Dragons fascinate children of all ages, and Carole Wilkinson's inspired mix of myth and historical fact will leave young readers wistfully listening for wing beats. In the year 141 B.C., Ping is an illiterate Chinese orphan who lives on the edge of one of the Emperor's least-used royal palaces. Her master is a boorish drunk who neglects his duties as Imperial Dragon Keeper. Under his watch, the Emperor's dragons have dwindled from a magnificent dozen to a miserable two. When the next to last dies, the remaining dragon, Long Danzi, coaxes Ping into helping him flee to the faraway ocean. Early on in the journey, Ping knows the dragon and the mysterious purple stone he carries are very special. But how is it that a grubby slave girl has come to be the keeper of the last imperial dragon? Only when the friends reach their destination will Ping be able to see herself as Danzi sees her, and learn to use the unique talents she alone possesses.