There aren’t many places in the world that are more comfortable to sleep than by a river, with your little sister and best friend breathing rhythmically on either side of you, and your head nestled on the gently heaving flank of a two-tailed brown and green dog.
But my eyes are wide open as I sink into the undulating depths of the stars, studded like jewels in the contoured blackness that envelops us from above.
Lying by the river one night, eleven-year-old Yari spies an odd green glow along the ground — a glow that she soon realizes is a cool green fire consuming her village and its surrounding fields. When the wind shifts, she senses not the normal smell of burning things, but the nauseating, stomach-roiling, maddening odor of death. This is what the breath of the ancient dragons in the tales of old must have smelled like.
The Wandering Exiles Stories are a planned YA trilogy telling the story of the people — not to mention the two-tailed dogs and striped elephants, the giant racing birds called ossersitches and the giant, intelligent rodents — of the village of Quiet Shaldas. Uprooted and exiled, Yari and her neighbors set off on a nearly decade-long journey to find a prophesied new home across the mountains and a desert so vast that no one has ever seen its other side. Running away from the caravan, Yari discovers his identity as a trans boy as well as his ties to the ancient dragons awakening within the earth. As the caravaners fight a predatory colonial power and struggle against the suspicions of the locals in the areas they pass through, they must reconsider their relationships with each other, with their traditions and myths, and with themselves.