Chasing the Dragon
by Nicholas Kaufmann
Cover Artist: Erik Mohr
Review by Ellen Russell
ChiZine Publications Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780981297842
Date: 29 March 2010 List Price $10.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Chasing the Dragon, by Nicholas Kaufmann, is an excellent novella. Its pacing is perfect to its length and the story is a fascinating new take on an old legend. In Chasing the Dragon, the main character, Georgia, is a descendant of St. George, the man who was supposed to have slain a dragon for the King of England. However, the truth is that St. George failed to kill the dragon and so his descendants have been forced to continue the hunt, each trying to succeed where his or her forefathers had failed.
With failed relationships and slaughtered loved ones in her past, Georgia faces a constant battle between her love for the needle and the numbness it brings and her need to finish her familyís quest and avenge her dead parents by killing the dragon. Of course she must contend with evading the police and their questions as she follows the wake of carnage created by the dragon. She must also avoid the "meat puppets", bodies of the dead which, possessed by the dragon's spirit, try to kill her at every turn. In the end Georgia, mankind's unlikely heroine, must do battle with the dragon using her wits and a weapon that she never dreamed of using to kill an enemy she never wanted.
Kaufmann is to be commended for the believability of his characters and his masterful use of the novella format. His new take on the St. George legend, as well as all other dragon legends, gives a fresh perspective on a story that everyone has heard but no one really believes. He also gives a fresh new spin on the concept of zombies, tying it masterfully to the dragon legend. Also, through it all, he weaves a story of pain, heartbreak, and self-medication. He portrays an individualís struggle between her mission in life and the addiction which dulls the pain caused by her familyís failure, as well as her own.
I would recommend Chasing the Dragon to anyone who enjoys a little harsh reality in their fantasy or horror. Kaufmann shares Stephen King's ability to show the real, harsh, and ugly truths about humanity while weaving a believable fantasy around them. Chasing the Dragon is a book that I will read again.