My copy of St. George and the Dragon is now covered in taco salad.
This may not sound like a compliment, but believe me, it is. I’m not a particularly tidy eater, nor am I very good at eating and reading simultaneously, so when mealtimes roll around I often have to put my books away. But in the case of St. George and the Dragon, I found that I was unable to do so. Hence the taco salad.
A soldier in the Roman army, Marcellus thinks he has his life figured out. He’s climbing the ladder of success, one promotion at a time, and now he’s getting married to a girl he actually likes.
But lately, Marcellus has been hearing talk of dragon-worshipers. His curiosity is piqued when his bride-to-be tells him that she herself is a dragon-worshiper, and urges him to go and meet the mysterious dragon. When Marcellus does so, he is enthralled by the dragon, but he also finds himself suspicious of its motives.
Meanwhile, the Christian slaves who work for Marcellus’ father (whom Marcellus has always thought of as harmless, peaceful folk) have introduced him to their unique lifestyle, which he finds oddly intriguing. But the dragon asserts that these Christians are a danger to the Roman Empire, and that they ought to be eliminated.
So what does Marcellus choose? A comfortable life serving the dragon and the Empire, or life as a Christian outlaw?
Like you don’t already know.
The story of St. George is fairly well-known, but it is significantly lacking in detail. Well, not anymore. In this book, the legend of St. George and the Dragon has been fleshed out and turned on its head for your reading pleasure. In a time when the words ‘YA literature’ mean sparkly vampires and shoddy writing, St. George and the Dragon is a refreshing departure from the cultural norm, succeeding as a spiritually valuable piece of literature as well as an example of great storytelling.
Engaging and well-written, my only problem with this story is that it was not long enough. Seriously. It could have been the length of ten pieces of Russian literature combined, and I still would have spilled taco salad all over it in my eagerness to finish it.
One of my favorite parts was towards the end, when George/Marcellus is described killing the dragon in a way that directly mirrors the visual interpretation of the event in the original icon (which is featured on the cover of the book). The art and iconography nerd in me was immensely pleased.
In case I didn’t already sell this enough, I recommend that you read this book. Now.