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Harrowing the Dragon Paperback – November 7, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Trade (November 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441014437
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441014439
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #471,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. As shown in this excellent story collection, World Fantasy Award–winner McKillip (Od Magic) can take the most common fantasy elements—dragons and bards, sorcerers and shape-shifters—and reshape them in surprising and resonant ways. In "The Harrowing of the Dragon of Hoarsbreath," a man determined to drive off a fearsome dragon learns that pride can be as cold and monstrous as any beast. "The Snow Queen" and "The Lion and the Lark" (based on Beauty and the Beast) clothe old classics in new magic to examine the price of identity and the value of freedom. The bleak "Star-Crossed" details the official investigation into the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, while "Voyage into the Heart" tells of the heartless hunt to capture a unicorn's horn. "Baba Yaga and the Sorcerer's Son" is full of charm and humor, while the sly "Toad" reveals a frog prince who is far from innocent. Each of these tales is a gem of storytelling, a rich treasure for both fans and those yet to discover McKillip's deceptively simple magic.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–This collection includes 15 tales previously published between 1982 and 1999. The stories range from high fantasy set on other worlds to a first-person account of the investigation into the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. A few (The Lion and the Lark, Toad, The Snow Queen) are retellings of fairy tales. Of special interest is the variety of strong, often young female characters. In The Fellowship of the Dragon, five young women are sent by their queen to rescue her lover, the court harper, with unexpected results. McKillips elegant prose explores the nature of love, friendship, wisdom, and change, often with a touch of humor. Outstanding.–Sandy Freund, Richard Byrd Library, Fairfax County, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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This is definitely a book of short stories that I'll read again and again!
Postmoderna
McKilip makes fascinating and wonderful worlds and can make even the most common themes, such as dragons, new and fresh.
Alva
This collection of short stories by fantasy writer Patricia A. McKillip is wonderful!
Beth

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Some authors are good at full-length books. Some are good at short stories. And then there are a rare few that can actually do both at the same time, with no lag in quality.

"Harrowing the Dragon" demonstrates that Patricia McKillip is one of the third group. These fifteen short stories -- previously published in various anthologies -- demonstrate how lushly textured writing and exquisite plots make McKillip's short stories almost as good as her full-length books.

She starts off the collection with two novella: the long out-of-print "Harrowing of the Dragon of Hoarsbreath," a haunting story about an island kept in perpetual winter by a sleeping dragon, and a proud young man determined to stop it; and then there is "A Matter of Music," where a young bard tries to bring peace and music to the ones around her.

Then there are the smaller stories: A contemporary retelling of "The Snow Queen," where Kay is lured from his loving wife by a sultry woman, rural witches gather, a mysterious stranger changes the sky over a village, four women set out to rescue the Queen's bard, and a troll falls in love with a princess. It ends with a charming brief look at how the "frog prince" (who is actually a toad) sees the whole story.

This collection will be something of a godsend to McKillip's readers -- many of these stories were only available in out-of-print anthologies. So getting ahold of them was annoying, assuming that it was possible to find them at all. And this collection can serve as an introduction to McKillip's writing for new readers, if her lushly-written novels seem intimidating.

So it's nice to have (most of) her stories compiled together.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By biblio.phage on November 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Patricia A. McKillip's first-ever collection of short fiction is a winner, every bit as rewarding as her fine novels, better in some ways. It's a showcase of small gems from an author obviously just as comfortable and accomplished in the short form as in the long.

As in her best novels--OMBRIA IN SHADOW, SONG FOR THE BASILISK, ALPHABET OF THORN--McKillip's strength lies in creating both strong, attractive characters and a sense of atmosphere that draws the reader in. The beauty of these stories is the economy and pace at which these things are accomplished; while each piece completes it's arc in a completely satisfactory (and author-ly) way, there were several times I found myself wishing I was reading a novel, and that there would be more about these people and places forthcoming.

There was not a story that I didn't like, not a one I thought wasn't among the best fantasy fiction I have read this year. Some are so good, you have to wonder why McKillip doesn't get far more attention than she does, and what this says about the exposure and attention given to short fantasy in the market today.

Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on November 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This compilation of fifteen fantasies written in the 1980s (4) and 1990s (11) by award-winner Patricia A. McKillip are all delightful tales that showcases a wonderful author who is as comfortable with short stories as she is with novels. Few writers can match Ms. McKillip's skills with taking the standard sub-genre rudiments and turning them into the tools of Od Magic that make her such a terrific fantasist. All are superior entries, but this reviewer especially enjoyed the retelling of fairy tales. Each of the contributions is different, but share in common messages involving freedom to choose. Fans will enjoy this strong enticing anthology with tales like the official crime scene investigators looking into the suspicious deaths of Romeo and Juliet that seem so much like a murder-suicide crime of passion. A terrific imagination makes this a fine reading experience.

Harriet Klausner
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Fisher TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
Patricia A. McKillip is the author of several wonderful books (my favourites being "Alphabet of Thorn" and "Winter Rose") and is one of the few fantasists in the publishing world that is original. Although her stories may contain typical fantasy elements (dragons, heroes, kingdoms, quests, good versus evil, etc) they are written in such beautiful poetic-prose that the stories transcend the clichés they stem from; reading more as luminous fairytales than hum-drum fantasy. Although the prose is beautiful, it is also an acquired taste. When I was first introduced to her work, I found it rather difficult to adjust to a story that was often hidden under such dense, rich language. Of course, it's worth it in the end, but for those just starting out on McKillip, perhaps this anthology of short stories is a good starting place.

And for those already well-versed in the magic of McKillip's writing, a series of stories is an added bonus to add to a collection. McKillip is just as skilled in the creation of short stories as she is in full-length novels, and sometimes a quick-fix of her work is just what a devoted reader needs. Containing fifteen stories (some of which span a few pages, others which are better described as novellas); there's enough variety amongst them to keep each one fresh and interesting.

In the story that gives the book its title, "Harrowing the Dragon", a dragon-slayer comes to the island of Hoarsbreath in order to harrow the dragon from its shores. He is joined by a native of the island, a young woman who isn't too sure if she wants the dragon to go. "A Matter of Music" concerns Cresce Dami, a bard who has freshly graduated from her school with ambitions of playing in Daghian.
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