Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Named of the Dragon” as Want to Read:
Named of the Dragon
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Named of the Dragon

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  7,062 ratings  ·  760 reviews
Tormented by horrific nightmares since the death of her baby five years before, literary agent Lyn Ravenshaw agrees to accompany an author to Wales, where she encounters an eccentric young widow desperately afraid for her own infant's safety and a reclusive playwright who could be her only salvation.
Paperback, 295 pages
Published October 1st 1999 by Berkley (first published July 13th 1998)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Named of the Dragon, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Julia Klaverenga I'm thinking James is showing his age because of drink and partying. He's grown a beard to hide his jawline. The book says 40 & I bet he looks…moreI'm thinking James is showing his age because of drink and partying. He's grown a beard to hide his jawline. The book says 40 & I bet he looks every day of it, but is still very handsome. I'm guessing Gareth is late 30's. He's a reclusive, famous playwright who has been out of the public eye for several years. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,062 ratings  ·  760 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Sasha Alsberg
May 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So good! I didn't want it to end. Susanna has a way of enchanting every line to give the reader the best experience possible. I fell in love with this book and cannot wait to read more from her!
Ahmad Sharabiani
Named of the Dragon, Susanna Kearsley
When one of her authors invites her to Wales for the Christmas holidays, literary agent Lyn Ravenshaw hopes to escape the nightmares that have plagued her since the death of her baby five years before. But shortly after she arrives at her host’s house, Lyn meets Elen, an emotionally fragile young widow who’s afraid for her infant son’s safety, and seems to view Lyn as the child’s protector.
As Lyn’s dreams become even more disturbing, she forms an unlikely all
Rating Clarification: 3.5 Stars

Another good (re-read) from Susanna Kearsley, who is on the fast track for overtaking some of my favorite "spooky" writers, Barbara Michaels, Barbara Erskine and Mary Stewart.

Canadian writer Kearsley pens the kind of books I particularly enjoy (and have a hard time finding) for a weekend read - an atmospheric, somewhat romantic mystery set in Europe (particularly Great Britain) and containing historic or mythic references. Named of the Dragon is set in a small coas
Katrina Passick Lumsden
A friend of mine here on Goodreads (I'm lookin' at you, Jill) told me that the first three books I read from Susanna Kearsley (The Rose Garden, The Winter Sea, and Mariana) were probably her best work.

I think Jill was right.

Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate this book. No matter what, Kearsley's talent with words and gift for world building captivate me, but the storyline, pacing, and characterization in Named of the Dragon left something to be desired.

First, let's get a feel for the setting.

Nov 03, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars

I hate to give this a low rating but it just didn't work for me. This one didn't feel as well-balanced as her other ones. The elements I loved about her previous ones didn't mesh well here, it felt out of place.

I did love all the characters and the idea of the story... and the hint of a connection with a certain king and kingdom got me really excited. I'm a sucker for those type of stories and sort of re-telling, it's just a fun world to get lost in.

Maybe I was expecting more than what
Book of Secrets
What grabbed my attention about this book was the Welsh setting and the Arthurian legend tie-ins. The writing was beautiful, especially the lovely descriptions of Angle, Pembrokeshire, however I never felt truly engaged in the story itself.

The main character, Lyn, is a literary agent spending Christmas holiday at Castle Farm in Wales with one of the authors she represents. Lyn's baby boy died five years prior, and the grief still weighs heavily on her. In Angle, she meets a strange young woman w
Jul 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Silly story: when I finished The Winter Sea, I thought, darn, I really want a story by Kearsley that is set in Wales, in that landscape, which I love and feel part of. Because she does a great job with landscape, with the feelings it can invoke, but Scotland or Cornwall aren’t my landscapes.

Then I remembered I had already got a couple of chapters into Named of the Dragon. Suffice it to say that the landscape was satisfactory, and I would probably have felt homesick had I read this when not in Wa
Christine Spoors
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017
I loved that this book was set in Angle, in the south of Wales. It was set around Christmas time which is always nice to read about. Through nightmares, the main character Lyn gets drawn into a plot filled with ancient myths surrounding Merlin and Henry Tudor (VII). This was such a clever plot, which read like a mystery, and I could never guess what was going to happen next.

I would say trigger warning for anyone who's lost a child as the main character lost a baby and her nightmares focus around
This author has been on my radar for so long and I've wanted to read her books and just somehow never did. Finally, the perfect storm of opportunity with this re-release, blurb, setting, and mood made it possible. I got two delightful surprises nearly from the beginning.

