The First Skyrider

H R HessSKU: RLFS8382 ISBN: 9781838188382




“What if everyone’s wrong about dragons?” Cairn barely dared to voice the thought. “What if dragons can be...trained?"

Farm-boy Cairn can hardly believe it when he is chosen to train as a rider for Star-King Elior.

Far from home in the mountains, where dragons lurk and war threatens, Cairn strives to become a great rider of Callenlas.

Does he have what it takes after all? And what is his friend Arunae hiding?

Key Features

• Second novel in an exciting, popular series

• Gripping fantasy/adventure tale reminiscent of C.S. Lewis' fiction

• Extremely popular with beta readers

About the Author

H.R. Hess is married to Stefan, and mum to three children. Having enjoyed many adventures from her armchair she decided to write her own.

Selected Endorsements:

"Hess exhibits a care with words that is too rarely seen—her writing is simply beautiful."

Tama Fortner, ECPA award-winning and bestselling writer

"Beautifully crafted, compellingly told and full of Bible truth."

Felicity Carswell, podcaster

Category: Young Adult (12–16) Fiction

Release: November 2022




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Customer Reviews

Based on 8 reviews
An exciting adventure, suitable for all

This is becoming a great series for younger readers, set in the wonderfully imagined land with strong descriptions and engaging characters that help you be gently introduced to this magical land.
This book is set perhaps a generation or two apart from the first book, in a time of peace across the kingdom. Although a series (the first book being The Dark Star, published earlier this year), this story can easily be enjoyed without having read the first one … but do read it, it is great!
There are new characters, in the setting of young people starting a new school, which allows for plenty of catching up on the history and folklore. This is also a setting that most readers will empathise with.
There are Christian themes throughout, although not overt, for example the main characters having a developing calling to serve the Kingdom, alongside the King. There are also some subtle Biblical references, for example the scene teaching the young people about the importance of armour, describing the purpose of each item, which will resonate with all who have been through Sunday school!
The kingdom is ruled by a benevolent King, whose subjects live in peace and want to serve. However, below the surface there are signs that all may not be quite as it seems, and there is some disquiet.
The reader is immersed into a kingdom of magic, dragons and battles ... read the full review here

Natasha Woodcraft
An exciting story with positive life lessons.

I am new to Callenlas! Here's what I found:
The world-building is not overly original but this does not prevent this from being a crackling little story for young people.
The characterisations were strong: a band of outcast friends exploring, rule-breaking and learning together. I liked the development of Cairn’s character and moral compass, though it was a little far-fetched that in a school full of masters with special sight, the friends were only caught sneaking about once in nine months or so.
Yet, the morality was nicely balanced and not over-simplistic. There was a recognition that sometimes, following the King does mean disobeying those who claim to represent him. This thoughtfulness will be important to young people who face so many moral challenges every day.

The moments with King Elior were really lovely. Whilst the plot-line itself is not allegorical, everything about Elior reflects Jesus. He is beautifully portrayed and his words are as powerful as his presence. The way he dealt with each character individually was so Christ-like. I particularly enjoyed a line at the end, as Cairn bows before King Elior:
‘His heart ached with longing, even while the longing of his heart was being fulfilled, and the mystery of it brought tears to his eyes.’
This sentiment so nicely portrays the continued longing that we feel for Jesus the more we get to know him.
There are many positive lessons to be learnt from this story, which makes me keen to pass it on to my older children.

A daring and adventurous book

An easy read and captivating storyline! A great book for kids to get stuck into and to learn many new words too! :)

Georgina and Isabelle
Simple and powerful

This book is awesome, funny, hopeful and, if this is a word, dragon-y. Our favourite characters are Arunae the trainee and Rhaegar the dragon, particularly because their relationship is so cleverly described by the author. Hess uses amazingly detailed, descriptive language, especially when describing the dragons.

We also like how the story slowly and neatly ties in with The Dark Star, giving more background to the events in the first book (which we also highly recommend!). Readers will enjoy the simple but powerful storyline, meaning they will not get confused over the series of events.

We highly recommend this book and encourage older and younger readers alike to pick it up.

Samantha J. Ball
A riveting read!

This is the first book I’ve read by this author, and it won’t be the last as I thoroughly enjoyed it!

It’s a story set in a beautifully imagined world (Callenlas) with brilliant descriptive writing that set the scene vividly. I loved the eclectic characters, the sharp dialogue, and the themes of loyalty, dedication, and determination.

Cairn, a brave farm boy, leaves home as a young teenager to be trained as a rider for King Elior - one of my favourite characters. It’s something Cairn’s dreamed of for a long time.

Despite a few trials, and some tricky encounters with other potential riders, Cairn makes great friends with whom he has many wonderful adventures. His character growth in this book is amazing and beautifully portrayed.

There’s so much more, twists and turns and unexpected revelations, but I’d encourage you to read the book. You won’t be disappointed, no matter your age!

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