Meghan looked directly into the dragon's topaz eyes for the first time... She had a sensation of time rolling away, vast vistas of years, the swing of planets and stars. Sunsets bloomed above her head, clouds raced away, the world spun on its axis and the dragon's eyes glittered cold...
A tale of dark mysteries, dire enchantments and dangerous quests, Dragonclaw is the first in a gripping fantasy series, The Witches of Eileanan. Published in the US under its series title, it debuted at No 8 on Locus Magazine’s bestseller list, and was short-listed for the 1997 Aurealis Awards in Australia.
Isabeau the Foundling, discovered as a babe in the roots of a tree, is raised by an old wood witch in the shadow of Dragonclaw, mountain of the dragons. From Meghan of the Beasts, Isabeau learns herb-lore and the languages of animals, but dreams of the old days, when witches were the greatest power in the land. Before she was born, an evil sorceress cast a spell on the Rìgh, winning his love and turning him against the Coven. The great Witch Towers are now all abandoned ruins, magical creatures are hunted down and the Coven’s ancient wisdom is lost.
Only the Cripple, enigmatic leader of the rebels, fights to undermine the Banrìgh’s power as her dark plans slowly come to fruition. Little does Isabeau know that she is to play a key role in the battle against the Ensorcellor, for she has a strange and mysterious destiny.
As Isabeau is initiated into the Coven on her sixteenth birthday, soldiers sent to hunt down dragons stumble across the clandestine ceremony, and her peaceful life is torn apart by blood and fire. Alone she must set out on a perilous quest that will bring her face to face with her own destiny. For Meghan must go and confront the dragons and, afraid she will never return, entrusts the sacred Key of the Coven to Isabeau, who must carry it to safety. Without the Key, the witches can never release the Lodestar, an sphere of great power that was locked away on the Day of Betrayal.
Meanwhile, the sea-dwelling Fairgean stir, children vanish in the night, and the dragons - the most ancient and dangerous wisdom in the land - rise against the Ensorcellor.