Friday, January 29, 2021

Blog Tour + Excerpt - The Princess and the Dragon and Other Stories About Unlikely Heroes by Francesca Burke


 Find the links to other stops on the tour here.




Title: The Princess and the Dragon and Other Stories About Unlikely Heroes

Author: Francesca Burke


Short Blurb: 

On the magical island of the Three Kingdoms, disparaged teenagers quest to save their people from dragons, duplicity and dictatorship. This is a book of fairy tales, but not of happy endings. Don’t expect to fall asleep to sweet dreams when you’re done.


 Longer Blurb:

  Princess Amelia’s home, the Kingdom of Mirrors, is on its knees, ravaged by the cantankerous Sapphire Dragon. She must find a way to rid her country of its unwelcome guest and work out how to restore its fortunes before her parents marry her off to clear the kingdom’s debts. Prince Richard of the Valley of Dreams knows he’s not very heroic… he’d rather read about quests than actually go on one. But when he finds himself travelling to a haunted tower, he discovers a treacherous conspiracy that could rip the Three Kingdoms apart… and learns there might be some heroism tucked up his sleeve after all. Esme Delacroix is a psychic living in Stormhaven, the only part of the Three Kingdoms where magic is taboo. A terrifying vision sends Esme and her friend Violet on a perilous quest that shakes Stormhaven and the Three Kingdoms to its core.


Originally published on the author's Patreon, the novel is now available as an ebook:

Goodreads | Kobo | Amazon






Not all fairy tales have happy endings. Some end with a marriage, which could be a happy ending or a happy beginning, depending on how you look at it. Some end neatly, which could be a happy ending or a sad ending but is more often quite a boring one.Then there is this fairy tale, which ends neither happily nor neatly. 

The island of the Three Kingdoms is tucked away at the edge of nowhere and surrounded by violent sea on all sides. It slightly resembles a crescent moon and greatly resembles the sort of place you find silver-tongued elderly ladies with a tendency to cast enchantments and witty young men with a tendency to embark on valiant quests and declare themselves heroes.There are surprisingly high levels of hygiene and health and safety given the lack of electricity and standardised paperwork.

Several thousand years before the witty men and the hygiene standards, the Three Kingdoms was merely a small, volatile, pocket of ocean. One afternoon the earth sneezed, accidentally spewing out a handful of magical creatures, a variety of poisonous plants and four strains of the common cold. The ocean viewed all these things as the unfortunate natural by-product of a sneeze and made to clear them away, so the earth hastily spat out a spectacular island of mountain ranges and beaches and lush green valleys, offering its exiles a comfortable prison. Magic seeped through the earth and out into the sea, calling out for humans to come and look and stay a while. This was probably where things went wrong.  

The islanders promptly set about harnessing the magic and taming the creatures and figuring out which plants could be eaten if cooked properly.They also named the Three Kingdoms the Three Kingdoms of something, but they kept claiming one another’s thrones via wars or marriages (or a war disguised as a marriage) until specifics faded away and all that remained were three royal families and three tenacious nations, mutually enjoying the eternal bonds of shared history and common culture. 

Well, three royal families and three tenacious nations with a lot of shared history.



 The Princess and the Dragon

Chapter One

The Kingdom of Mirrors, the loudest, southernmost and most magical of the Three Kingdoms, filled the bottom third of the crescent moon with olive trees, fishing boats and about ten thousand mirrors. It was ruled by the Durante line of the House of Stars, whose family tree was dotted with the types of people whose exploits are written into ten-minute songs about burning cities, eccentric fashion sense and enormous acts of courage in the face of fire-breathing dragons. Princess Amelia, the youngest of the Durante family, knew from early childhood that she, too, would one day have to defeat a dragon. 

Nobody initially expected Amelia to facethe dragon in question, partly because she was a girl and partly because she had been born second in line to the throne. Her older brother, Prince Nicholas, was both dashingly handsome and perfectly capable of embarking on such a heroic quest by himself. Unfortunately for Amelia, by the time she reached her teens Prince Nicholas found himself indisposed, so although most people were too polite to mention it, the task of dragon-slaying ultimately fell to her. 

Amelia was fourteen, and in happier stories she would be learning how to dance or dabble in magic. In this story, Amelia was in charge of olive oil production. She was also kingdom treasurer, head of the royal family’s public relations department, occasional fisherwoman and part-time carer to her ailing father, the king. For someone born into a centuries-old dynasty, she spent a lot of time with ancient legal documents and recently gutted fish.




About the Author


Born in Rochford in 1995, Francesca Burke decided at an early age that the worlds inside books and television were infinitely preferable to the real one. Initially put off the idea of being a writer because it requires one to sit alone and ignore people, she now finds sitting alone and ignoring people to be the most satisfying parts of the job. She lives in Southend-on-Sea.


 Author Links: 

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Read a Q&A with Francesca here.



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