A family of dragons gathers on the occasion of the death of their father, the elder Bon Agornin.
As is custom, they must eat the body. But even as Bon's last remains are polished off, his sons and daughters must all jostle for a position in the new hierarchy.
While the youngest son seeks greedy remuneration through the courts of law, the eldest son - a dragon of the cloth - agonises over his father's deathbed confession.
While one daughter is caught between loyalty to her family by blood and her family by marriage, another daughter follows her heart - only to discover the great cost of true love...Here is a Victorian story of political intrigue, family ties and political intrigue, set in a world of dragons - a world, quite literally, red in tooth and claw.
Full of fiery wit, this is a novel unlike any other.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 320 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
- Publication Date: 21/02/2013
- Category: Fantasy
- ISBN: 9781472100863
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Review by SandDune
I loved this book - pure and simple. In essence, a partial retelling of Anthony Trollope's Framley Parsonage with the important difference that the protagonists are all dragons. Civilised dragons of course, as dragons judge these things, but definitely dragons. I've not read Framley Parsonage but I've read enough of Trollope's other books to recognise the style: finely nuanced class-distinctions; family quarrels; lawsuits; church politics; and of course the importance of making a suitable marriage. But all with dragons.The Dignified Bon Agornin lies dying on his hoard of gold. A rather smaller hoard of gold than he would have liked to leave, as the entry of Penn Agornin, his elder son, into the church had been expensive, and a large dowry had been demanded on the marriage of his eldest daughter, Berend, to the richer and more powerful dragon, the Illustrious Daverak. But to compensate his three younger children, his son Avan and his younger daughters Haner and Selandra, Bon Agornin intends that they should eat the larger part of his body after he is dead. After all, dragons must have dragon flesh or else how will they grow? And an important Illustrious Lord like Daverak has plenty of weakling dragonets on his estates that the Church teaches must be weeded out, so surely he will not expect more than a token bite of his father-in-law's body. But Daverak does not see it like that and together with his wife and children he consumes most of the body, leaving Bon Agornin's three remaining children to share what is left. Dragon flesh can be the difference between life and death to an up and coming dragon like Avan, so he decides to launch a lawsuit against Daverak on behalf of himself and his sisters, to get his rights. But how can the Blessed Penn Agornin testify to his Father's last words, when to do so would mean that he had to disclose the shocking fact that his father had asked him to hear his confession, a rite strictly forbidden by the church, and that in that confession he had admitted the almost as shocking crime of eating his own brother and sister, when they were not even ailing ... And with very small dowries, and their father now dead, how will Selandra and Haner ever make successful marriages, It was the whole world of the dragons that I loved, a world essentially governed by a hereditary aristocracy, where a self-made dragon such as Bon Agornin, is looked down upon by those of higher rank. But it is a world that is changing with the introduction of the railways, and radical ideas about freedom for all dragons being whispered. The way in which Walton has created a society governed on the one hand by rank and privilege and etiquette, and on the other with the underlying need of the dragons to eat each other! Highly recommended to all fantasy lovers.