Review No. 74 – Tooth and Claw

Tooth and Claw – Jo Walton

Tor, 2003

Brought together by the early death of their beloved father, the bonds that hold the Agornin siblings together are about to be tested. Bon Agornin’s elder son is troubled by a shocking deathbed confession, the younger made reckless by the unjust loss of his inheritance, the unmarried daughters forced to leave their home to live at the mercy of wealthier relatives. Separated by their fears and secrets, they have all been left vulnerable. And this is dangerous indeed, because they are all dragons. In their world death by consumption is very literal, reputations can be ruined by the slightest unwary touch, and no one is safe from the long claws of the law.

This book was described as ‘Jane Austen with dragons’, an improbable combination of two fabulous things, which of course meant I had to read it. Walton takes her inspiration more from Victorian novels than Austen’s Regency period, but the combination of her sly wit, real heart and rounded characters – not to mention the sharp contrasts between a familiar expression and its inverted dragon meaning – make it completely worthy of such a recommendation.

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