The Brotherhood of the Dragon, by Phil Hore

We begin as Amun Galeas confides in us about certain events in 1888 in London and .. Wait, who is this Amun Galeas? He doesn’t seem to know that himself. Each time he carries his throbbing head out of a strange bedroom to seek answers he gets bashed again. I wondered if our narrator would even last the early chapters; nor did he seem to have much confidence about that chance himself.

Unarmed except for my razor wit, which many would argue made me totally defenceless, I crept through the gate ..

Time and again our hero is rescued by Sebastian Vulk, but just who is that randy old dog? We readers have little time to mull over these identities, however, due to the odd attitude of Amun’s hosts, the Stanton family, about their disappearing servants.

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She snarled in a most unladylike way, ‘Stay away from my grandfather, stay away from my family, and stay away from me.’ Robyn Stanford to our hero. P. 15.

Journalist, Abraham (call me ‘Bram’) Stoker scents a scoop. Bram is turns out to be usefully related to Mr Doyle, a medical man, Arthur Conan Doyle, that is, who knows a peculiar corpse when he sees one.

Amun in the course of his most enlightening account, entrusts we readers with the curious and true facts of what really occurred in London the year 1888 (necesarily suppressed at the time); and we incidentally learn where Messers Stoker and Doyle first heard the genisis of the stories they were to later publish. The two cousins turn out to be handy with sword blades as well as quills, which is just as well because there is a certain degree of close quarter fighting in this story.

I hefted my sword over my head like some ancient statue depicting St George slaying the dragon, and then brought the weapon down with a noise similar to chopping into a thick cabbage.

A shipwreck in Australia, an overly-optimistic medical procedure on a Pope, a study of the London railway network, a survey of the complex Balkan history, and of one weird ‘Balkan Problem’ in particular, a hitherto unrecorded episode of young Winston Churchill’s career, and more .. These apparently disparent elements are most satisfactorily weaved together, twist by turn, in this thrilling, chilling, and entertaining novel from Phil Hore.

But, you ask, what about the dragons in the title? Oh, you will learn all about it in this true account, gentle reader. Select an armchair – its back to the wall, of course- settle down, pour a red wine, a deep red red wine – and enjoy. Oh, and, err, keep a shield close to hand. Useful things, shields.

Where to learn about this dastardly Brotherhood of the Dragon: From Odyssey Books , BookDepository (and with free shipping worldwide) and Amazon and
Or, ask your friendly local bookstore to order it in for you, and more for friends who appreciate gothic tales.

Mark is guardian and blundering typist for Mawson, one of this bright world’s few published bears.

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