The Dragon Quintet
An abiding presence in myth and literature from around the world, the dragon has been reborn in modern fantasy fiction. The classic winged fire-breathing reptile often associated with evil (they do despoil villages and demand virgin sacrifices, after all) tends nowadays to be more kindly disposed to humankind, sometimes aloofly offering magical wisdom, sometimes actively involved in human lives, whether as a servant or friend. In this volume, originally compiled exclusively for the members of the Science Fiction Book Club and not available in stores, editor Marvin Kaye has skillfully gathered brand-new contributions to the hoard of dragon lore by five top fantasy authors.
Orson Scott Card---an expert at writing from a child's point of view, as evidenced in his bestselling Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow---offers a gothic yarn set in contemporary suburbia. "In the Dragon's House" tells about the mysterious dragon that lives in the wiring of an old house, palpable only to a young boy who in dreams shares its body and feels its true size and power. But what does it really want?
Mercedes Lackey, prolific author of the Valdemar saga, writes of a slave boy who is chosen to care for a warrior's dragon. Vetch (and the reader) will learn much about dragon behavior . . . and this special dragon's secrets may be the key to his freedom. (Lackey was so taken by young Vetch that she expanded his adventures into a novel with the same name as this story---"Joust.")
Tanith Lee is no stranger to dragons, which appear quite often in her award-winning fantasies. The fable "Love in a Time of Dragons" is imbued with her signature atmosphere---Old World, moody, erotic---as a kitchen maid goes a-questing with a handsome champion to slay the local drakkor. But the tale takes a surprising twist. . . .
Elizabeth Moon, author of the popular Esmay Suiza and Heris Serrano series, takes a break from military science fiction to give us the tale of a young man forced by lies to flee his village . . . into an adventure of dwarfs and dragonspawn, of trust and wisdom, and, ultimately, "Judgment."
Rounding off the collection is Michael Swanwick's "King Dragon," a strange amalgam of twentieth-century technology and faery magic, in which the award-winning author invokes a truly sinister and repellent creature---a being with the soul of a beast and the body of a machine-part metal, part devil . . . all-merciless.