Cover image for Tooth and claw
Tooth and claw
Walton, Jo.
Personal Author:
First hardcover edition.
Publication Information:
New York: Tor, [2003]

Physical Description:
253 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
"A Tom Doherty Associates book."
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 6.9 17.0 86055.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Science Fiction/Fantasy

On Order



A tale of contention over love and money-among dragons Tooth and Claw Jo Walton burst onto the fantasy scene with The King's Peace , acclaimed by writers as diverse as Poul Anderson, Robin Hobb, and Ken MacLeod. In 2002, she was voted the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.Now Walton returns with a very different kind of fantasy story: the tale of a family dealing with the death of their father, of a son who goes to law for his inheritance, a son who agonizes over his father's deathbed confession, a daughter who falls in love, a daughter who becomes involved in the abolition movement, and a daughter sacrificing herself for her husband.Except that everyone in the story is a dragon, red in tooth and claw.Here is a world of politics and train stations, of churchmen and family retainers, of courtship and country houses� in which, on the death of an elder, family members gather to eat the body of the deceased. In which society's high-and-mighty members avail themselves of the privilege of killing and eating the weaker children, which they do with ceremony and relish, growing stronger thereby.You have never read a novel like Tooth and Claw.

Author Notes

Jo Walton won a Locus Award 2015 for science fiction and fantasy in the non-fiction category with his title What Makes This Book So Great.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Walton says this book is the result of wondering what a world would be like if the axioms of the sentimental Victorian novel were inescapable laws of biology. It is also something truly different in the line of the novel. After a father dies, his children must deal with the circumstances of his death. One son, a parson, agonizes over his sire's deathbed confession. Another starts a court case to gain the inheritance. One daughter must choose between her family of origin and her husband. Another falls in love, but her course does not run smoothly thereafter. So what's different about all that? Well, everyone in the story is a dragon, and in their society, children eat their deceased parents, and the stronger eat the weaker, for only by eating the flesh of its kind can a dragon achieve full strength and power. So therein lies the difference, and the distinction of a little masterpiece of originality. --Frieda Murray Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Dragons ritually eat dragons in order to gain strength and power in Walton's enthralling new fantasy (after 2002's The Prize in the Game), set amid a hierarchical society that includes a noble ruling class, an established church, servants and retainers. On the death of the dragon Bon Agornin, his parson son Penn, one of five siblings (two male and three female), declares, "We must now partake of his remains, that we might grow strong with his strength, remembering him always." But Bon's greedy son-in-law, Illustrious Daverak, consumes more than his fair share of the departed dragon, setting off a chain of unexpected and, at times, calamitous events for each sibling. Avan, the younger son, decides to litigate for compensation. One unmarried daughter, on moving in with the married sister and Daverak, discovers a house filled with injustice, while the other unmarried daughter goes off with Penn and falls in love. Full of political intrigue and romance, this provocative read sets the stage for further adventures in a world that, as the author admits in her prefatory note, "owes a lot to Anthony Trollope's Framley Parsonage." (Nov. 19) FYI: In 2002, Walton received a John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

The deathbed confession of Bon Agornin places his heirs in a quandary as the five siblings maneuver for position and power within the family. What makes Walton's tale of dynastic intrigue unique is that the individuals are all dragons, with their own customs and traditions-such as the practice of consuming the bodies of their dead and killing their weaker children. Walton (The King's Piece) combines delicacy and savagery in a finely told tale suitable for most fantasy collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.