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Literature / Draconian Symphony

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"More than the paranoid monarchy, more than the corrupt ministers, London’s greatest sickness was boredom."
And then there was music

Draconian Symphony is a Dark Fantasy novel, part one of a duology, by Benjamin Dempsey.

It's the 31st century but Earth has suffered a thousand-year period of cultural and technological stagnation. The protagonist, Anti-Hero mage Draco, is attacked in his room one night by a demon named Lascivus who is looking for a meal. After a vicious fight he manages to get the drop on her and spares her in exchange for a favor. What favor? To help him find and kill his psychotic, inhumanly powerful mother, Malign. With the help of the Living Weapon Drakkengard and his postcognitive sister Diana, they set off to take down the terrible woman.

Which they do, but at great personal cost.

However, they then require some extra from from Lascivus to get back to Earth. Lascivus uses this chance to claim that now Draco owes her his life, and that as per demonic tradition, that debt falls under the jurisdiction of Lucifer. So Lascivus drags Draco through the circles to meet with The Devil and arrange just how Draco is gonna pay it off, whether he likes it or not.


Along the journey of paying off his debt, the group run into Mad Scientist Vengai-Ra, and dimensionally displaced Super Soldier Ko

This novel contains examples of:

  • Anti-Hero: Though he has a vague sense of right and wrong, Draco has few qualms about theft and murder.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: As a shapeshifter, Drakkengard can maintain a sharp edge at the molecular level.
  • All Myths Are True: Hell is pretty thickly populated with supernatural beings, and Lascivus even mentions that there have been rulers of the underworld other than Lucifer.
  • Balance of Good and Evil: God has been missing for a long time, which caused the war between the Overworld and the Underworld to peter out into a defacto cease fire. This is implied to be a factor in the Thousand Years of Stagnation.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Almost the whole cast of the first book are demons, criminals, or both.
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  • Bottomless Magazines: Ko's nanocloud can just make more from nearby raw materials.
  • Byronic Hero: Much of the plot comes down to Draco being a very Byronic Hero but with no outlet or purpose through which to channel his passions.
  • Celestial Bureaucracy: The Angelic Choir is described as such, too caught up in red tape to accomplish anything.
  • Combat Clairvoyance: Once someone has decided to do something, Diana can read that since it's in the past.
  • Deal with the Devil: The Devil runs Hell like an enterprise and most characters are tied to him that way.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: When Vengai-Ra and Ko are first met, it's because Lucifer wants Draco to send them to Hell. Later, they get lent to Draco as minions.
  • Disappeared Dad: No mention is made of who Draco's father was or what happened to him. Considering Malign, he's probably dead.
  • Complete Immortality: Rare, but not unheard of in the setting. Faerans are said to be such being. However the universe is vast enough that there's plenty of ways to get around it.
  • Eldritch Location: The true geometry of Hell can't even be perceived by normal eyes. Lascivus grants Draco a glimpse and he still wasn't sure what he'd seen.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Most of Vengai-Ra's work is towards unlocking the secrets of the mortal body, without relying on crutches such as magic and miracles.
  • The Fair Folk: One of Draco's tasks is to inform a member of The Fair Folk that she's behind on her debt payments. It doesn't go well.
  • Freak Out: Draco is prone to vivid hallucinations, especially when under heavy stress.
  • Intangibility: Being from another universe with its own set of physical laws, Ko doesn't play well with local physics. Anything that would penetrate his body just goes right through.
  • Lab Coat Of Science And Medicine: Vengai-Ra wears one over beach clothes.
  • The Legions of Hell: Many of Hell's soldiers are unruly citizens that were punished with eternal violence and rebirth. According to Lascivus, controlling them is too difficult so they just get transported to hot spots and are allowed to run rampant.
  • Life Drinker: Lascivus can drain the life out of a single person, or feast on lives that might have been via copulation.
  • Living Weapon: Drakkengard is a shapeshifting blob of living metal that spends most of her time either shaped like a sword or shaped like a girl.
  • Mad Scientist: Vengai-Ra, who sees supernatural healing as unreliable and nearly impossible to advance. He made a Deal with the Devil to gain scientific knowledge not available on his world.
  • Mad Scientist Laboratory: In true Hammer Horror tradition, Vengai-Ra's lab is in a large gothic castle.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Lucifer, bordering on paranoia when the characters realize they can't rule out him being behind nearly all the seeming coincidences that have happened so far.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Lucifer, naturally. He rarely adopts the same appearance twice, but almost all of them are sharply dressed.
  • Mirror Match: The dungeon that Draco and Lascivus break out of is guarded by one of these. It's the offspring of the Greek Goddess Nemesis and take the appearance of a more heroic-looking version of the main character.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Malign is on the far side, taking great pleasure from slaughter and torture, and unable to tell pain from pleasure any more. Draco is deathly afraid of following in her footsteps.
  • Playing with Fire: Since he received no formal training, the only magic Draco is any good at is fire-based.
  • Seers: Diana is post-cognitive. She can 'know' anything that's taken place in the past, including thoughts, and her definition of 'past' extends to anything even immediately prior to the present. However it can be difficult to find just what she wants, and her human brain has trouble processing that much information.
  • Shapeshifting: Drakkengard is a shapeshifting blob of living metal. Many demons are also capable of shapeshifting, though most just use Humanshifting to hide their true form.
  • Succubi and Incubi: Lascivus is the daughter of Lilith, the archetypal succubus, and has inherited a lot from her.
  • Super Soldier: Ko was one on his world. He has a (slightly damaged) supercomputer in his brain, and his Badass Longcoat actually contains a cloud of nanomachines able to put together weapons and ammunition for him.
  • Tragic Villain: Lucifer paints himself as such, insisting his rebellion was due to the injustice of YHVH's rule.