Vivian Vande Velde Main Page
Dragon's Bait
Ages: 12 & up
Publisher: Harcourt
Book Description: Wrongly condemned for witchcraft, fifteen-year-old Alys is tempted to take revenge on her accusers when the dragon to which she has been sacrificed turns out to be an ally.
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Where do you GET those ideas?
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"Wicked wit and well as a gutsy heroine and a sexy dragon." -- Booklist


  • ALA Quick Pick
  • American Library Association Recommended Books for the Reluctant Young Adult Reader
  • Junior Library Guild selection
  • New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age
  • Texas Library Association Texas Lone Star Reading List (1995 - 1996)

Where do you GET those ideas?

I wanted to tell a story about revenge, and how sometimes trying to get revenge just makes the situation worse than it was to begin with.  I decided to write about someone accused of doing something she hadn't really done--because I figured everyone has been in that situation at one time or another.  But I wanted to have her accused of something I was fairly sure most of the people who would be reading the book had never been accused of.  So that's how I decided to have Alys accused of being a witch.  The dragon was lots of fun to write about because Alys could never be sure what he was thinking or what he was going to do.


Her first inclination was to hope the dragon hadn't seen the torches and that she'd have time to run under cover of the nearby trees...

Then she realized the dragon hadn't seen her, and that if she stayed still for a few moments longer, she was free. But she was soaked to the skin and cold, and she hadn't eaten anything since early morning, and she was an orphan with nowhere, absolutely nowhere, to go. And she remembered the wolves.

Her choices, as she saw them, were to die quick or to die slow.

She chose quick.

Standing, she flung a rock with all her might. "You stupid dragon!" she screamed. "Come and get me!"

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Besides the covers to the paperback editions of Dragon's Bait,


Cliff Nielsen also illustrated the covers of Companions of the Night


Heir Apparent,


and Now You See It...


Click here to see more of Cliff Nielsen's work.


Dragon's Bait is one of the books I most often get asked about a sequel to.

A note about sequels:  Link to Sequels