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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Anne Wilson's psychological thriller, Here Be Dragons, is aptly subtitled A Tale of Mortals, Myths and Mystery. Anna has thrown caution to the wind and decided to leave her teaching position in England to live in her family's summer flat in sunny Mallorca. She has already published a children's book and hopes to make her living continuing to do so. Her newest book stars a dragon and his princely companion. Anna's apartment is particularly hot and steamy in the humid Mallorca summer, and she spends hours typing out her notes on her laptop in the local coffee bar. One day, Anna sits down at a table near an older, but intriguing, gentleman. His name is Nils: he's a Danish ex-farmer who co-owns a restaurant and lives in a cave high over the city and the bay. Anna has had trouble picturing her dragon's cave in her mind and thinks visiting Nils' cave might solve her problem. She's drawn to the enigmatic and powerful man, but there's something not quite right. First, there's the locked room behind the bathroom and then there's the fact that Nils, who is very set in his ways, is slowly distancing Anna from her friends on the island.
Once I opened Anne Wilson's Here Be Dragons, I found myself enchanted by the dreamy, otherworldly environment of Mallorca in the summer. Anna and her fellow ex-pats live on a fairy-tale island, albeit a hot and humid one, surrounded by water and the exotic. Nils is courtly, virile, and absolutely terrifying, and Anna, while attracted to him, unconsciously casts him as the cave-living dragon in her story -- not the handsome prince as Nils suggests. Wilson's familiarity with Mallorca and its residents makes the island come alive in the reader's imagination and there are moments, like the Baha'i meeting, that really resonate. Best of all, interspersed throughout Here Be Dragons is some of the most lovely and lyrical nature writing I've encountered in some time. Anne Wilson's Here Be Dragons is complex but never complicated. There's a satisfying mystery to solve, an engaging heroine to follow and marvelous, lyrical prose in which to indulge.