Isle of Dragons Isle of Dragons Book 1 by L.A. Thompson Genre: YA Fantasy
Now with all new scenes!
Watch steampunk technology and high fantasy witchcraft clash in this heroine’s fast-paced, epic journey to rescue her father and reveal the secrets of the noble court.
On the run from the royal army in a giant mechanical centipede, sixteen-year-old Jade Sol embarks on a dangerous adventure to help her father escape from the Isle of Dragons—a land of untamed magic that some believe only exists in myth.
When Jade is cornered by soldiers, a mysterious witch named Miria Atkins rescues her, calling on ancient spirits from a magical realm to channel their mystical energy into light and matter. Jade begs Miria and the sorceress’s mechanist brother, Dan, to join her quest. The siblings resist at first, but their hearts soften when they hear of her father’s fate. Their own parents had attempted an expedition from Vansh to the Isle of Dragons years ago and never returned. Together, the trio journey across the feudal countryside and trek across the sea, uncovering hidden truths about themselves along the way. Die-hard readers of Angelique S. Anderson’s Dracosinum Tales and Jessica Drake’s Dragon Riders of Elantia series will find L. A. Thompson’s writing magnetic, impassioned, and clever in this novel’s twisting plot. The first in a trilogy. Click “Add to Cart” to join the action.
Toolbox in hand, she hurried back out to the machine’s side and flipped open a panel, waving off the steam emitting from the circuitry. Jade jerked her head in the direction of the rapidly encroaching tank. Steadying her breathing, she set down the toolbox. No time to tinker with it, Jade thought. She crossed her arms and held her palms upward, as if drawing energy into them. She closed her eyes and clapped her hands onto the machine. She opened her eyes. Nothing. Her hands fell to the side. She took a deep breath to steady her frayed nerves, blocking out the sounds around her. Jade crossed her wrists and once again clapped her hands onto the cold metal. A pale blue light ignited around her hands and flowed into the mechanisms. With a click and a whir, the machine roared back to life and became invisible once more.
Jade smiled with relief and triumph. She took several heavy breaths from the physical toll the magic had taken on her body. She closed the box and clambered back inside the metal beast’s mouth, throwing the toolbox beside her before snapping the centipede’s mouth shut with the flick of a switch. The centipede crept away from the forest floor and into the underbrush as the tank intruded on her location.
It ground to a halt, and the hatch cracked open. A dozen soldiers in white uniforms pounced from the machine, their heavy boots crunching against the snow.
A freckled woman of imposing height strode to the front, the gold insignia of a captain pinned to her cloak. Although Kaylen was only a few years older than Jade, she carried herself with an authority well beyond her years. She sniffed the chilled air irritably, surveying the landscape with a stern and piercing gaze.
“Page,” Kaylen barked. A teenage boy scurried to her side. “Are you sure you sighted her?”
“The reports said that a centipede patrol pod was spotted around these parts,” he said.
“All right, spread out and scour the forest,” Kaylen ordered. “We need to get her back to the capital as soon as we can.” The party split into groups and began their search.
Kaylen marched by the centipede’s round, eye-shaped windows. Jade shifted backward, the click of metal centipede legs whirring softly.
“Come out, Jade. There’s nothing you can do for your father now. Come home and all will be forgiven.”
Jade rolled her eyes. She drew her pod back farther, but a furious tapping on the metal walls made her pause. A small yet strong creature crawled atop the machine. After a couple of rapid scratches, a panel flew off, causing the search party to turn their attention in Jade’s direction. A yellow dragon jumped from the machine and slithered out into the open. They jumped back in amazement. It was only slightly bigger than a rat with long reedy wings folded on its back. The creature hissed at the gathering, slinging its whiplike tail in their direction.
One teenage boy choked back a laugh. “That’s a dragon?”
The rest of the party laughed, too. “This thing’s nothing like the one back in the capital,” said another boy.
“That’s enough. Let me handle it,” said Kaylen. The woman removed her spear from her side satchel and flicked on a switch, making the tip sizzle with electricity. The dragon’s eyes widened in fear and alarm before it spit a tiny ball of flame onto Kaylen’s glove, causing the glove to ignite. She clapped it against her side to put it out.
