Dragoncharm by Graham Edwards tells the story of Fortune, one of the new strain of dragons known as Naturals. Together with his Charmed friend, Cumber – a gold-winged dragon of the old charmed order – Fortune sets out on an epic quest to discover the truth about the turning of the world and the decay of charm. Along the way they encounter some of the ancient races with which they share this failing world – the faeries and the ancient trolls and the immortal, inscrutable basilisk, awakened at last from its long and dreamless sleep.
But it’s Fortune who must finally take up the challenge of the dreaded Maze of Covamere and face what lies beyond even the world of charm. To help him he will need the strength and love of his friends.
Fortune’s story continues in Dragonstorm.
- “A must for all dragon fans” Starburst
- “A powerful story full of adventure and heroes” Suite101
- Dragoncharm was nominated for Best Novel in the 1995 British Fantasy Society Awards.
The story behind Dragoncharm
Dragoncharm was my first novel. It was directly inspired by William Horwood’s Duncton Wood, which in turn reminded me of a childhood favourite: Richard Adams’s Watership Down. Believe it or not, it’s not such a big jump from rabbits to dragons.
There’s a wealth of great stories featuring anthropomorphic animals – the genre stretches back to Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows and beyond. I wondered if anybody had ever tried it with mythical creatures and couldn’t think of a single example. Once I’d got that far, I couldn’t think of a better creature to feature than the dragon.
The cast of Dragoncharm is made up almost exclusively of dragons. No people, no wizards, no damsels in distress. I was determined to put dragons centre-stage. Oddly, I never thought of it as a fantasy: I was writing about what our world was really like, back when dragons ruled the skies. Beyond that, well, I wanted to create a big, romantic adventure with big, romantic characters … who just happen to have big, romantic wings. I hope I succeeded.
As well as being published in the UK and US, Dragoncharm has also been translated into German and Hungarian.
The movie that nearly was
I had several meetings with director Bob Keen at his Image Animation headquarters at Pinewood Studios. Bob produced a short promotional trailer using CGI and animatronics superimposed over live-action backgrounds, creating a look similar to that seen in the BBC’s Walking With Dinosaurs. Bob’s team came up with some interesting solutions to the problems of portraying dragons on screen. My dragons are characters, not monsters, so their faces had to be instantly recognisable and able to express a wide range of emotion. The traditional long dragon snout is hard to animate for lip-synch, hence the shorter, stubbier look they came up with.
The Image Animation team had a really good handle on the story and characters. And they made some really beautiful animatronic heads. Some of the scenes in the trailer looked great, some ropey. But the trailer was only ever an exercise, to see what was and wasn’t feasible. Also, this was way back in 1996, before CGI had really left the nursery. Despite that, animator Rory Fellowes injected real character into his CG creations. Given the current state-of-the-art in character animation and visual effects, it would be fascinating to see what could be achieved now.