First, I didn't realize what this author's writing style would be and soon discovered that I felt like I could have been reading one of several of my favorites. I had to chuckle when I saw in the description afterward that the a
This was good, the writing was beautiful and descriptive, but it just didn't really go anywhere. It was a slow, sweet progression for our main character Lyn in finally coming to accept the death of her child but it didn't really feel complete. Definitely not a waste of time, as Kearsley's writing is fantastic, talk about sense of place, but not her strongest work.
Dec 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I liked a lot about this: the setting - Bridget, as a headstrong, impulsive author - Lyn, determined to make modern psychological sense of everything - even Gareth, who's convinced Lyn is a journalist, or at the very least an overly determined literary agent.

But so much felt unpolished. Bridget told everyone how strong Lyn was, but we only got to see tiny flashes of that. It's not that the book was testament to Lyn's weakness, because she wasn't weak, exactly. She was passive, though, and the bo
Lark of The Bookwyrm's Hoard
I started reading Named of the Dragon immediately after finishing Mary Stewart’s This Rough Magic. Kearsley has been compared to Stewart, and indeed Named of the Dragon has a very Stewart-like feel, updated to more modern times. Kearsley is as easily as good as Stewart at writing description and setting. In this case the setting is (mostly) Wales; since I’ve been there several times, I was able to picture it all the more clearly. It’s a landscape that speaks to me on a very deep level, and I lov ...more
Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paranormal
As is typical for me and a Susanna Kearsley book, I thoroughly enjoyed this one!

The main setting is the very atmospheric Pembrokeshire coast, Wales. Her descriptions make you feel as though you are right there. I've never had the good fortune to go to Wales, but I feel as though I have been there after reading this book.

Lyn Ravenshaw, editor and one of her top clients, Bridget, travel to Wales for to spend the holidays with yet another author (James). Imagine Lyn's surprise and delight at find
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
(Maybe 3.5 stars) I've read everything Susanna Kearsley has written (with the exception of her 2 very first novels which, on her website, she discourages her fans from looking for or reading). This particular book from 1998 is her 4th successful novel, following 1994 Mariana, 1995 The Splendour Falls, and 1997 The Shadowy Horses. It is not my favorite of all she has written. That would have to be 2008 The Winter Sea, but it is an enjoyable read nonetheless.

The setting is Wales, the small town of
Suze Lavender
Nov 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lyn is a literary agent who's planning to spend her Christmas with her family in Canada, but then one of her clients offers her an interesting alternative. Bridget invites her to spend Christmas in Wales together with her famous author boyfriend James. Lyn decides to take the offer. They're staying in a house together with James and his brother. James is looking for another agent, so Lyn is hoping to combine a lucrative deal with her holiday. Only she doesn't count on old emotions coming to the ...more
Feb 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
This Kearsley gem is more along the lines of her more thriller/mystery books with the splash of paranormal, similar to Season of Storms or The Shadowy Horses. Fans of her more romantic books, like The Rose Garden, might be a little disappointed. The romance aspect is only hinted at throughout and doesn't really resolve until the very end. Which was fine by me. I was kept more than occupied with the spooky happenings at a fabulous Welsh home, all spiced up with Arthurian legend - a new one for Ke ...more
Jillian Mcclelland
Oh, I liked this. But then, I love everything Kearsley writes, so I am a bit biased. Although I believe this was her first novel, it set the tone and style that she would continue to use throughout her other books. A blending of past and present, mythology and fact, and romance with suspense that is always engrossing and completely entertaining. Lyn Ravenshaw is a great heroine; a little bullheaded, but endearing and relatable. I think at this point Kearsley wasn't sure how to flesh out a palpab ...more
Sep 08, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I liked the atmosphere and the Wales setting, but the climax of the story hinges on the connection between the Welsh history and Arthurian legend bits and the present mystery about Elen and her baby, which is tenuous at best. It just goes nowhere.

Also, I thought some of the secondary characters were maddeningly one-dimensional. Bridget is a prime example, because she came off as a completely self-absorbed man-eater with no nuance. I'm fine with a character being those things, but I want to
Diane Lynn
I really enjoyed this one by Susanna Kearsley. Her writing is so expressive. Towards the end I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. I never saw that ending coming which is always nice. Loved the Merlin/Arthur tie in. Lucky for me I read The Crystal Cave last year so I knew what SK was talking about since the Merlin/Arthur legend is not my strong suit.
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Oooh, this ended up being really lovely for me. I've kind of enjoyed the non-split narrative of the few older Kearsley's I've read.
Sep 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is not my favorite book by Susanna Kearsley, but it is still a very entertaining book and I really enjoyed it. Kearsley has a wonderful way with describing the small town in Wales where most of the book takes place. There were several times that I had to go back and reread a description of where the main character, Lyn, was at the time, whether it be a small wooded area, an old castle, or a famous writers study. The author does a wonderful job of making you feel like you are actually there ...more
Rio (Lynne)
Jul 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Kearsley's writing is unique. She holds my interest even when her books aren't fast paced or full of page turning storylines. Named of the Dragon, like many of her other books, simply follows characters everyday lives, nothing really happening, but she keeps me interested with the location, characters and her witty way of throwing history into the fold. In this book Lyn, a literary agent goes to Pembroke for Christmas with one of her clients. Knowing Pembroke's history, I'm intrigued. She stays ...more
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
May 01, 2016 marked it as to-read
Shelves: suspense
May 1, 2016: $1.99 Kindle special. I bit.
Kathy Davie
Oct 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, history, homey
A standalone fictional novel revolving around Lyn Ravenshaw, a literary agent mourning the loss of her baby five years ago. Takes place in Angle, Pembrokeshire in South Wales.

This ARC was sent to me by NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for an honest review.

My Take
Named of the Dragon was beautifully done, although I didn't get a real sense of it being Christmas. Oh, the words were there, but I wasn't feelin' it. I suspect most of what I did feel was a blend of my own memories of Christmases in E
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just love how Susanna writes her stories and this one was no exception. It was such a cosy read.
Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms)
[Update 4/29/18, original read in 2013) - I like re-reading this author's books and it has been several years so I vaguely remember but was not sure where it was going - enjoyed it again. I am not sure I would give it 5 stars now but definitely 4 so will leave it. Her books are great reads for a lazy afternoon]

I am already a huge fan of Susanna Kearsley's book and thought I had read them all. Then I discovered this earlier book of hers published in 1998. It is not rated as high on here as some
Oct 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Susanna Kearsley is one of my favorite authors, she knows exactly how to hook me in. Plus, I love modern adaptions of mythologies and folklores so "Named of the Dragon" should have been a home run for me. But I'm really sad because I read this at a time that I'm really stressed out in my life and had to squeeze reading it into very long days, often falling asleep mid-sentence. I'm so out of it right now that I've even been feeling guilty for not getting to my Christmas novels and I failed to con ...more
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
All this time I was reading Named of the Dragon, I kept thinking it had a slightly slow build up. But then I realized as I was nearing the end that even though the action of the story took a little long to get to, I was totally engrossed in everyone the whole time. Bridget and her domineering personality, James and his subtle infatuation, Lyn and her quiet ways, Gareth and his secret was there all along and I didn't even realize it. I can tell you about each and every character a ...more
The characters and dialog were absolutely delightful most of the time. Lyn was occasionally just a bit dense, but I think we all are sometimes. Perhaps not the best of Kearsley but good fun just the same.
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
This author's atmospheric writing really captures me. I wish the ending had a more certain definition, however no one captures feeling and characterization quite like Susanna Kearsley. An autobuy author for sure!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Madison Mega-Mara...: #228 Named of the Dragon by Susanna Kearsley 1 3 Dec 12, 2015 12:55PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Long Masquerade
  • The Other Side of Midnight
  • Thornyhold
  • Witch
  • A Cottage by the Sea
  • The Dead Travel Fast
  • House of Echoes
  • The Memory Garden
  • A Wayside Tavern
  • The Misbegotten
  • Maulever Hall
  • The Secret Language of Stones (Daughters of La Lune #2)
  • The Quicksilver Pool
See similar books…
New York Times, USA Today, and Globe and Mail bestselling author Susanna Kearsley is a former museum curator who loves restoring the lost voices of real people to the page, interweaving romance and historical intrigue with modern adventure.

Her books, published in translation in more than 20 countries, have won the Catherine Cookson Fiction Prize, RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, a RITA Award, and Nat
“I’d never met a redhead yet who didn’t have the same allure—a sort of blend of vibrant energy and freshness that made those of us with brown hair feel ridiculously dull.” 0 likes
“For so must all things excellent begin. —Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene” 0 likes
More quotes…