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Publisher's Summary

“The best mingling of history with historical magic that I have ever seen.” (Gene Wolfe)

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 to secure the English throne for Richard, Duke of Gloucester - and make him Richard III. Available for the first time in nearly two decades, with a new introduction by New York Times best-selling author Scott Lynch, The Dragon Waiting is a masterpiece of blood and magic. 

“Had [John M. Ford] taken The Dragon Waiting and written a sequence of five books based in that world, with that power, he would’ve been George R.R. Martin.” (Neil Gaiman)

©1983 The Estate of John M. Ford; Introduction copyright 2020 by Scott Lynch (P)2020 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Dragon Waiting

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Too convoluted. Too many lines to follow

I personally didn’t like it. Too convoluted. Perhaps not the best book for Audio. Could not finish it.
I am sorry if I offend anyone that considers this book a literary masterpiece but I will return it and listen to something else.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Dense. Nuanced. Worth It.

This is a sweeping story that somehow, impossibly, fits into a single volume that runs only 14 hours. The author tinkers with European history, spinning out what-ifs and personalities that is a wonder to behold or an impossible mass of text. This is not the first volume of a fantasy novel that eases the reader into the worldbuilding. The world is built and the reader acts as a historical detective, picking up on nuance and implication to understand what the hell is going on. The forward compares the result to a magic trick.

You can pick this up with little background and try to keep up. I made the attempt. Then I did some research. As I dug into the background of the book, I was intrigued by the behind-the-scenes story that led to the republication of The Drago Waiting published by Isaac Butler in Slate <https://slate.com/culture/2019/11/john-ford-science-fiction-fantasy-books.html> . I discovered the Draco Concordans webpage created by Andrew Plotkin that annotates the entire book, explaining references and characters. It's the Bloomsday Book of The Dragon Waiting. That lead to a deep dive into Plantagenet history (thanks Dan Jones) that gave me enough background to wade into The Dragon Waiting again.

To me, it was worth it. A grounded fantasy novel with a fascinating perspective on magic, religion, and how friendships and trust affect history.

A note on the recording: The chapters are long and have internal section breaks where the scene changes. In the book this is signaled with extra space between paragraphs. Usually in an audio recording this is signaled with an extra long pause. This recording is edited so that the sections run into each other. A scene ends and a new one begins with barely a pause for a breath. Multiple times I thought a new character had suddenly appeared in the scene or that I had missed some significant exposition. Be prepared to rewind a lot to track how one section ends and another begins.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Fun alternate take on Richard III

Interesting alternate history. Toes the line between sci fi and fantasy very artfully. Make sure to pay attention.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Read not listen.

This book should be read not listened to. And keep Wikipedia nearby. There will be many times when you will need to reread passages.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Stunning alternative history

This book has deep characterization, taut plotting, and intriguingly realized alternatives to history. The prose is precisely suited to the story, and maybe best of all, Ford doesn’t over-explain. Doyle’s reading is outstanding.