I read this book about five years ago, and the cover was purple.

The book was about two inches thick, and I remember it had a young girl as the main character. She had a dragon, which at some point she disguised as a soup ladle. I remember a character called the necromancer, and I think the girl's name was Ping or something similar.

It was definitely set in the past in China or some other part of Asia.

I remember a fire burning down a building, and something to do with mountains in the beginning.

Definitely a fantasy story with the baby shapeshifting dragon, but don't know much else.

2 Answers 2


Could this be "Garden of the Purple Dragon" by Carole Wilkinson?

In the time of the Han Dynasty in ancient China, a young orphan struggles to fulfill her destiny. Ping has survived her days as a slave at Huangling Palace, but new challenges await her in the desolate mountains of Tai Shan. The wise dragon, Danzi, is no longer around to guide her, and now it is up to Ping to take care of the baby dragon, Kai. Food is scarce, and she must constantly be on the lookout for enemies. Things seem to get better when fate leads them back to the Imperial Palace, to the Garden of the Purple Dragon. Yet even within these hallowed walls, Ping and Kai are not as they believe.

The summary on Wikipedia specifically notes

Ping learns that Kai can shape-change and turns into firstly a soup ladle.

which seems to match pretty well. None of the covers listed on ISFDB match, but I found this one with a google image search.

cover of "Garden of the Purple Dragon"


Dragonkeeper (2007) by Carole Wilkinson maybe?

From Goodreads:

In the time of the Han Dynasty in ancient China, the last remaining dragon is in danger of being killed by the cruel Emperor. A nameless orphan with no past and an uncertain future becomes his unlikely ally. The young orphan soon discovers that it is her destiny to protect the aging dragon and his mysterious purple stone. Chased by an evil dragon hunter and a powerful sorcerer, their adventure is not easy. Each must learn to help and understand the other if they are to survive. To succeed in her task, the young orphan must reach deep within herself to find courage she never knew existed. No longer can she be the timid, shy orphan she once was. She is now the one, true Dragon Keeper.

Per Wikipedia, the girl's name is Ping. The covers don't strike me as particularly purple, but the rest seems to match. The Guardian's review has a necromancer:

A slave girl Ping escapes from the palace of Huangling with the dragon Danzi, carrying the dragonstone towards Ocean. They encounter both Diao and The Necromancer on the journey, but overcome these evil men, and also meet The Emperor.

You can read the first eight pages or so on the author's website, here.

Found with the Google query book dragon necromancer ping.

  • Turns out it's the second book in the series, Garden of the Purple Dragon. I guess that explains why the introduction confused me...but this is close enough! Feb 12, 2019 at 3:40
  • @RedwolfPrograms alright then, enjoy the re-read! :)
    – Jenayah
    Feb 12, 2019 at 3:41
  • Since the second answer is more correct, I'm switching it to that one. Feb 12, 2019 at 3:49
  • 1
    @RedwolfPrograms and rightly so :) I'm leaving this answer up as it contains some info about the series and how I found it, which might be useful to future readers.
    – Jenayah
    Feb 12, 2019 at 3:54

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