Alan F. Troop, Dragon Moon (Penguin Putnam, 2003)

Dragon Moon is an attempt to mix a horror story and a fantasy story.

Peter DelaSangre lives on an island near Miami with his four year old son Henri. We learn that Henri's mom, Elizabeth, died four years ago at the same time Henri was born, and that Peter and Henri visit the grave each day.

Peter allows Henri to go out and play, knowing that nothing on the island can hurt Henri irreversibly. Henri goes to the shore, to play with their pack of guard dogs. One of the dogs gets upset and bites Henri. Henri yells out with pain, and pushes the dog off of him, hurting the dog in the process. Henri heals himself while watching the dog carefully to see if he will attack again. It turns out that Peter and Henri are weredragons; they can willingly change shapes between human and dragon, and can even shift to another human shape if they need to.

Peter has not been off the island for four years now, ever since Elizabeth died. His company, LaMar Associates, is run by Arturo Gomez — a person he can fully trust — so he has no problems staying home and raising his son. The one thing that bothers him is that he misses his wife, Elizabeth. He knows that her sister is about to come to age, and he wants to try and wed her. But he will have to travel to Jamaica to do this, and so he starts bringing Henri to the mainland, to Miami, to get him used to being around other people.

The first time they go to the city, Peter and Henri go to their offices, where a secretary named Rita asks Peter to call her, mentioning that something bad is going to happen. Apparently, the company's lawyer, Ian Tindall, is planning to take over an island neighboring Peter's home, thus depriving him of the privacy he enjoys so much. This would also be a serious threat, because people might discover his real identity, that of a dragon. Peter asks Arturo to "handle" the matter, and is assured that it will be "handled" quickly and quietly.

A few months later, Peter and Henri are off to Jamaica, and Peter finds out that someone is trying to kill him and take over his empire...

This book reminded me of what Anne Rice did with vampires. It shows dragons who try to lead normal lifestyles — they feel compassion when they kill, and they try to help others, killing only when there is no other choice.

The book is written very well. It's light, and the suspense builds up gradually but stays there all the time. The characters are believeable, and their interactions are quite real. There are many surprises throughout, so you won't find yourself bored. The end is pretty much what you might expect, but it leaves things open, so I assume there will be more stories to come.

My recommendation? You really should read this book, it's worth every minute of the time.

[Guy Soffer]

GMR has also reviewed the first book in this series, The Dragon DelaSangre.