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THE DRAGON WAITING: A MASQUE OF HISTORY (FANTASY MASTERWORKS S.) [Paperback]

JOHN M. FORD


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: GOLLANCZ (2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575073780
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575073784
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 240 g

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rough magic Aug. 23 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A dark and gritty fantasy/alternate-history/vampire novel of remarkable psychological and political complexity (even unravelling the web of betrayal, intrigue and back-stabbing that forms the background to the main plot requires considerable thought), giving a panoramic sweep of a 15th-century Europe soaked in blood and magic.
Ford makes a few elegant changes in the course of history (which are never spelled out, the reader being flung in at the deep end and left to work it out for themselves), and then develops the logical consequences of these changes with uncompromising realism (and considerable wit - merely as a matter of incidental detail, for example, we discover that Christianity never took root and is now a minor and largely-forgotten heresy). Life is as nasty, brutal and short as it presumably was in the real 15th-century, and the protagonists are complicated, messed-up, and thoroughly believable human beings (the book even includes that rarity, a female leading character who isn't terminally bland), despite or because of which the book is hugely enjoyable and great fun.
Definitely not for those looking for another slice of pseudo-Tolkien questing, but highly recommended for anyone interested in something a little more challenging. It demands more thought than the average fantasy, but richly rewards the effort. A real treat.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Dec 28 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I read this book, more or less by accident, not particularly famous and was dazzled. Wow. Can't think of what to say, but will try.
The novel is set in an alternate history Europe, where either Constantine never converted to Christianity or Julian established the equality of all faiths, and the Byzantine Empire never declined, but in fact by the middle of the XVth century controls most of Eastern Europe and is trying to get as much of the West as possible. And magic works, and vampires exist also. I don't usually like alternate history, the real historical characters usually look unlikely next to the alternate bits, but this novel handled it perfectly, and the real historical characters of the XVth century (Richard III of England, his mother, and brothers, the Earl Rivers, Louis XI of France, the Medicci, the Duke of Urbino) are a joy to read about if you have met them before.
Great novel, deserving of a far better review than this one.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is to fantasy what Dune is to SF. Sept. 21 1998
By simon.carter5@virgin.net - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
One of my favourite books,The Dragon Waiting, is a superb blend of history and fantasy. Mixing historical characters from the 15th century and captivating fictional heroes, this is a book that is both engrossing and enjoyable. John M Ford, a much underated author, succeeds in combining in-depth research with a vivid imagination and tweaks history to create a vision of europe where conspiracies lurk behind shady motives and dark characters, vampirism is a spreadable disease and magic a burden to the magician. A truly marvellous book, that deserves reprinting.
15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Dragon Waiting March 21 2005
By K. Freeman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The adventures of four different characters -- an emperor-in-exile, a native-prince-of-Wales in exile, a German vampire and an Italian woman doctor -- in a very alternate fifteenth century Europe.

Ford's alternative history concepts are fascinating. At times, his writing is beautiful and many of the individual scenes are full of action and imagery.

However, the book reads to me like something the author wrote for himself, without considering (or perhaps without caring) if readers could follow along. Characters' motivations are opaque, as are some of the events in the plot; a major antagonist only comes into existence near the end of the book and is never developed. Whole scenes descend into a kind of oblique vagueness; characters react, sometimes with great emotional intensity, but it is not always clear to the reader what caused the reaction. That Dragon Waiting held my interest despite this is a tribute to Ford's writing, but it's hard not to think that a tremendous story was lost in the shadows of this book.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Stuff Aug. 27 2005
By J. Lindsay - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is a delight to read. The story unfolds in a re-working of history, and being up on your history will bring even more savor to your enjoyment of the novel, but you needn't be an expert to experience the shivers of excitement and fear that it effortlessly brings on. It is not true historical fiction, since magic and vampires have been added to the world, but I didn't find them gratuitous. I first heard of it in Neil Gaiman's web-journal, and have not regretted looking it up afterwards.

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