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The Dragon Waiting

by John M. Ford

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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9452718,812 (3.8)37
Tor Essentials presents new editions of science fiction and fantasy titles of proven merit and lasting value, each volume introduced by an appropriate literary figure. The Wars of the Roses have put Edward IV on the throne of England, Lorenzo de' Medici's court shines brilliantly, and Duke Galeazzo Maria Sforza plots in Milan. But this medieval world is dominated by the undiminished Byzantine Empire. In a snowbound inn high in the Alps, four people meet who will alter fate: A noble Byzantine mercenary; a female Florentine physician; an ageless Welsh wizard; and Sforza, the uncanny Duke. Together they will wage an intrigue-filled campaign against the might of Byzantium, striving to secure the English throne for Richard, Duke of Gloucester--and make him Richard III. Available for the first time in over two decades, The Dragon Waiting begins Tor's program to reissue the work of the late John M. Ford, an award-winning science fiction and fantasy writer, game designer, and poet, whose work was held in high regard by peers ranging from Neil Gaiman to Robert Jordan to Jo Walton to Roger Zelazny, alongside innumerable others. With a new introduction by Scott Lynch, New York Times-bestselling author of The Lies of Locke Lamora.… (more)
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» See also 37 mentions

English (25)  Spanish (1)  All languages (26)
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
What should have been an interesting take on a historical scenario was delivered in a completely uninteresting manner. And in several cases an unbelievable manner. I mean, how would they still have Christian names? ( )
  natcontrary | Aug 16, 2022 |
I’ve been picking up books in the Tor essentials imprint lately and just finished The Dragon Waiting by John Ford. A bit clunky at times but it was a real enjoyable alt history / fantasy read. Ford asks a lot of his readers, and it feels like this is one that would really hold up well to a reread.

It also feels like the kind of thing that in a lesser, or at least different, author would turn into a series. ( )
  jordan7hm | Jan 18, 2022 |
This is an alternate 15th century Europe, brought to us by the brilliant John M. Ford.

Instead of Julian the Apostate, who only briefly interrupted the spread of Christianity in Europe, in this alternate history there was Julian the Wise, who lived long enough to prevent any faith from being banned, and any faith from becoming dominant over the others and being able to ban them. The eastern empire, its capital at Byzantium, remains strong and vibrant--and in the 15th century, is working to expand into western Europe. It controls about half of France, and parts of Italy, and wants more.

In other ways, this Europe is very familiar. Edward IV is King of England, Lorenzo de' Medici is a powerful banker and de facto ruler of Florence. Galeazzo Sforza is Duke of Milan, though in this world he's in the pay of Byzantium, and also a vampire.

We follow a wizard, Hywel Peredur, nephew of Owain Glyn Dwr; a mercenary named Dimitrios Ducas; a young woman doctor from Florence, Cynthia Ricci; and Gregory von Bayern, natural scientist, engineer, and vampire. Vampirism is a disease, and it can be spread, and that turns out to matter, quite a lot.

The story revolves around people with very different original goals, coming together to achieve something perhaps none of them had originally intended. We travel through the beliefs and the ritual and cultural practices that didn't get suppressed by the rise of Christianity, but Christianity is also here, in several different flavors.

This is a rich, lived-in world, and has special riches to offer to those interested in Renaissance Italy, the Wars of the Roses in England, and other absorbing bits of 15th century Europe.

And it's really difficult to say more than that, because this is such a rich, layered world and story.

Highly recommended.

I bought this book. ( )
1 vote LisCarey | Nov 30, 2021 |
This is an interesting read. John M. Ford reminds me somewhat of Neal Stephenson but maybe a little less didactic. For a complex alt history tale this felt like a well-paced read. As others who have reviewed this book, there were parts of the novel that wandered a bit - but it is well worth the journey.
I find it interesting that this book was written well before some current trends - strong female leads, LGBTQ characters both appear to be well represented in the Dr. Ricci and Dimi characters. This book can be said to have been well ahead of its time- perhaps even timeless in the classic sense.
This book is going onto my re-read shelf. ( )
1 vote paulgtr234 | Oct 7, 2021 |
I finished the book. I got confused in the middle because I am not that familiar with English history of the period and what the book was about. I started it thinking it was a book about the survival and expansion of the Byzantine empire and various people trying to fight against it. The book was really about giving reasons for how Richard III acted. I was vaguely aware that Richard killed off all the possible rivals to the throne including two young nephews. This book explains that he was doing it to fight against various plots of the Byzantines. The main characters and the Byzantines were there just to explain that story. The book was well written and the characters were well done. People would probably enjoy the book more if they read Shakespeare's Richard III play and maybe Wikipedia. ( )
  mgplavin | Oct 3, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John M. Fordprimary authorall editionscalculated
Barr,KenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carr, RichardCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koslow, HowardCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lynch, ScottIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
SanjulianCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wyatt, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
The Empire lay in the imposed order; around
the throne the visionary zone of clear light
hummed with celestial action; there the forms
of chamberlains, logothetes, nuncios, went and came...
These dwelled in Byzantium...
But also in the mind of the Empire another kind
of tale lay than that of the Grail.
- Charles Williams, The Region of the Summer Stars
Dedication
To those who were there, at the crisis.
First words
The road the Romans made traversed North Wales a little way inland, between the weather off the Irish Sea and the mountains of Gwynedd and Powys; past the copper and the lead that the travel-hungry Empire craved.
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Tor Essentials presents new editions of science fiction and fantasy titles of proven merit and lasting value, each volume introduced by an appropriate literary figure. The Wars of the Roses have put Edward IV on the throne of England, Lorenzo de' Medici's court shines brilliantly, and Duke Galeazzo Maria Sforza plots in Milan. But this medieval world is dominated by the undiminished Byzantine Empire. In a snowbound inn high in the Alps, four people meet who will alter fate: A noble Byzantine mercenary; a female Florentine physician; an ageless Welsh wizard; and Sforza, the uncanny Duke. Together they will wage an intrigue-filled campaign against the might of Byzantium, striving to secure the English throne for Richard, Duke of Gloucester--and make him Richard III. Available for the first time in over two decades, The Dragon Waiting begins Tor's program to reissue the work of the late John M. Ford, an award-winning science fiction and fantasy writer, game designer, and poet, whose work was held in high regard by peers ranging from Neil Gaiman to Robert Jordan to Jo Walton to Roger Zelazny, alongside innumerable others. With a new introduction by Scott Lynch, New York Times-bestselling author of The Lies of Locke Lamora.

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