The Last Tsar’s Dragons

Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple

It is the waning days of the Russian monarchy. A reckless man rules the land and his dragons rule the sky. Though the Tsar aims his dragons at his enemies—Jews and Bolsheviks—his entire country is catching fire. Revolution is in the air—and the Red Army is hatching its own weapons.

Clear

The Last Tsar’s Dragons

by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple

ISBN: Print ISBN: 9781616962876 Digital ISBN: 9781616962883

Published: June 2019

Available Format(s): Trade Paperback and Digital

Description

“Vivid, gripping and actually riveting, as the Red Danger takes a whole new meaning here. Loved it.” —The Book Smugglers

It is the waning days of the Russian monarchy. A reckless man rules the land and his dragons rule the sky. Though the Tsar aims his dragons at his enemies—Jews and Bolsheviks—his entire country is catching fire. Conspiracies suffuse the royal court: bureaucrats jostle one another for power, the mad monk Rasputin schemes for the Tsar’s ear, and the desperate queen takes drastic measures to protect her family.

Revolution is in the air—and the Red Army is hatching its own weapons.

Discover Russia’s October Revolution reimagined in flight, brought to life by the acclaimed mother-and-son writing team of the Locus Award-winning novel, Pay the Piper, and the Seelie Wars series.

Praise for The Last Tsar’s Dragons 

“Master fantasist Yolen (How To Fracture a Fairy Tale, 2018, etc.) and her son Stemple collaborate on a novella that merges dragons with the Russian Revolution. Cycling among the points of view of the last tsar, Nicholas II, his wife, the tsarina Alexandra, the notorious Grigori Rasputin, Leon Trotsky, and an unnamed court official, the story tells the downfall of tsarist Russia and the rise of the revolution—but if you think you know the story, think again. Because in this Russia, the tsar sends out flights of black-scaled, fire-breathing dragons to harass his enemies, especially the Jews, and Leon Trotsky (known in the book by his birth name, Bronstein) has managed to secretly raise an army of his own dragons—these are red and fighting for the revolution. Despite the high stakes, the story feels quite intimate as it leads us to gaze on each player in turn: the tsarina, a foreigner to her husband’s country, plagued with worry over her ill son and believing that only Rasputin can save him; Rasputin himself, driven by his madness, lusts, and ambition; Bronstein, who struggles to keep hold of the weapon he has given to the revolution; and our nameless court dignitary, whose hatred of Rasputin drives much of the action. The dragons themselves are never afterthoughts—their effect on the characters, even when they are not present, worms its way into nearly every scene—but they are also not the players of the drama. Like the impending revolution, their presence simply hangs over the characters with the shadow of brutal, impersonal violence. Where the characters end up is not surprising—we know the history, after all—but getting there is delightful, carried along by crisp, tight prose and the authors’ marvelous imaginations.”
Kirkus

“Mother-and-son writing team Yolen and Stemple’s first book for adults explores the period right before the Russian Revolution—but with the fun addition of dragons, which serves to heighten the conflict between the political strife and the Russian court. Alternating narrators give insight into the various historical figures, including the uniquely enjoyable Rasputin, and the relationship between the Tsar and Tsarina adds an emotional element. The dragons present a challenge to the revolution, but the enemies of the crown, whether revolutionaries or not, may have a way to defeat the beasts. The melding of historical fiction and fantasy with a known and important moment in history creates a thought-provoking, creative novel.”
Booklist

“A dark and disturbing alternate history, laced through with symbols and secrets.”
—Emma Bull, author of The Chronicles of the Borderlands

“This one is vivid, gripping and actually riveting, as the Red Danger takes a whole new meaning here. Loved it.”
The Book Smugglers

“In essence, Yolen and Stemple create new origin or ending tales for key people of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. The dragons, though a real part of the story, are also a metaphor for power, and the story becomes as philosophical as entertaining.”
Grasping for the Wind

