Paul Cude’s “Bentwhistle the Dragon in a threat from the past” is a delightful, entertaining and well written story, able to transport you to a hidden world which is imaginative yet believable due to the writer’s creativity and ability to write descriptively.
The story begins by retelling the story of George and the dragon, with a unique twist which sets up the rest of the story. We then visit the present and are introduced to the main protagonist Peter Bentwhistle, an average teen on the surface, is actually a dragon whose purpose, like all dragons, is to protect and guide their human counterparts. Peter thoroughly enjoys sports, both human sports especially hockey and dragon sport like Laminium ball and sand skimming. These dragon sports which the author describes are well thought out and his ability to describe rules and accounts of games make it easy for the reader to visualise. Sports play a big role within the book; the author’s love of sports is obvious throughout the narrative and the importance and benefits of sporting activity such as comradery, team spirit and the feeling of accomplishment are key themes. The benefits of team sports are not the only messages within the book, as the author also touches upon other issues such as smoking and binge drinking making it a relatable story for teens and young adults.
The dragon world the author has created is very imaginative, magical and wonderful. His descriptions and the details of dragon habits, lifestyles and infrastructure make it very believable. His accounts of the food stalls stick in my mind and the creative foods that the dragon vendors offer, minus the charcoal, made me peckish. All details from the nursery rings, that are a kind of dragon school, the underground travel system and networks to the world above and the many inhabitants and shops Peter interacts with indicate that the author has carefully considered each aspect of dragon life and his imagination is both vivid and vast.
Peter is portrayed as an unlikely hero throughout the book, usually at the end of taunts from larger dragons, he can typically count on his loyal friends Tank and Richie when they are around. Both characters have their own unique personalities and the banter between the friends is enjoyable and as with the dialogue throughout is not forced. Instead it flows as if it were a real conversation between good friends.
Peter, when in human form, works at the Cropptech mining facility and is content with his job, in fact he loves his job, that is until the dark, mean, menacing character of Manson arrives. From the get go Peter does not trust Manson and as the story progresses a rivalry between the two grows. This leads to confrontations both on and off the hockey pitch. Mysterious goings on occur once Manson appears including the death of another dragon, something that happens rarely to dragons. Can Peter unravel the mystery behind Manson and his sudden arrival? Can Peter convince his friends that Manson poses some threat, a threat that even he is not sure of?
The author’s descriptive writing style creates settings and characters that the reader can envisage and connect with. On the other hand, at times some of the more tedious descriptions could have been omitted as it did affect the pace of the story. Another criticism is the length of the chapters, as they are so long it would mean I had to stop reading between chapters, something I don’t like doing. Breaking up the chapters would have made it a more effortless read for me. However, these two minor points did not take away from the story itself and I still enjoyed the book greatly.
A fantastic, fun filled story the whole family can enjoy, aimed predominantly at children and teenagers, I would also recommend this book to those adults like me, young at heart. Read Bentwhistle the Dragon and the threat from the past if you enjoyed books like Harry Potter. I cannot wait to read the second book Bentwhistle the Dragon in A Chilling Revelation.
About the Author
Paul says, “The completion of this book wouldn’t have come about if not for the patience and understanding of my wife
and two children. If not for them I would have failed at least a dozen times over. My wife particularly deserves thanks for her hard work, dedication and enthusiasm, and for putting up with me asking her all sorts of silly questions at all sorts of
silly times of the day and night. Rachel, Jaina and Poppy, thank
you. I’m the luckiest man alive to have such a wonderful wife and children. I love you with all of my heart.”
Since the start of 2011, Paul has been working in a wonderful school as a Teaching Assistant, a job he enjoys more than any he has ever had. He hopes to continue in this role for a very long time.