Of Dragons, Feasts and Murders by Aliette de Bodard
A Dragons and Blades Story
Of Dragons, Feasts and Murders by award-winning author Aliette de Bodard was a 2020 Locus Award Finalist for Best Novella. Anyone who has read her Dominion of the Fallen series loves the dark Gothic world of a war-torn Paris ruled by Fallen angels, and the shape-shifting Annamite dragons living under the Seine.
Ruthless, bloodthirsty, and feared by all, Asmodeus is the most memorable Fallen, and his happy marriage is a delightful surprise. His sweet, bookish husband, dragon prince Thuan, is clearly the love of Asmodeus’ life. It’s no wonder they are featured in this spin-off novella; the pair have undeniable chemistry.
In this novella, the couple visit Thuan’s home under the Seine for the Lunar New Year, though Asmodeus isn’t particularly thrilled by the celebration, or by being away from House Hawthorn. A murder outside their quarters in the imperial citadel of the dragon kingdom is just the distraction Asmodeus needs. He is less thrilled by a request for their aid in uncovering a plot to overthrow the Empress – which would ultimately result in the deaths of everyone in Thuan’s family. The dragon prince hates court politics, but his family loyalty is strong.
A secret society of ambitious officials is planning to ruin the festivities and ensure the downfall of the dynasty, and they’re willing to bribe, threaten, and kill anyone who gets in their way.
Throughout their investigation, we see the love and fierce devotion between the co-rulers of House Hawthorn, as well as their complex relationship as a Fallen and a dragon prince. The clothing is elegant, the setting is surreal, and the characters are complicated and engaging. I will gladly read anything by this author, but especially stories in this world.
Of Dragons, Feasts and Murders art and cover design credit: Ravven.