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The Dragon Waiting: A Masque of History is a 1983 fantasy novel by John M. Ford. It won the 1984 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel.

The Dragon Waiting
The Dragon Waiting (1983)-John M. Ford.jpg
AuthorJohn M. Ford
CountryUnited States
Alternate history
PublisherTimescape Books)
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardcover, paperback)


Plot summaryEdit

The novel is a fantasy alternate history combining vampires, the Medicis, and the convoluted English politics surrounding Edward IV and Richard III. The book also fictionalizes the fate of the Princes in the Tower.

Edward IV is on the throne of England, but in this alternate world, medieval Europe is dominated by the threat from the Byzantine Empire. During the 4th century CE, Julian the Apostate reigned longer than he did in our world, succeeded in displacing Christianity and reintroduced religious pluralism within the Roman Empire, resulting in the subsequent disappearance of Islam as well. Without any cohesive threat from the east, presumably Byzantium was able to survive, consolidate its authority and expand.

Sforza, the Vampire Duke, marshals his forces for his long-planned attack on Florence, and Byzantium is on the march. A mercenary, the exiled heir to the Byzantine throne, a young woman physician forced to flee Florence, and a Welsh wizard, the nephew of Owain Gly Dwr, seem to have no common goals but together they wage an intrigue-filled campaign against the might of Byzantium, striving to secure the English throne for Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and make him Richard III.

This succeeds, and Richard III goes on to win the Battle of Bosworth in this alternate universe, killing Henry Tudor and ensuring that he never becomes Henry VII as he did in the reality. At that point, the book ends.


In 1995 Ford reported its sales as "40,000 copies in print (six thousand in hardcover) in English, about 10K more in the foreign editions".[1]

The novel won the 1984 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel.[2][3][4]



  1. ^ "Gygax's writing quality". Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  2. ^ "World Fantasy Awards 1984". Science Fiction Awards Database. Locus Science Fiction Foundation. Archived from the original on June 30, 2015. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
  3. ^ World Fantasy Convention. "Award Winners and Nominees". Retrieved February 4, 2011.
  4. ^ Walton, Jo (May 22, 2011). "Hugo Nominees: 1984". Retrieved March 16, 2016.

External linksEdit