Traditionally, marauding dragons are soothed only by a virgin sacrifice. And so practical-minded Princess Andromeda - with the encouragement of her mother's court - reluctantly volunteers to do her duty, asking only for a sword to defend herself. Well, her offer is accepted, but the weapon isn't forthcoming, and so Andromeda faces the dragon alone.
Until a Champion arrives to save her - sort of. Sir George doesn't quite defeat the dragon, but as Andromeda finishes rescuing herself she discovers that beneath the Good Knight's well-meaning though inexperienced heroics lies a further tale...
Still, Andromeda can't leave her seacoast country in further jeopardy from the dragon's return, and so she and... er... George join to search for the dragon's lair. But even - especially - in the Five Hundred Kingdoms bucking with Tradition isn't easy. It takes the strongest of wills, more than a hint of stubbornness, quick thinking and a refusal to give up, no matter what happens along the way.
Somehow, though, none of this was taught in princess school.
Mercedes Ritchie Lackey (born 1950) is an American writer of fantasy novels. Many of her novels and trilogies are interlinked and set in the world of Velgarth, mostly in and around the country of Valdemar. Her Valdemar novels form a complex tapestry of interaction between human and non-human protagonists with many different cultures and social mores.
Her other main world is one much like our own, but it includes clandestine populations of elves, mages, vampires, and other mythical beings. The Bedlam's Bard books describe a young man with the power to work magic through music; the SERRAted Edge books are about racecar driving elves; and the Diana Tregarde thrillers center on a Wiccan who combats evil.
She has also