The creature paused, turning its attention away from the gathering. A blue light shone through the trees as someone emerged from deep within the forest. A small and stout-figured young woman, around Jade’s age, held a pan flute to her lips, but there was no sound. The round gemstone that hung around her neck swung side to side in a gentle rhythm with every step she took, giving off a soft glow that radiated throughout the forest.
That soft, radiating glow emanated from her chest, and Jade gasped when she traced the source to a round gemstone swinging from the girl’s neck with every step she took through the tree line. Could it be the fabled stone? Could she be the one? Jade inched closer, mind racing with a half-formed plan.
The dragon stood still, entranced. The young woman waved her hand toward the forest, and the dragon promptly skittered back into the underbrush. She turned to the awestruck crowd while wearing a look of detached amusement.
“How did you do that? What is that?” asked the page.
While the boy gawked in confused wonder at the pan flute, Jade saw a light spark in Kaylen’s eyes.
“No need to thank me.” The young woman’s voice was as sharp as splintered wood. “This is a special flute that only dragons can hear. Tegu dragons are skittish but volatile things. You need to be cautious around them.”
“A fine necklace you have,” said Kaylen, eyes narrowed and shrewd. “What is the source of its glow?”
“Oh, this old thing?” the girl lifted the pendant on her palm. “Just a bit of sea glass, worth nothing but sentiment. I’d love to tell you the tale of it, but I was just passing through. I really must be going.” She gave a casual wave and turned to leave.
“It is magic. You’re a witch!” said Kaylen, her grip tightening on the crackling spear.
“Hardly,” the girl scoffed, turning back to them with a sigh. “That’s just a trick of the light, and the dragon?” She waggled the pan flute. “Just a simple trick I picked up.” She slid the instrument inside her robes.
Whispers of “magic” weaved through the party as they continued to eye her with suspicion.
“This is magic.” She crossed her arms and closed her palms, then opened them to reveal a lump of blue powder. She threw it to the ground, creating a puff of smoke that engulfed her. The group’s coughs and sputters were followed by mocking, disembodied laughter from the shaded depths of the forest.
“You shouldn’t have wasted your time on me. It seems your target has escaped.” When the smoke cleared, the soldiers were left standing alone in the clearing.
The Hidden Library Isle of Dragons Book 2
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ A jaw-dropping sequel to Readers’ Favorite Award Winner of 2021, Isle of Dragons!
L.A. Thompson’s iconic steampunk heroine is back in this richly imaginative quest to find a mysterious magic library that holds the key to winning the war against the corrupt King Jarrod.
Jade and Kaylen, childhood friends turned rivals, now race to find a portal located in an ancient library hidden from mankind for years that will either doom or save their world. To follow the king's orders and regain all she's lost, Kaylen must decide what, and who, she is willing to sacrifice. Can Jade, the dragon-taming witch Miria, and the pragmatic pod inventor Dan race against the clock and stop Kaylen from opening the gateway between realms before it’s too late?
Packed with fast-paced action, Jade’s newest adventure introduces new friends and enemies, and magic obstacles beyond anything Jade has seen before. Hang on tight as mysterious revelations unfold about the Isle of Dragons and its inhabitants.
Fans of Jeff Gunzel’s The Legend of the Gate Keeper series and Cecilia Dominic’s The Art of Piracy will be enthralled with L.A. Thompson’s brilliant and magnetic storytelling.
Jade looked around the room to see mine soldiers falling left and right. Some were bound with magic ropes or the prisoners’ chains. Others lay dead at rebels’ feet. Though a few still put up a fight, just as many were fleeing back up the stairs. They had won. Salen knew it, too. He thrust his spear in the air and let out a victory cry. Many prisoners joined in the cheering, but Onya turned her attention to Jade.
“Were you going to ask about your father?” she said.
Jade’s heart leapt into her throat. “Yes! You know him?”
Onya nodded. “When the other workers and I told the tale of how we ended up here —” she eyed Jade down her nose, and Jade flushed with guilt,”—he recognized my description of you. He approached me, wanting to know if you were all right.”
“Where is he?” Jade said, hardly able to breathe as she scanned the vast space. “Are there other active shafts? Is he deeper in the mine?”
“He’s not here anymore,” said Onya. “He escaped.”
“What? When? How?” Jade stammered.
“These shiny portals started appearing all over the mine the last few weeks,” said Onya.
“A portal!” Dan said, mostly to Jade. “Like the one Thomas went through.”
