Kingdom of the Golden Dragon
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|This article does not cite any references (sources). (August 2011)|
|Original title||El Reino del Dragón de Oro|
|Translator||Margaret Seyers Peyden|
Published in English
|LC Class||PZ7.A43912 Ki 2004|
|Preceded by||City of the Beasts|
|Followed by||Forest of the Pygmies|
|This section requires expansion. (April 2008)|
The plot is set in the Forbidden Kingdom, a remote Himalayan country. A Buddhist lama named Tensing takes his disciple, Prince Dil Bahadur, to the Valley of the Yeti to find healing plants that grow nowhere else. They are ringed with armed yetis just as they drink in the sights, but the matriarch saves them and says that the fast-dwindling yetis have lost their forebears’ mental prowess.
The lamas help them milk the goats to feed their cubs, and it turns out that the local fountains are toxic. The beasts improve once they shun the founts, and to thank the strangers they show them the plants they want.
Meanwhile, Alex Cold leaves Brazil for New York along with his grandmother Kate, an International Geographic reporter. He gives her the diamond eggs Nadia found near the Amazon and tells her to raise money for the People of the Mist—who he met in the prequel—as well as for other Indios. Kate suspects the eggs’ value and shows them to Isaac Rosenblat, a New York jeweler who confirms their unparalleled worth; he has never seen like-sized stones. Six months later, the Diamond Foundation is formed with the help of Ludovic Leblanc, an anthropologist who is Kate’s nemesis. Now tasked with writing about the Forbidden Kingdom, she takes Nadia and Alex with her despite her employer’s misgivings.
At the same time, the world’s second-richest man—who is called the Collector—pays a crime lord known as the Specialist to steal the kingdom’s national treasure, a golden dragon with unrivaled magical skills. The Collector wants to use its gifts of prophecy to predict stock and make himself the world’s richest man.
Soon after landing in Asia, Kate and her friends are caught up in a plot to kidnap indigenous girls. When Nadia, who is mistaken for a native, is captured along with her newfound friend Pema, Alex and Kate enlist the prince, his teacher, the kingdom’s forces, and the yetis to track down the abductees.
- Alex is vain but affable, and his greatest fear is losing his mother to cancer. He can morph himself into a black jaguar, his totemic animal.
- His closest friend is Nadia Santos, a Brazilian teenager who is never seen without Borobá, her loyal monkey. Her father César is loath to send her to Asia. She can turn herself into a white eagle and make herself invisible.
- Kate Cold’s love for Alex is undisputed; so is her dislike for sentiment.
- The 42-year-old Collector made his money in the computer market. He is greedy, lonely, and fairly uncouth despite his sharp intellect.
- The ingenious Specialist runs an organization which, thanks to his technical expertise, can murder or kidnap anyone and steal whatever his clients want. His real name is kept secret.
- King Dorji is a wise man who lets feelings color his judgment. His incomplete spiritual training left his mind-reading skills stunted, a flaw that marks him off from his ancestors.
- Eighteen-year-old Prince Dil Bahadur is mature but knows far too little about other countries.
- Tensing prepares the prince for his duties and hones his spiritual talents.
- Tex Armadillo is a thewy American horse breeder who flies to Asia at the same time as the protagonists. Alex questions his morals even when Tex saves his life.
- Judit Kinski is a cultured, well-traveled landscaper who the king appoints to plant tulips. She is a beautiful European with raven hair, hazel eyes, and a white forelock. The king is so smitten that he proposes.
- Pema is a pretty 15-year-old who determines to save her country. She and the prince end up wedding for love.
- The Specialist hires the Sect of Scorpions (also called the Blue Warriors) to steal the dragon.
- Timothy Bruce and Joel González are International Geographic photographers who come along to take shots of the statue.
- Original imprint: ISBN 0-06-059170-6 (2003 Rayo, NY)
- English editions: ISBN 0-00-717748-8 (2005 HarperPerennial, UK); ISBN 0-06-058942-6 (2004 HarperCollins, US)