Two of my favorite books as a child were a huge illustrated book of world mythology and an equally huge anthology of fairy tales. I read those stories over and over despite the fact that many of them were rather gruesome with less than happy endings. (Hmmm … That just might be the source of my penchant for happily-ever-afters in my own writing.) So it shouldn’t be surprising that fantastical creatures have always run rampant in my imagination.
This doesn’t sound problematic until in an undisciplined moment that corner of my imagination broke away from its usual confines and ran straight into a regency manor house. I was a little horrified and tried to corral everyone back into their own corners, but my inner Elizabeth Bennet was not nearly so troubled. She reminded me that English mythology is full of dragons: the Lambton Worm, the Dragon of Mordiford, the Dragon of Unsworth, the Dragon of Wantly, the Dragon of Longwitton, the Dragon of Loschy Hill, the Bisterne Dragon just to name a few. Even the father of fabled King Arthur has a dragon connection. King Uther Pendragon was said to have seen a dragon shaped comet that inspired the dragons that graced the standards he carried. Oh, and there’s Beowulf of course, and the tale of St. George and the Dragon…
Jane Austen herself could easily have been familiar with many of these dragon legends. So maybe, just a few of these mythological denizens actually belonged in Regency England.
But how? For that, I had to take another dive into the mythology book.
One of the fascinating—and crazy making—aspects of mythology is the number of different accounts of the same story. Since, until the early modern era, tales relied on oral tradition for transmission, each teller would craft a slightly different version of the story, making finding the ‘real’ story nearly impossible. While there were moments that made me want to beat my head against the wall, it did provide an interesting line of thinking: What if…. (A word of caution, when a writer says “what if”, it might be a good time to politely excuse yourself…)
So, what if Uther Pendragon saw a real dragon, not a comet as most stories suggested? Would not others have seen it too? Wait, no—what if the dragons had a way of hiding in plain sight that only a select few people could see (or rather hear) through and Uther was one of those…
Suddenly I saw a world, hundreds of years removed from medieval England, where mankind and dragonkind could coexist, governed by the Blue Order, an organization founded by Uther Pendragon himself, on human and dragon partnership, dedicated to protecting the safety and interests of both species while keeping the dragons secret from the very large segment of the human population with hearing insufficient to detect dragon voices.
The world was so clear and vivid, my inner Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy just couldn’t stay away. Before I knew it, Pride and Prejudice became the context for an urgent crisis amongst the dragons of the Blue Order, a new series: Jane Austen’s Dragons, now complete with the release of Netherfield: Rogue Dragon.
So I present for you, what Pride and Prejudice might have been had Jane Austen known about the Blue Order.
If you’re not totally hooked by now, here’s a preview of Pemberley: Mr. Darcy’s Dragon, to give you a taste of this world: http://randombitsoffascination.com/2016/10/03/pemberley-mr-darcys-dragon-ch-1/
What do you think about dragons and Jane Austen? Leave me a comment below for a chance to win your choice of e-books from this series.
#3 Netherfield Rogue Dragon
Elizabeth Bennet thought she was prepared to do anything to make the Dragon Conclave accept her beloved young dragon, Pemberley, into the Blue Order, but she had not anticipated it would leave her banished from her ancestral home and betrothed to none other than Mr. Darcy. But before Elizabeth and Darcy wed, they must find a dangerous rogue dragon before it provokes a war amongst the dragons and brings the fragile peace between dragons and mankind to a catastrophic end.
Nothing written in the annals of dragon lore has prepared Elizabeth to manage a dragon not governed by the Blue Order. Dragons have always loved her, but this one finds her arrogant, selfish and insensitive to others. With only her instincts to guide her, she must convince the rogue of her good intentions before the Blue Order loses patience and decides on more drastic measures.
Called away to the other side of the kingdom, trying to settle the dragons' unrest, Darcy learns the nature of the force poisoning the rogue dragon against Elizabeth. One nearer and dearer than they could have imagined.
Can Elizabeth and Darcy convince with rogue dragon to cooperate before darker forces turn it against them, without destroying the fragile bonds uniting the couple?
#2 Longbourn: Dragon Entail
Her father and the family estate dragon insist she marry the last man in the world whom she could ever be prevailed on to wed. Will the help of her minor dragon friends be enough for her to she escape the fate of the dragon entail?
Darcy thought his problems were over when Pemberley hatched and successfully imprinted on humans. But baby dragons prove far more difficult than any dragon lore prepared him for. Only Elizabeth Bennet's notes offer him any help. When his imperious Aunt Catherine takes matters into her own hands, things take a turn for the worse and Pemberley’s life hangs in the balance. He desperately needs more of Elizabeth’s help, but she ignores all of his requests.
Elizabeth, though, has problems of her own. After the Bennet family dragon sent Pemberley away, life at Longbourn was supposed to return to normal and Elizabeth get on with the all-important business of marrying the heir to her father’s estate. Except that he is the last man in the world whom she could ever be prevailed on to marry—a bumbling, addle-pated dragon-hater who demands she gives up the dragons she lives for.
Can she, with the help of her dragon friends, find her way back to Pemberley before they both suffer their fate from the Dragon Entail?
#1 Pemberley: Mr. Darcy’s Dragon
England is overrun by dragons of all shapes and sizes. Most people are blissfully unaware of them and the Pendragon Treaty that keeps the peace between human and dragon kind. Only those born with preternatural hearing, like Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet are able to hear and converse with dragonkind.
When the first firedrake egg laid in a century is stolen from Pemberley, the fragile dragon peace teeters on collapse. Darcy has no choice but to chase down the thief, a journey that leads him to quaint market town of Meryton and fellow Dragon Keeper, Elizabeth Bennet.
Elizabeth shares a unique bond with dragons, stronger than anything Darcy has ever experienced. More than that, her vast experience and knowledge of dragon lore may be the key to uncovering the lost egg. But Elizabeth can’t stand Darcy’s arrogance and doesn’t trust him to care properly for a precious baby firedrake. After all, he already lost the egg once. What’s to prevent it from happening again?
Universal Buy Links:
Pemberley: Mr. Darcy’s Dragon https://books2read.com/Pemberley-Mr-Darcys-Dragon
Longbourn: Dragon Entail https://books2read.com/Longbourn-Dragon-Entail
Netherfield: Rogue Dragon https://books2read.com/Netherfield-Rogue-Dragon
About the Author
Though Maria Grace has been writing fiction since she was ten years old, those early efforts happily reside in a file drawer and are unlikely to see the light of day again. After penning five file-drawer novels in high school, she took a break from writing to pursue college and earn her doctorate in Educational Psychology. After 16 years of university teaching, she returned to her first love, fiction writing.
She has one husband and one grandson, two graduate degrees and two black belts, three sons, four undergraduate majors, five nieces, is has blogged six years on Random Bits of Fascination, has built seven websites, attended eight English country dance balls, sewn nine Regency era costumes, and shared her life with ten cats.