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The Last Tsar’s Dragons, by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple

Review copy provided by the publisher. Also I know both the authors socially.

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.

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