Daw, August 2002, 23.95, 376 pp.
A year and a half ago, graduate student Ben Collins followed a rat into a storeroom and wound up in the Kingdom of Barakhai. In that land, all humans except the Royal Family were cursed, forced to shape shift into other bodies for half the day or night. When Ben left that world for his own, he was badly injured and needed medical treatment. Now Zylas the white rat says Barakhai needs him once more. Ben feels like Barakhai is home and Earth is just the orphanage where he was raised so he must act.
There are two young dragons held prisoner by the king and they have the power to remove the curse that force the humans to shift into another form. Zylas and Ben concoct a dangerous plan that includes using an old enemy who has the king's ear.
THE LOST DRAGONS OF BARAKHAI is an adult fairy tale with a handsome hero (make that bumbling grad student), a fair maiden (who spends half her life as a fair horse) and a rebel leader (who remains human even when he turns into a rat). Mickey Zucker Reichert is a fantastic storyteller who provides fantasy readers with some of the better tales.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner