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The Dragon's Tooth

(Ashtown Burials #1)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  3,542 ratings  ·  523 reviews
For two years, Cyrus and Antigone Smith have run a sagging roadside motel with their older brother, Daniel. Nothing ever seems to happen. Then a strange old man with bone tattoos arrives, demanding a specific room.

Less than 24 hours later, the old man is dead. The motel has burned, and Daniel is missing. And Cyrus and Antigone are kneeling in a crowded hall, swearing an oa
Hardcover, 485 pages
Published August 23rd 2011 by Random House Books for Young Readers (first published 2011)
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Anna Shier I did, but warning: the third book ends oddly and while I heard rumors of two more in the works, nothing has come so far. But if you don't mind the cu…moreI did, but warning: the third book ends oddly and while I heard rumors of two more in the works, nothing has come so far. But if you don't mind the currently ambiguous ending, it's worth it.
Fair warning: The series, particularly the 3rd book, has a lot of Christian imagery. As a Christian myself, this was part of the book's impact for me. But I recognize that not everyone likes that, so if religion bothers you, go into it with that knowledge.
I think it's worth it even if you aren't religious.(less)

Community Reviews

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Barnabas Piper
Oct 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I suppose this might be called "young adult" fiction. But that's just stupid. This series is a gripping read for any age. Wilson depicts evil as it ought to be depicted and good as truly as it exists. He weaves ancient and modern stories and myths into a single narrative. It's full of action but not without deep character. And in the up is up and down is down, but not in some sort of cheap, fake happy ending but rather the sort where what's noble lasts and what isn't doesn't. ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Another in a line of mediocre books I've run on lately. This is one of those been there done that books that slid over into boring very quickly for me.

I will say this, if you are a young reader and haven't read many, many books that criticism may not apply to you. If so you'll probably enjoy the book much more than I did.

The writer here seems to be very concerned that we won't get where we are or what's going on. We get long and finally tedious descriptions of places, people, actions and so on.
Douglas Wilson
Mar 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I had the privilege of reading this in manuscript, and it is just fantastic. Look for this book to release this summer -- August, in fact. The Dragon's Tooth is the first in a series of five.

Nancy and I just read through this together again aloud (January 2018), and thoroughly enjoyed it. We read it in manuscript the first time, and enjoyed the changes and elements that weren't there the first time.
Kat Heckenbach
Jul 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I admit, I almost gave up on this book after the first few chapters. NOT because the writing was bad, but because it jumped around too much, reminding me of watching my son play video games on the computer. And it had one of my pet peeves: a false sense of tension created by characters talking in circles and riddles.


A friend encouraged me to keep going. I am so glad I listened to her.

Only a little farther than the point where I nearly gave up, questions started getting answers. The situation
G.M. Burrow
Mar 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, fiction
Every title has a promise, and this one promises a lot. N.D. more than fulfills it.

His word-craft is to our imaginations what a flaming match is to gasoline. Dialogue so yummy. Images that leap off the page in 3D. Characters you want to meet. Characters you want to kill.

As always, Wilson’s voice is distinctive first and foremost because his view of the world is distinctive. His words crack like bones and strike like lightning because he sees a world where darkness is real and death has dug its
Apr 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved this book, it was totally enthralling and I was clinging to the edge of my seat half the time. I would recommend it for older kids, because of how realistic some of the plot-twists are (i.e. they find skeletons drawn on pictures of their family; human experimentation; etc).
I really like the mix of good and evil and mystical items. One thing that I was a little disappointed in at first, and later impressed me was that there was a very obvious bad-guy side, and then there were a couple neu
Mar 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
2nd read. In preparation for book 4. Quite excellent.
Hannah Brown
Jun 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I decided to finally dive into Ashtown Burials to see what all the fuss was about.

I get it now.
Rosanne Lortz
Mar 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Dragon’s Tooth, by N. D. Wilson was released about six months ago with much fanfare and excitement. I had enjoyed a couple of Wilson’s other children’s books, Leepike Ridge and The 100 Cupboards, but my disappointment with books 2 and 3 in the 100 Cupboards series made me reluctant to attempt The Dragon’s Tooth. When the fanfare subsided, I pretty much forgot that the book existed. Earlier this month, however, my six-year-old nephew proudly showed it off to me as the longest book he’s ever r ...more
Mar 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Whoa. If bookstores were theme parks, this book would be the 4th dimensional roller coaster ride with the long lines and the kids standing on tiptoes to meet the height requirement. I think my knuckles are still white.

Mr. Wilson wastes no time getting the plot moving, and within the first few chapters, Cyrus Smith, the likable pre-teen protagonist, has already experienced electrocution by a magical insect, an escape from a motel fire, the death of a mysterious tattooed stranger, an attack by un
Luke Zwanziger
Aug 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, ya, audiobook
Amazing bit of YA fantasy and adventure pulling in historical references, mixing myth with fact, reinvigorating the wonderment of the world that existed in the early 20th century. A Harry Potter for Americans with secret societies and magic in the world hidden just beneath the surfact. But more than imbued talent (e.g. wizzard vs. muggle), every person has the possibility to aspire to this society of explorers and find a new perspective on the world, with a bit of hard work learning how to fly a ...more
Apr 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: laughs, the-best, 2019
And now I shall proceed to read every book N D Wilson has written. 100 Cupboards was amazing and the best stuff ever, but Nolan!!! Solomon Keys!!!! Waffles!!! O of B!!!! Sir Roger!!!
Who doesn’t want an enormous skull that dims lights and breathes when a certain name is spoken? And a pirate cook with metal legs and bells in his ears. Transmortals that die when.. but wait that’s a spoiler.
Artifacts and history and myth and life and family are all mixed together and it’s amazing.
So yeah, I love th
Valerie Kyriosity
It's been nine years since my first reading, so I'd reached that happy condition of forgetfulness that made most of it seem new. And I thoroughly enjoyed it all over again.

I bought the audiobooks a few years ago in anticipation of refreshing my memory before the fourth book came out. And then the powers that be at Random House betrayed us [insert imprecatory psalm here].

But the author kept faith, and The Silent Bells is trickling out in serial, so I am revisiting the first three volumes.

The na
Love of Hopeless Causes
Jun 16, 2017 rated it did not like it
Gross, uncomfortable, and immature, audiobook DNF at forty minutes.
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fantasy sci-fi. Glad it wasn't as much as a cliffhanger as Outlaws of Time Book 1 was! Not sure if I want to read the next in the series. Definitely have to pay close attention to the details, but overall a good read. ...more
Aug 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
N.D Wilson is one of those authors that just NAILS the characters.
They are Real, they are likable, they are not cliched even for young ages.
Wilson weaves terrific stories that hook you in and keep you hooked throughout.
I feel no time is wasted. I can not wait for the next books!.
Mar 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
As you could expect from me, loved, loved, loved it. Our eldest (Rory the nine year old) plowed right through it and now there's two in the house clamoring for book two. ...more
Sep 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed it very much!
Karen Keyte

“Please declare aloud: I hereby undertake to tread the world, to garden the wild, and to saddle the seas, as did my brother Brendan. I will not turn away from shades in fear, nor avert my eyes from light. I shall do as my Keeper requires, and keep no secret from a Sage. May the stars guide me, and my strength preserve me. And I will not smoke in the library.” - Oath of the Order of Brendan, translation approved, 1946.

Cyrus Lawrence Smith, a nearly too tall boy of almost thirteen, is absolutely,
Stephanie C
Dec 13, 2020 rated it liked it
N.D.Wilson's writing is always so intense. The weather in the room where I'm reading practically changes when I open up his books. With that level of intensity, sometimes reading about unpleasant things ends up being actually unpleasant. I feel like this book is supposed to be middlegrade, but the story was pretty dire and dark (and excellently-written of course, and very exciting). I finished The Dragon's Tooth feeling like I had survived a murder attempt by some sort of dark lord of the sith. ...more
Stephanie Jobe
Feb 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Yes, yes, yes and yes. Next semester especially I should have time to read, after they’ve all come out of course but I’m glad this one was on the top of my list. Why was it on the top? Well I’d heard about the 100 Cupboards books and was curious. The title and this amazing cover that becomes eve more amazing when you realize just how accurate it is. Aaron Becker props to you. There are so many things that are simply amazing in this book. I’ll admit Antigone does drive me a little nutty sometimes ...more
Clare S-B
Nov 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an exciting, mysterious, funny and terrifying adventure that was. The main characters are very real, Cyrus is such a real kid and you have got to love his humuor. Humour which he just spouted in such a boy like way, even during parts of thee story that were otherwise 'scary'. He just had such a human personality, and though he would probably be annoying in real life, in print, I could do nothing but want for him to succeed.

The very beginning (first half of first chapter) may have been a lit
Benji Martin
May 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that I should have read a long time ago, but am only just now getting around to it. Guilt isn't a good reason to read a book, I know, but that's what finally made me read it. I felt like I should. Now that I'm finished, I feel even more guilty because I haven't been pushing this series to my students all year. I can only think of one that has read it. If I had gotten fully behind it, like I am now, there would have been several more. I decided it wasn't too late, maybe ...more
Brittany Petruzzi
Mar 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It's the kind of book that almost makes you wish you'd waited until the whole series was published before you began reading so you could gorge yourself on all five in the space of as many days. Except then you would be missing out, so you'll have to settle with learning a little patience while you wait. In that time, I doubt you'd be able to resist a re-read, because this book will bear many of them, which, incidentally, is my criteria for a five-star book.

Many have complained, as this is a kid'
Feb 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Writing is excellent—vivid descriptions on top of fascinating plot. Ingenious blending of histories and mythologies. However, like in the 100 Cupboards series, sometimes I lost track of the characters and even the action—lots going on.

NPR interview here. Kirkus Book Review here. Redeemed Reader review (plus discussion questions) here; another review here; Wilson's books are also mentioned in this list. Brendan is real.
Luke Miller
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This is the kind of book I would have loved to discover as a kid, but I think I'm even happier to discover it as an adult. When asked about how stories help Christians in spiritual battle, I heard Wilson give this answer:

"An army marches on its stomach, and what I'm doing is trying to feed imaginations. I'm trying to damn the damnable and honor the honorable. I'm trying to catetchize loyalties and instincts. I'm trying to write stories that will be food for Christians. I'm trying to keep them f
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
What a ride! Twists and turns at every corner! Beginning at the Archer motel where the three Smith children reside and live on waffles until Billy Bones arranges for them to end up with the secretive society the Order of Brenden.

N.D. Wilson is a great wordsmith and doesn't dumb down young characters. Cyrus and Antigone are very believable siblings. Nor does he shy away from true evil. On the other hand he adds true heroism and nobility.

Shades of Harry Potter, Indiana Jones and the Goonies may
Nov 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Another great start to a series from ND Wilson. Lots of action and his writing is very visually minded and alive.

I really enjoyed revisiting this book by reading it out loud to the family. Excited to be working through the series again and receiving the Silent Bells chapters one mailing at a time.
Cyrus laughed. "Mine's cooler. I think someone died in this one"
The old man was working on a toothpick now. He shrugged. "Good jacket to die in"
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Oh, it's almost midnight. ...more
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Ashtown Burials (3 books)
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