Because he has a secret he wants to keep, Johannes von Brock needs a certain kind of traveling companion—and he thinks he’s found someone perfect for the job. Ten-year-old Ansel is a smart boy, but he’s mute, and has been since his mother died suddenly when he was seven.

When Brock comes through their medieval village, Ansel’s father virtually gives him to the man, and so the lad finds himself serving an ersatz knight on an impossible quest: dragon hunting.

Award-winning British author Philip Reeve takes an old story and turns it on its ear in No Such Thing as Dragons, a beautifully written adventure story with surprising touches of humor and insight. At the heart of this compelling tale is a youngster forced by circumstances to be more than he dreams he can be.

Brock and his silent charge are headed for the village of Knochen, where, so they say, a dragon ravages the countryside. Though Brock has been hired to slay the beast, Ansel learns from his cheerfully honest boss that dragons aren’t real, and that Brock is basically a con artist. When they arrive at Knochen, they are met by an old acquaintance of Brock’s, a friar of dubious morality named Father Flegel. He informs them that the villagers have taken a young girl named Else up to a high pasture and left her there as a sacrifice to the monster. As Ansel hears the tales of the villagers, he begins to wonder if there may be something to the stories after all, and as he, Brock and a reluctant Flegel climb the mountain in search of the little girl, signs point to just one conclusion: Brock may be wrong!

No Such Thing As Dragons is a thoughtful and rewarding story that will tempt young readers—especially boys—to quit those video games for a while and get drawn into the infinitely more vivid worlds of their own imagination.

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