Summary: Five dragon siblings have gathered at their
father’s deathbed, for a goodbye and later, to eat his body, as is
custom. While Blessed Penn hears his father’s startlingly scandalous final
confession, the maidens Selendra and Haner wonder about their foggy future with no
guardian. Avan is curious about his share of the inheritance and Berend, the
eldest sister, visits with her children and her pompous dominating husband
Illustrious Daverak, who isn’t concerned about anything but his
share of dragon-meat, which gives one a renewed vitality. But the siblings need
both the strength and the honour of eating their father. When Daverak eats more
than his intended share, Avan seeks revenge, or justice… in court! Which is not to say that dragons don’t duel, it’s just, Avan is more proper… and, more importantly, much smaller.
dragon, she blushes, and her golden scales turn pink. A maiden is not a maiden anymore
when she is coloured a bridal pink. So when, the next day, a male-dragon places his claw on Selendra’s shoulder, she blushes, even though she
refuses his brazen proposal. While she fixes her blush with a potion, Selendra
is unsure if she can ever turn pink again. As Selendra and Haner, who are clutch-mates,
face going their separate ways – Selendra to live with Blessed Penn’s family
and Haner to live with Berend and Daverak – they make a pact: since they have
only enough dowry for one, neither will marry unless her sister’s approves of
her husband. But, of course, they both fall inevitably in love.
Victorian-style novel about class politics, religion, money and endless
proposals, a Pride and Prejudice with dragons, as a blurb appropriately calls
it. And it’s brilliant. The ways of the dragons and their intricate customs, so
close to ours and yet so different, the genius exaggeration, reminded me of
the rabbit culture of Watership Down by Richard Adams. But it’s a much more
proper society in Tooth and Claw: they have their city businesses and country
farms, new churches and secret old churches, they have trains and carriages,
because servants and parsons have their wings bound and cannot fly, they have dragons working for the liberation of those in servitude and they have the self important men, who feel it’s their right and duty to decide just what the silly women do. It’s a horrible world. But then there are luncheons and parties, and a lot of gold and treasure, which the fifty-foot dragons lay down in their caves to sleep on, the dragons wear hats and bows and go to school, which is hilarious. As are the chapter titles, where the narrator keeps track of the number of proposals, deathbeds and confessions.
going to get, even though Walton throws in a few twists and surprises. Even the most difficult misunderstandings and fights are smoothed out and everything falls into place at the end. It makes you smile, but because the book is so small, it does also make you wish there were more, a deeper look at the problem, a less coincidental resolution. It seems like a first book in a series, almost incomplete, and so far there hasn’t been any sequel.