Dragons in the Waters

Madeleine L'Engle

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Thirteen-year-old Simon Renier has no idea when he boards the M.S. Orion with his cousin Forsyth Phair that their journey to Venezuela will be a dangerous one. His original plan—to return a family heirloom, a portrait of Simon Bolivar, to its rightful place—is sidetracked when cousin Forsyth is found murdered. When the portrait is stolen, all passengers and crew are suspects. Simon’s newfound friends, Poly and Charles O’Keefe, and their scientist father help Simon try to find his painting, and his cousin’s murderer. But will they succeed before they land? Or will the murderer and thief escape into the jungles of Venezuela?


Read an Excerpt

Dragons in the Water
1THE FORK LIFTThe M.S. Orion was tied up at Savannah, Georgia.Simon Renier, hands in the pockets of his old-fashioned grey shorts, looked at the small white ship with mounting excitement. He would be spending the next week on the Orion en route to Venezuela and already, standing on the pier in Savannah, he was farther away from home than he had ever been in his thirteen years.It was chill this February day, with a thin rain and a biting wind. In a more sheltered part of the dock stood his cousin, Forsyth Phair, with whom he would be traveling, and his great-aunt Leonis Phair,


Praise for Dragons in the Waters

"On board the freighter Orion sailing for Venezuela are Polly, Charles, and their scientist father, Dr. O'Keefe, along with Simon Renier and his uncle Forsyth Phair, an assortment of intriguing travelers, and a small crew." --Starred, Booklist

In the Press

DRAGONS IN THE WATERS by Madeline L'EngleKirkus Book Reviews
Read the Kirkus Review of DRAGONS IN THE WATERS . The O'Keefe family from Arm of the Starfish (1965) are on hand to join Simon Bolivar Renier and his spooky Cousin Phair on a freighter voyage from Savannah to Venezuela which looks at the outset a bit like L'Engle's version of Ship of Fools.
- Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Madeleine L'Engle

  • Madeleine L’Engle (1918–2007) was the Newbery Medal-winning author of more than 60 books, including the much-loved A Wrinkle in Time. Born in 1918, L’Engle grew up in New York City, Switzerland, South Carolina and Massachusetts.  Her father was a reporter and her mother had studied to be a pianist, and their house was always full of musicians and theater people. L’Engle graduated cum laude from Smith College, then returned to New York to work in the theater. While touring with a play, she wrote her first book, The Small Rain, originally published in 1945. She met her future husband, Hugh Franklin, when they both appeared in The Cherry Orchard.


    Upon becoming Mrs. Franklin, L’Engle gave up the stage in favor of the typewriter. In the years her three children were growing up, she wrote four more novels. Hugh Franklin temporarily retired from the theater, and the family moved to western Connecticut and for ten years ran a general store. Her book Meet the Austins, an American Library Association Notable Children's Book of 1960, was based on this experience.


    Her science fantasy classic A Wrinkle in Time was awarded the 1963 Newbery Medal. Two companion novels, A Wind in the Door and A Swiftly Tilting Planet (a Newbery Honor book), complete what has come to be known as The Time Trilogy, a series that continues to grow in popularity with a new generation of readers. Her 1980 book A Ring of Endless Light won the Newbery Honor. L’Engle passed away in 2007 in Litchfield, Connecticut.

  • Madeleine L'Engle Photo by Sigrid Estrada


Available Formats and Book Details

Dragons in the Waters

Madeleine L'Engle