“To include dragons in the Russian Revolution seems like the kind of inspired idea that, in lesser hands, could not possibly live up to a reader’s expectations; but Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple take that idea and soar with it, spinning a tale of alternate history that is both wondrous and sublime. The book is elegant, quotable, and at the end, I simply wished for more.”
—James A. Owen, author of Here, There Be Dragons

“History buffs and dragon fans will enjoy this mix of reality and fantasy.”
Publishers Weekly

“Everything’s better with dragons . . . We should be grateful for the whims of creative fate because The Last Tsar’s Dragons is a well-written, clever novella that’s worth your time.”
Elitist Book Reviews

 

About the Authors

Jane Yolen has been called the Hans Christian Andersen of America and the Aesop of the twentieth century. She is the author of over three hundred and sixty five books, including children’s fiction, poetry, short stories, graphic novels, nonfiction, fantasy, and science fiction. Her publications include Owl MoonThe Devil’s ArithmeticBriar RoseSister Emily’s Starship and Sister Light, Sister Dark. Among her many honors are the Caldecott and Christopher Medals, multiple Nebula, World Fantasy, Mythopoeic, Golden Kite, and Jewish Book awards; as well as the World Fantasy Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Science Fiction Poetry Grand Master Award. Yolen is also a teacher of writing and a book reviewer. She lives in Western Massachusetts and St. Andrew, Scotland.

Adam Stemple (www.adamstemple.com) is an author, musician, web designer, and professional card player.  He has written eight novels, including Pay the Piper (with Jane Yolen), winner of the 2006 Locus Award winner for Best Young Adult Book. Of his debut solo novel, Singer of Souls, Anne McCaffrey said, “One of the best first novels I have ever read.”

Praise for Pay the Piper by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple

“Yolen and her son, a professional musician, have produced a rollicking good riff on the Pied Piper…. An entertaining as well as meaty read.” —Booklist

“Jane Yolen, a mistress of fantasy, has teamed up with her rock-and-roll musician son to develop a series crossing classic tales with contemporary music. This debut effort is a thriller.” —The Washington Post

“Veteran storyteller Yolen works with her musician son on this new interpretation of the Pied Piper of Hamelin story that will intrigue those [who] enjoy retellings of familiar stories or are lured by tales of the Faerie realm.” —VOYA

“This swift and entertaining read…skillfully blends ancient magic with music and contemporary teen life.” —KLIATT Magazine

 

Praise for Troll Bridge by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple

“Drawing elements from ‘The Twelve Dancing Princesses’ and ‘The Three Billy Goats Gruff,’ [Yolen and Stemple] give folklore a modern spin in an entertaining tale.” ―Booklist

“Fairy tale fantasy master Yolen teams up with her son Stemple to offer an entertaining and engaging story.” ―VOYA

 

Praise for Jane Yolen

“Jane Yolen facets her glittering stories with the craft of a master jeweller.” —Elizabeth Wein, author of Code Name Verity

“There is simply no better storyteller working in the fantasy field today. She’s a national treasure.” —Terri Windling, author of The Wood Wife and The Essential Bordertown

“[STARRED REVIEW] [Yolen] once again delivers the magic, humor, and lovely prose that has attracted readers for years.” —Library Journal on The Emerald Circus

“[STARRED REVIEW] These highly entertaining retellings are perfect for teen fans of fairy tales and classic literature.” —School Library Journal on The Emerald Circus

 

Praise for Singer of Souls by Adam Stemple

“Stemple blends the majesty and brutality of the faery world with the grit and pulse of contemporary society.” —School Library Journal

“One of the best first novels I have ever read.” —Anne McCaffrey, author of the Dragonriders of Pern series

“Wonderful. Fans of Charles de Lint and Clive Barker will find much to like.” —Publishers Weekly

Singer of Souls glows with magic and folklore, realistic characters and vivid language, and has the grit, blood, and tension of good film noir.” —Emma Bull, author of Bone Dance and Territory

 

Visit the Jane Yolen website or on Twitter @JaneYolen

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