The Last Tsar's Dragons
by Jane Yolen; Jane Yolen; Adam Stemple
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 06 Jul 2019 | Archive Date 29 Jul 2019
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 by the acclaimed mother-and-son writing team of the Locus Award-winning novel,Pay the Piper, and the Seelie Wars series.
A Note From the Publisher
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.”
"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."
“A dark and disturbing alternate history, laced through with symbols and secrets.”
—Emma Bull, author of The Chronicles of the Borderlands
“Vivid, gripping and actually riveting as the Red Danger takes a whole new meaning here. Loved it.”
—The Book Smugglers
“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
“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
“Seriously clever and rigorous hard sci-fi about the difficulties of planning a political revolution.”
—Caustic Cover Critic
“History buffs and dragon fans will enjoy this mix of reality and fantasy.”
“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
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."
“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.”
“This swift and entertaining read...skillfully blends ancient magic with music and contemporary teen life.”
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.”
“Fairy tale fantasy master Yolen teams up with her son Stemple to offer an entertaining and engaging story.”
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.”
“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
-Advertising and co-op in national print, online outlets, and social media
-Promotion at major trade and genre conventions, including BEA, Readercon, the International Convention for the Fantastic in the Arts, and the World Fantasy Convention
-Features, interviews, and reviews targeting fantasy, adult and young adult outlets
-Tour dates in New England, Scotland, and national TBD -Planned galley distribution and book giveaways to include NetGalley, Goodreads, Edelweiss, Tor.com, and additional online outlets
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 38 members
If you like dragons and Russia, you will love it. A clever alternative story of the Russian Revolution with characters such as Trotsky, Lenine, the Tsar and his family - and dragons. Fast-paced, well-written, this story was fascinating, full of great characters and audacious dialogues. The Last Tsar's Dragons might become an instant classic - it has all the elements to become one. This is the kind of books you wish you would have written yourself! It will take only a couple of hours to read. The paradox is that you won't forget it - to conclude, you have to read it. Like... for real!
Do you want a novella about the Russian Revolution in which Trotsky raises dragons? Because that’s what this is. The POV rotates quite a bit, so it’s not only Trotsky raising dragons, there are also sections on the Tsarina Alexandra’s views on dragons, Rasputin’s views on dragons, etc. Well, and some other things that aren’t dragons. There’s quite a lot of genuine history (fictionalized enough to provide dialog, inner thoughts, etc.) of the last days of the tsar’s empire and the beginning of the Russian Revolution–I was actually surprised at how closely this hewed to the reality of the world we live in, considering: dragons. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised. The Russian Revolution and its main figures had enough weirdness for any speculative writer. In that context the dragons almost feel like the most normal thing, which may well have been the point. In any case: if you’re like me, you heard the premise and made up your mind that you wanted it right away, and that is a very sensible thing to do.
Do find the end of the Russian Tsar’s reign fascinating? Do you love dragons? Well, if you put your hand up for both of these questions, I have the book for you! I was originally found and was drawn to this title while I was coming down form my Romanov (by Nadine Brandes) earlier this year. Another retelling of the mysterious ending to the infamous Romanov family… and now with dragons. This story starts as the revolutionaries start to gain power and momentum, at this time in the Tsar’s power is kept secure by his trusty fleet of dragons that keep all the empires’ enemies at bay. There is change in the wind prophesied by the Mad Monk and trusted advisor to the Tsarina, Rasputin. This was a fast paced story, told by all of the players involved from the Tsar and Tsarina to Rasputin and the a Jewish revolutionary. I really enjoyed seeing the varied posts of view. This was an interesting read, and I would recommend it to creative historical fiction fans… now if you excuse me, I’ll be over here googling the Romanovs and Rasputin! The Last Tsar's Dragons by Jane Yolen; Adam Stemple was release June 6, 2019. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tachyon Publications through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. #TheLastTsarsDragons #NetGalley