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The Sand Dragon
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ISBN-10: 1-55404-742-0
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Supernatural/Horror/Suspense/Thriller
eBook Length: 256 Pages
Published: March 2010
OUT OF PRINT

From inside the flap

The discovery of an immense pterosaur skeleton lures paleontologist Kim Axon to the tar sands near her childhood home of Fort Mic. But Kim’s not the only one drawn to the find’s siren call, and the others are coming for a very different reason.

Fort Mic, where Kim’s father was murdered long ago, is both blessed and cursed by the shadow population who gravitate to the area for cheap trailers while they mine the sands for oil. Townsfolk begin to fall sick. Fearing the spread of the strange disease, the new doctor quarantines the town.

Now alone, the broken community must rise above its past to battle outsiders who do not fear the return of an ancient evil, but worship it.

Reviews and Awards



The dragon is a legend that has captivated the world for centuries. "The Sand Dragon" tells the story of paleontologist Kim Axon as she discovers a dinosaur skeleton that could be something far more. An ancient evil surrounds the area, and Kim is baffled to understand it, but must before it consumes the community around her. "The Sand Dragon" is a top pick and solid recommendation for fantasy readers.

"What impressed me most, though, were the more subtle, but still horrific elements that were infused into the story. The bullying that Patrick was subjected to at the meatpacking plant made my skin crawl; the side plot regarding Kim and the diagnosis of skin cancer that she received was bleak, since she could survive the horrors of this ordeal only to die in six months from something else. I could go on and on and on listing all the different things that worked for me about this story, but I'll leave it up to you to read the book and enjoy the creepiness for yourself."

Overall Grade: A
Blog With Bite Rating: 4/4


http://www.blogwithbite.com/2010/05/hbic-review-of-sand-dragon.html
“Each character had their own flavor and world building that was exemplary. Their bleak lives were thrust at you with nothing hidden, open for you to relate to, sympathize, or hate. I almost believed that this was a non-fiction, the characters were so very poignant. Not only that, his story telling was gritty and in-your-face that will leave you shivering and begging for more…”

Parajunkee’s View

http://www.parajunkee.com/2010/05/sand-dragon-by-michael-f-stewart.html#comments

The Sand Dragon (Excerpt)


PROLOGUE

SANDY

Sandy Rance eased the cable shovel against Bench 101 of the Synthoil mine. Teeth sheered the sand from the wall in a hundred-ton scoop, leaving a neat bite mark under the halogen lights.

The truck driver in the loading zone called in greeting over the radio.

Sandy didn’t respond to Jamie; half the drivers were pimple-picking, pot-smoking, fly-by-night kids who shouldn’t be on a first-name basis with her.

She released the load, and it crashed into the waiting bed. The frame was caked near black with dirt.

"How’s the road in, Jamie?" Art, the road grader, asked. Until the ground froze, the weight of the trucks tore apart the roads, forcing waves of sand ahead of each 13-foot-tall tire.

"Floor could use a sweep around Hopper B," Jamie said.

"On my way."

Sandy grabbed another bucket of earth, ignoring the prattle of the men.

"Got a pretty gal there, Jamie. Alice, right?" Another hauler chimed in.

"First winter here, eh? Hope yer trailer’s insulated."

"Gonna need that warm body, heh, heh..."

"Nah, third winter, Art," Jamie muttered. "And Alice is one of those wait-’till-marriage types."

"And bless her."

"Wedding day couldn’t come too soon, I bet, eh, Jamie?"

Sandy dropped the load and the noise interrupted the ribbing. She smiled.

"How’s the hot coffee a-comin’?" Sandy asked to the silence.

"Ways off yet," Jamie responded.

When the surge pile from the bench reached the tip of the crusher’s conveyor, they called a hot coffee. Making the hot coffee was Sandy’s goal, Jamie’s goal, and Art’s goal. When your job was to play in the dirt with heavy haulers, it became all about the size of the sandcastle and the coffee break that followed.

Jamie rumbled away in his ’97, and the dozer driver slept on. The lights of the next truck were distant sparks on the highway.

She swung the shovel around, lights blazing across the one hundred foot tall cliff of sand that made up the bench. The shovel dipped, but before it bit into the cliff wall, she stopped.

An oblong rock gleamed darkly, caught like a bit of gristle between the shovel teeth. She grunted. The sand sometimes came out in chunks the size of pickup trucks, but she’d never wedged anything between the fangs.

"Damn," she whispered. A fossil.

The stone absorbed the light. She shuddered.

When her godson Patrick was little he had asked her for a fossil. That was ten years ago, before her divorce, before her sister died on Death Highway-the twin spears of blacktop that spanned Edmonton and Fort Mic. Autistic or something, Patrick was cuddlier with his reptiles than he had been with his mother. Dinosaurs were reptiles, right? A fossil’d be worth something to him.

She kicked open the door. The smell of oil billowed over her, rising up from the sand itself. She left a slick of it in the shower every morning. The night had cooled, and she shivered despite her ample flesh. Sandy tugged on a backpack and climbed down. A ’97 toiled toward her but the radio announced that it was destined for a further bench. Still, she hurried.

The boots rang off the ladder and then she was down. The ground vibrated with the truck’s rumble. When she reached the shovel, she paused. The rock was bone white. Funny how it’d looked almost black from the cab. Spidery veins of red ran through it-no more than a prettily shaped rock.

The truck’s gears ground as it passed.

Sandy reached up, chest pressed against the shovel’s cold steel, hands straining to the lip of the bucket. She settled back with a huff. She would need to climb the bench to grab the stone, and there wasn’t time. She started to turn, disappointed.

Just then, it fell. She caught the stone in the cradle of her forearms.

Air whooshed from her lips. Heavy thing for being no more than a foot in length and half that in width. She knelt, lowering the rock to the ground, rolling it down her forearms and through the mouth of the backpack.

"Whatcha doing, Sandy?"

She started.

"Let me see-"

"Wake up, did you?" she snapped.

The D11 driver, Edward Running Around, walked toward her. Ed’s eyes were narrowed, and his lips pursed.

"Why are you out of yer cab-" and then his eyes widened as he looked beyond her shoulder.

Sandy turned.

Something long and black stuck out of the sands. Another, similar thing dangled from it, followed by another.

Sandy’s eyes widened. At its tip, halfway to the base of the bench, a talon. The length swung gently, the talon itching at the sand as if digging its way free. With each swing, sand sifted down to the bench floor.

"Is that a dinosaur?"

Sandy snorted to cover her reaction. "Of course it’s a..."

Then she stopped, her mouth gone dry. The rock had toppled from the teeth, as if some brush of wind might have freed it. But there wasn’t any wind. It was cold; it was dark. It was dead still.

Over the low rumble of the shovel engine, came the slow scratches of the talon.

Sandy hauled the pack to her shoulder, the chill of the night penetrating her windbreaker and safety vest. Her teeth chattered. Scratch, scratch...

"Looks like we’ll get our hot coffee after all," she muttered. She turned back to her shovel cab, seeking its warmth, its radio, and its protection.