Crown of Dreams (2013) is the third book in Katherine Roberts‘s four-part PENDRAGON LEGACY series, which details the quest undertaken by Princess Rhianna — daughter of Arthur Pendragon and his queen Guinevere — to find the Four Lights that might save the city of Camelot and restore her father back to life.
Already she has two of the four Lights in her possession: the Sword of Light and the Lance of Truth, the latter of which is now carried by her champion Sir Cai. Other allies include her fairy friend Elphin from the Isle of Avalon, her maid Arianrhod, who was once a servant to the witch Morgan le Fey, and the wizard Merlin, currently trapped in the body of a small hunting hawk. Then there are the Knights of the Round Table, including Sirs Bors, Bedievere, Agravaine and Lancelot, who are slowly getting used to taking orders from a young girl.
It’s Rhianna’s cousin Mordred who poses the greatest threat to Camelot, for he too is looking for the Four Lights, and insists that he is the rightful heir to the throne. Assisted by his mother, it’s within the first chapter of the story that he lays his hands on the Crown of Dreams — but soon realizes that it’s missing the stone that will provide him with knowledge and mastery of the artefact. But Rhianna may have an inkling as to where it is…
Determined to retrieve the Crown and so gain her father’s lost wisdom, Rhianna and her friends plan their own journey into Dragonland, knowing that any Pendragon who manages to steal the crown back from the dragons will be a worthy heir to the kingdom.
Roberts has managed to keep what could have been a fairly formulaic plot (Rhianna finding one treasure per book) fresh by making sure her protagonist has to journey to a wide range of locations — in the previous book it was the cold lands of the north; here it’s rocky mountains filled with dragons. Furthermore, the Crown of Dreams is a much more interesting McGuffin than the sword and lance of the preceding books, as its use comes with a very high risk of death if not handled properly.
Crown of Dreams continues Rhianna’s winning streak, though there’s enough suspense infused into her adventure that I never automatically assumed she would come out on top. Mordred makes for a one-dimensional but still threatening villain, though Rhianna herself can still be a little obnoxious at times. Three books in, and I would have expected her to learn a little respect and humility.