The Black Dragon, written in Gothic script, was Bell’s first published novel. In this series, she portrays Alice, an orphaned young woman Catherine bell who, along with her friend, is forced to survive after their families are killed during a slave raid. They become nomads and journey across the country and try to find help. Bell has managed to produce six great novels in this series, which have been made into motion pictures.
Catherine Bell is a British author, translator of works from several languages. She translated works by Hieronymus Bosch, Hugo van Gogh, Edith Wharton, William Stafford, among others. She has published books in the fields of criminology, history, theology, literature, and even biography. She was a longstanding translator of German works. Her translated novels can be seen in leading libraries all over the world.
The first in this series, The Dragon, picks up after the events of The Black Dragon. Alice and her friend, Flora, now live together in England. This time, though, they are running from the oppressive British rule. While on a train headed for America, however, Alice sees a girl murdered by a slave trader. This triggers her memories of the tragedy of her home and of becoming a runaway.
The second series, The Courtship of Miles Standish, picks up shortly before the events of The Dragon. In this book, the main character, Miles Standish, returns to Britain after spending two years studying in Italy. He is unhappy in London and soon finds work as a clerk in a printing office. But when his employer is mysteriously murdered, he must seek out the person responsible, while struggling with feelings of guilt for killing an innocent man. He also finds himself falling in love with a new girl in the office, Julia, who shares a past with him.
The third in the series, The Courtship of Miles and the City picks up several months later. Here, everything about the events of The Dragon grows and expands. We learn about the motives behind the killing of Miles Standish, about the nature of the press, and about the true history of The Dragon. It also introduces us to the new character, Julia, and how she relates to the novel’s central conflict.
In these novels, Bell employs an almost obsessive attention to detail. Her vivid descriptions of the lives of the people in these novels draw the reader into the story and force them to contemplate what, if anything, can happen to them. Her vivid pictures of the city of London, combined with sharp dialogues and sharp analysis, make this series a delight to read. In particular, The Courtship of Miles Standish and The Courtship of Miles and the City stand apart from other crime novels in their detailed use of historical and legal background information.
All of the works that make up The Dragonmarked book series have excellent storylines. However, Bell takes it one step further by writing stories that are almost a fantasy version of reality, complete with magic and dragons. In some ways, her work resembles the work of HP Lovecraft, in which he creates beings from the unknown depths of the imagination to fight the monsters that threaten their existence. Bell is able to take the basic ideas of fantasy and weave them into a highly successful mystery thriller. These books truly do live up to the standards of the best works of fantasy fiction.
Fans of the fantasy genre who are unfamiliar with these classic works should immediately start with The Dragonmarked Book series, which works like nothing that has come before it. As Bell’s fans will attest, it is the best collection of stories that can be classified as “fantasy.” And if you have never read any of Bell’s works, I encourage you to pick up The Dragonmarked Book series and treat yourself to one of the finest adventures ever written in modern times.