Gillian Bradshaw
About the author
Recommended age group : 9 to 13
Gillian Bradshaw
Gillian Bradshaw is the award-winning author of more than 20 books for adults and children, including Hawk of May and The Wolf Hunt.
Award-winning novelist Gillian Bradshaw's exciting fantasy-history tale of a thief, a dragon, a princess, monsters, sorcery, and battles in ancient Africa.
Teen fisherman Prahotep is nicknamed "bad-luck" because everything he touches turns to disaster. When his father dies, he sets off to Thebes in Egypt to improve his fate, but instead of finding riches, he finds Lady Hathor, a proud, irritable
dragon—and a creature that an evil sorcerer in the capital will kill to find.
Meanwhile, to the south, in Nubia, the princess Kandaki's family is murdered by a usurper. Kandaki refuses the usurper's offer of marriage, and is sent north to be offered as a sacrifice to a "swamp dragon."
When Prahotep, Kandaki, Hathor and the villains’ paths cross, more than sparks fly.
  • Trim size: 5-1/2 x 8-1/2" 296 pages
  • ePub date: May 23, 2013
  • Juvenile fiction - History - Africa
  • Print ISBN 978-0-9885359-2-3 $15.00 Paperback (perfect bind)
  • e-Book: $4.99
  1. 1.
    Many characters in the beginning of the book believe that Prahotep is cursed or has bad luck, that the bad things that happen to him are his "fate." Do you think people at that time believed more in fate than we do today? Do you believe in fate?
  2. 2.
    The beginning of the book tells us a lot about Prahotep—he is poor, people think he has bad luck, he works hard, and, though alone, he seems reasonably happy and keeps trying. What do we learn of Kandaki at the beginning of "Land of Gold"?
  3. 3.
    In the "Dragon and the Thief," Nefersenet wants to bathe in dragon's blood so he can live forever. In "Land of Gold," Shabako wants to be king. Are there any ways that the two villains seem alike?
  4. 4.
    Prahotep says, "If we reach Nubia and find other dragons there, then I'll feel that I have done what the gods meant me to do, and it will be worth everything." He is not seeking the fame or fortune that Baki expects him to seek. Why does he think Hathor's happiness is so important? Is there anyone's happiness that you would make sacrifices for?
  5. 5.
    Prahotep hates the thought of dragons becoming extinct. Can you think of any species that have become extinct? How does that make you feel?
  6. 6.
    Hathor doesn't want to go to Nubia without her treasure. What do you think this says about her? Is she greedy?
  7. 7.
    Prahotep asks the god Sobek for forgiveness for killing a crocodile that was trying to kill him. What do you think this says about Prahotep and his religion? Would you ask for forgiveness for defending yourself?
  8. 8.
    Hathor wants to meet another dragon. Prahotep wants to help Hathor. What does Kandaki want? What does Baki want?
  9. 9.
    How would you compare the relationships between Prahotep and Kandaki and Hathor and Harakhtay?
  10. 10.
    The action of The Dragon, the Thief, and the Princess takes place in Egypt and in Nubia. Egypt is still a country, but Nubia is not. What country do you think Nubia is in today? What is the relationship between that country and Egypt today?
  11. 11.
    Gillian Bradshaw writes both historical novels and fantasy novels. What elements of the book do you think are true historical facts? Do you think this book is set in a particular point in the history of ancient Egypt, or is it a sort of legend which could have happened at any point over about a thousand years?
  12. 12.
    In the part of the book set in Egypt, there are lots of references to the Gods and the priests, who have a very high social status. But in Nubia, only a brief reference is made to a priest—who clearly works for the king and queen. How do you think the countries of Nubia and Egypt were alike or different? How do their old systems of government compare to your own?
  13. 13.
    Hathor says, "You imagine there's a god for this and one for that—hundreds of gods, all bickering with one
    another … Dragons, and all beasts, know that you can't separate the powers of the world into warring pieces. " How are your religious beliefs alike or different?
  • If you want to read more about ancient Egypt, Gillian Bradshaw recommends DK Eyewitness Books: Ancient Egypt and two books from the Horrible Histories series, Awesome Egyptians and Awful Egyptians. For her research, she relied a lot on Ancient Lives: The Story of the Pharoahs' Tombmakers, by John Romer.
"An exciting tale of magic and adventure."
—Publishers Weekly
"Funny, lively, altogether delightful."
Why We Love This Book
The Dragon, the Thief, and the Princess is set in ancient Egypt and Nubia and features a teenage Egyptian boy and a Nubian princess. That alone really got our attention. We love fantasy books. Harry Potter, Narnia, Percy Jackson, Artemis Fowl—great stuff. We also love history. To quote a couple of philosophers: “Life must be lived forward, but it can only be understood backward”; and, “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” But we’ve always wished that there were more fantasy and historical tales with children of color and strong, interesting female leads. And the amazing civilization of Nubia too rarely appears in any kind of book.
And then we read Dragon. When we started Bliss Group Books, we wanted—in one way or another—to find that warm spot, that blissful spot, found only when curled up with a good story. The kind of story that transports you. As science fiction writer Ursula LeGuin wrote, “There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.” We think that stories are an important part of what helps us be; that stories let our minds roam, cross boundaries, and meet strange characters (and some familiar ones), and let readers laugh or escape or feel. The Dragon, the Thief, and the Princess is such a story. We couldn’t wait to get this story to our kids and our friends’ kids. It’s just that rare a bird. Kind of like a flying dragon. The Dragon, the Thief, and the Princess is a story that takes us there—hope you come along.
—Amel Larrieux
—Laru Larrieux
—Alan Bradshaw
—Bliss Group Books
Reader Comments
"I was pleased to see a reissue of this title (actually it originally came out as two books). I've been reading The Dragon and the Thief aloud to my sixth grade students for years, and they love it."
—M. Burla, Missouri