Literature: The Last Dragonslayer

That's her on the hilltop.

Thus it was that I, Jennifer Strange, sixteen years next month and loyal subject of King Snodd IV in the Kingdom of Hereford, took on the rights and responsibilities of the last Dragonslayer.

Imagine your standard fantasy setting, some place like Middle-earth. You have your green, pastoral fields, your villages, your sheep, your kings and knights, and your medley of mythical creatures, including, naturally, dragons. Now, imagine that this place didn't stay frozen in medieval stasis, and instead continued to change through the years, and that it now exists at a point in time closer to modern age—the year 2007, to be specific.

The Last Dragonslayer, the first young adult fantasy novel by Jasper Fforde, is set herein. It was published in 2010. Our protagonist is Jennifer Strange, a fifteen year-old indentured servant and acting manager of Kazam, an employment agency for soothsayers and sorcerers in a world where the magic is gradually ebbing away and succumbing to the advent of technology, while the manager Mr. Zambini is away for undisclosed reasons.

One day, a prophecy gets out that she is destined to kill the last surviving dragon, Maltcassion, allowing Consolidated Useful Stuff to take over the dragon's vast domain and exploit it for financial gain. But Jenny doesn't want to be the Last Dragonslayer; in fact, she takes a moral stand against it. The book chronicles her adventures as she confronts the problem-and, naturally, Maltcassion himself.

It was followed with The Song of a Quarkbeast and The Eye of Zoltar. A fourth novel entitled Strange and the Wizard is forthcoming.


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