“The Mechanic was the first to escape through one when it appeared in the middle of the mess hall, but it was a rough business. There was a nasty fight with the guards. Your dad wanted to be stealthier about his escape. He made himself a lockpicking tool from a swiped dinner spoon, and he bided his time. One night, a portal appeared during a guard shift change, and he got himself and a few other people loose. He ran through the portal first, and the moment he disappeared, so did the portal. Poof! Into thin air. The other people he freed were caught by the guards and punished, but he got out.”
Jade went numb, unsure how to feel. Her father wasn’t a prisoner…but that meant he was still missing, stranded on an island swarming with untold dangers. “That portal, is it still popping up?’ asked Jade.
“On and off. But you don’t where it will lead,” warned Onya. “They were desperate, but for all anyone knows, they went right off the side of a cliff, or into the middle of a dragon’s den.”
“Where did it last come up?” Jade asked.
“Do you have a death wish?” Onya groaned.
“Please,” Jade begged. “I’ve come all the way to the isle to find him. I can’t go back to the camp without answers.”
Onya sighed. “It’s on this level, just a little farther down.” She gestured to the general direction that it had appeared in with a flick of her finger.
Jade stepped toward the spot and sat cross-legged, staring at the mine wall.
“Jade.” Dan knelt beside her. “You don’t know how long it will be until it opens again. You can’t just sit and wait here for who knows how long! You have to get back to the base with the rest of us.”
Jade offered him a small, regretful smile. “You should go and help evacuate the prisoners. I’ll figure out a way to make it back. You wouldn’t have another communicator on you, would you?”
Dan shook his head as he got to his feet. “Please,” he extended his large, calloused hand to her. “I know you’re worried about your dad, but we need you.”
Jade’s voice caught in her throat. She didn’t want to abandon the people in the mine after rescuing them, but she couldn’t walk away and lose her best chance of finding her father. Not now.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered.
Dan’s broad shoulders slumped. He shouted “Coming” to Salen, who was beckoning the boy to his side as he ushered prisoners from the mine. Amos busied himself with helping people from the mine as well. Onya rolled her eyes before following Dan. However, she paused to turn and shot Jade a half-smile and a nod. Jade returned the nod and focused on the spot where the portal had opened. Salen’s commands and the chatter of the prisoners soon died down until she was alone. The dimly lit fire that hung on the mine wall illuminated Jade’s hands. They had more calluses from her time on the Atkins’ family farm and during her travels to the isle. She had thrown away the life of a noble and declared herself to be the thing King Jarrod hated most to his face: a witch. But she still didn’t know if she truly was a witch or how she could use that power to protect people. The upper levels rattled lightly with the footsteps of people evacuating the mines. She peered over her shoulder. There were people who needed her now, while she sat and waited for something that may never come. What am I doing? Jade thought as a line of blue magic threaded its way up the wall, creating a crack of light that grew wider the farther it went. Jade took a breath and pushed herself into a standing position, not allowing herself to look away before dashing into the portal.
Author L.A. Thompson knew she wanted to be a writer at a young age. She longed to create worlds and characters that would draw people in and transport them to another time and place, which she achieves in her debut novel Isle of Dragons.
L.A. loves fantasy and witchcraft and by combining those elements in her stories with different historical periods, she creates a world that’s in an industrial era caught between technology and magic, exploring the two’s unique interplay.
L.A. believes that characters are the central driving force of any good story. She likes to create characters that are deeply flawed and complex. She hopes that her readers can be transported to another world of magic through her books, yet also find a story that’s rooted in a strong sense of family connections, no matter the form that may take.
I had the basic concept for Isle of Dragons in my mind for years and it gradually developed as I finished my Master’s degree. I wanted to write a fantasy novel about a sheltered girl who leaves the life she’s known to uncover the corruption hidden from her and embrace her identity for the first time. The joy of writing in the fantasy genre for me is the mix of escapism and social commentary. It transports you to another world while also saying something about our own.
While I enjoyed the aesthetic of traditional medieval fantasy in the form of Lord of the Rings, I wanted to do something new with the genre that would inform the worldbuilding and themes on a fundamental level. I always found it a little strange and disappointing in Harry Potter that Hogwarts completely rejects technology for magic. Because I would have found the interplay between the two fascinating. And then the idea of incorporating machines into this world alongside the magical aspects came to me. The technological has overridden the magical in the country of Vansh, where Isle of Dragons initially takes place.