Dragons, a new take on the ancient beastie.
Dragons have been around, in our myths and legends at least, since before the days of Jason and the Argonauts (wherein one of Jason’s trials was to sow dragons’ teeth), from before the days of the Iliad, and from before the days when Triptolemus went to Thrace and his host Carnabon slew one of the dragons pulling his chariot, for which Carnabon was hounded by Demeter until his death and after, when she had him banished to the constellation Ophiuchos where he forever holds at arm’s length a serpent (a/k/a dragon) trying to kill him. Twinkle, twinkle, little dragon . . . Dragon myths go even farther back, to the 2nd (or some say 3rd) millennium BCE, when the dragon Illuyankus, whose favorite snack was Hittite children, was killed by the storm god Tarhunt to save Hatti’s children from a dragon’s dinner table.
I thought I had a handle on all possible dragon myths, until I read Thomas Barczak’s inventive novel, in which both dragons and human children play a part . . . And I’m not going to tell you what happens in Tom Barczak’s Mouth of the Dragon, but I can pretty much guarantee you’ve never read a book like it before (unless, of course, you’ve read Tom’s precursor novel, Veil of the Dragon). But never fear, whether you’ve never read a dragon tale or have a shelf full, Mouth of the Dragon stands alone, and proudly, to great effect.
As you may have guessed by now, I loved this book. Until I read Mouth of the Dragon, I wasn’t sure there were any roads as yet untrod in dragon realms — no stories still untold, no new tales that could make you think differently about dragonkind. Now that I’ve read Mouth of the Dragon, here’s my reaction, spoiler-free and thus phrased as questions: Is a dragon still a dragon when he controls people from inside them? Is prophecy still prophecy when it turns upon its prophet? Can a dark YA/NA book also be a book for grownups? My answer is a resounding yes to all of those. Lyrical, subtle, and always refreshing, Barczak poses new questions, new answers, and does so in an inimitable style. For a fresh take on dragons and their relationship with humanity, read this. You’ll be glad you did, and that way you won’t be the only one on the internet who hasn’t read it yet . . .
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Want to hold a beautiful edition in your hands? You can also order the deluxe trade edition with an original cover by Roy Mauritsen from Perseid Press at: www.theperseidpress.com/?page_id=1641
or from Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Mouth-Dragon-Prophecy-Thomas-Barczak/dp/0997758392/