of course, be happy to order it for you if they don’t have it on their shelves.


Terry Potter

January 2024