Book Review: Black City Dragon, by Richard A. Knaak

Black City Dragon is the third installment in the series, one I have been waiting for since I first came across it. Nor was I disappointed. (Well, apart from the special announcement at the bottom of this post 😉

I’ve previously reviewed of Black City Saint (book 1) and Black City Demon (book 2), and I jumped on this when it was just released.

What to expect

This novel deal a lot with the protagonist’s past (Nick Medea, aka St George). As such it is imperative to read the first two volumes first – just so you’d get that the build-up of excitement to the backstory dealt with in this volume. Here we learn more about Nick’s past, with his relationship of the dragon and Cleolinda as well as more about the complex world he lives in. As more is revealed about the world, about Feirie and other powers, it also raises new questions – a perfect setup for the next book in the series.

There is also an extra short story at the end, Black City Shadows, which was originally published in Grimdark Magazine. Who doesn’t love great bonus material?

What I liked

I absolutely love the hardboiled detective style first-person narration mixed in with high and mighty fantasy elements. The fact that it is on the background of an exciting historical period is just the cherry on top. Speaking of which, Knaak certainly brings Chicago of the 1920’s to life with amazing research and trivia (from slang, to gangs, to architecture). This all gels together for a rich and immersice world in which his wonderful and unique characters thrive.

What to be aware of

There are definite elements of alternate history (besides the obvious inclusion of magic), so bear with the author. However, the period is depicted extremely well which includes the attitudes of the protagonist towards women. Don’t mistake them for the attitudes of the author – all his characters are strong and capable – but some might find issues with it.

As this is book three and references previous events, I would strongly recommend you read them in order.


If the idea of a noir-historical-fantasy-detective blend appeals to you, this is definitely a good read. It does a great job of bringing together elements of urban fantasy into the historically-accurate 1920’s Chicago setting. This is an excellent novel you should read – but you probably know if you read the first two and my reviews of them (linked above).

Special announcement!

Seems like Knaak will be signing copied of Black City Dragon (and his other novels) next week, on June 14th at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego! My only disappointment with Black City Dragon therefore is that living in Australia means I can’t make it…

But for anyone else, if you’re anywhere in the area of San Diego, I urge to pop over and say hi. Knaak is a wonderful person as well as a great author, and getting signed copies of this awesome series is a great addition to anyone’s bookshelves.

Full details here:

Special announcement #2!

Still not convinced? Next week, The Protagonist Speaks will be publishing a special, not-quite-an-interview with Nick Medea — and the dragon! So head over there and subscribe, because you don’t want to miss out!


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