Dust jacket by J. K. Potter
More than twenty-five years ago, Lucius Shepard introduced us to a remarkable fictional world, a world separated from our own “by the thinnest margin of possibility.” There, in the mythical Carbonales Valley, Shepard found the setting for “The Man Who Painted the Dragon Griaule,” the classic account of an artist—Meric Cattanay—and his decades long effort to paint—and kill—a dormant, not quite dead dragon measuring 6,000 feet from end to end. The story was nominated for multiple awards and is now recognized as one of its author’s signature accomplishments.
Over the years, Shepard has revisited this world in a number of brilliant, independent narratives that have illuminated the Dragon’s story from a variety of perspectives. This loosely connected series reached a dramatic crossroads in the astonishing novella, “The Taborin Scale”. The Dragon Griaule now gathers all of these hard to find stories into a single generous volume. The capstone of the book—and a particular treat for Shepard fans—is “The Skull,” a new 40,000 word novel that advances the story in unexpected ways, connecting the ongoing saga of an ancient and fabulous beast with the political realities of Central America in the 21st century. Augmented by a group of engaging, highly informative story notes, The Dragon Griaule is an indispensable volume, the work of a master stylist with a powerful—and always unpredictable—imagination.
Table of Contents
- The Man Who Painted the Dragon Griaule
- The Scalehunter’s Beautiful Daughter
- The Father of Stones
- Liar’s House
- The Taborin Scale
- The Skull
- Story Notes
From Publishers Weekly:
"These six stories explore ground far from the high fantasy with which dragons are frequently associated. Fans of Shepard's unusual and often powerful Griaule tales will be delighted to have them all in one place."
"The stories may be enjoyed as pure fantasy or as political metaphors to suit the individual reader. Either way, they are the creation of a master storyteller and present a fascinating world different from the usual fantasy world of dragons."
"It just goes to show that there's more food for thought in each of these stories than you'll find in most full length novels. Each of them really deserves a review as long as this one, making The Dragon Griaule simply a brilliant collection. Subterranean Press has to be commended for collecting them all in one volume, because they're hard to track down individually but work together so incredibly well. Highly recommended."
From Strange Horizons:
"'The Skull' ends one strain of the Griaule narratives, and leaves an infinity more open for further exploration. It ends at a certain moment of happiness and heroism after many long journeys through sorrow, terror, and ordinary human failure. It dreams itself toward light. As does each story in the book, it makes art out of fantasy and pain… The stories together here show that the last sentence of ‘The Man Who Painted the Dragon Griaule’ was the truest one. Regardless of the forces determining our fates and telling our tales, we all live our happy endings in advance.”
From SF Site:
“For many readers, several of these stories will be already familiar, three of them were Hugo nominees and widely anthologized. For new readers, rest assured that The Dragon Griaule contains stories that will alternately entrance, amuse, perplex, shock, enlighten, confound, and compel you to keep reading. It's a journey of altered lives in an altered landscape, where the fantastic and the real mingle in the lives of people who are never quite sure where their desires end and the dragon's desires begin. That's left for the reader to ponder, and in that way, the dragon Griaule remains as alive as ever.”
From San Francisco Book Review:
"For fantasy lovers, this is the event of the year!"
From SF Crowsnest:
“This collection brings together six short stories and novellas about this enormous dragon, giving different perspectives on his life and influence… ‘The Man Who Painted the Dragon Griaule’ tells the story of Meric Cattanay, a man who in 1853 proposes to kill the great dragon by painting an enormous mural on its side and thus slowly poisoning him with the toxic compounds in the paint. In ‘The Scalehunter’s Beautiful Daughter’, we get a glimpse of the inner workings of the dragon as we journey with Catherine inside his vast body. ‘The Father Of Stones’ takes us to the nearby town of Port Chantay, where a man accused of murder is pleading innocence because it was the dragon’s malevolent influence that caused him to commit the atrocious act. ‘Liar’s House’ is Hota’s tale of the beautiful woman he met on the dragon’s back and their unusual relationship. ‘The Taborin Scale’ is the story of George and Sylvia, mysteriously transported to another time at the whim of the dragon Griaule, but for what purpose they do not know. Finally, ‘The Skull’ brings us to a modern-day story set in a deeply political South America, where a young woman is leading a cult obsessed with the large dragon skull hidden in the jungle.”
- J. K. Potter
- Lucius Shepard
- 432 pages
- United States
- Subterranean Press
- In Print
- eBook Edition