- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Ace (November 7, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0441014437
- ISBN-13: 978-0441014439
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 23 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,294,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Harrowing the Dragon Paperback – November 7, 2006
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About the Author
Patricia A. McKillip is a winner of the World Fantasy Award, and the author of many fantasy novels, including The Riddlemaster of Hed trilogy, Stepping from the Shadows, and The Cygnet and the Firebird. She lives in Oregon.
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"The Harrowing of the Dragon of Hoarsbreath" (Elsewhere, 1982) tells of two miner's children, who returned to the island of cold and gold.
"A Matter of Music" (Elsewhere, 1984) takes Cresce to Daghian as its Bard.
"A Troll and Two Roses" (Faery!, 1985) concerns a troll named Thorn, who liked to scare travelers crossing his bridge.
"Baba Yaga and the Sorcerer's Son" (Dragons and Dreams, 1986) brings a young sorcerer to the witch with a problem.
"The Fellowship of the Dragon" (After the King, 1992) involves five questors looking for a harper and a black dragon.
"Lady of the Skulls" (Strange Dreams, 1993) takes six treasure seekers to a castle in the desert.
"The Snow Queen" (Snow White, Blood Red, 1993) relates the breakup of a couple and the consequences.
"Ash, Wood, Fire" (The Women's Press, 1993) examines a day in the life of the firetender in a kitchen.
"The Stranger" (Temporary Walls, 1993) introduces a stranger with magic in his music into a village.
"Transmutations" (Xanadu 2, 1994) concerns an old alchemist, his apprentice, and an ambitious barmaid.
"The Lion and the Lark" (The Armless Maiden, 1995) follows a girl who honors her father.
"The Witches of Junket" (Sisters in Fantasy, 1996) pits a witch coven against the monster in Oyster Rock.
"Star-Crossed" (Shakespearean Whodunnit, 1997) investigates the deaths of Romeo and Juliet.
"Voyage into the Heart" (Voyages, 1999) searches for a virgin to attract a unicorn.
"Toad" (Silver Birch, Blood Moon, 1999) confronts a princess with a frog and her promises.
These tales were all published in original anthologies, hence the wide spectrum of plots. They illustrate the breadth of her talents.
Highly recommended for McKillip fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of magical fantasy, enthralling storytelling, and a bit of romance. Read and enjoy!
-Arthur W. Jordin
"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. It also displays the range of her abilities -- she can do humour and tragedy, fantasy and realism, and even rework older stories. Not much is added to the "Beauty and the Beast" retelling, except for McKillip's use of the ancient Psyche legend. Instead, it's the beauty of her language.
McKillip's writing is known for its incandescent quality; she fills it with jewels, flames, music, snow, griffins, witches and fantastical creatures. Her writing can be clear and sharp as an icicle, or as rich and soft as aged velvet. Even stories that could have been goofy or gimmicky -- like her recounting of "Romeo and Juliet's" aftermath -- surprisingly beautiful and poignant.
After many years, Patricia McKillip's shorter writings are finally compiled into "Harrowing the Dragon," a charming read full of magic and mystery.
Most recent customer reviews
this story is perhaps not my favorite by her, but is certainly worth the read!