Enter the Dragons

TheDragonsOfHeavenFor some mysterious but utterly nefarious reason, someone had constructed a giant invisible dome over China. Nobody inside could get out. And nobody outside could get in. It was a “New Wall” for a new generation.

To its credit, China was handling the quarantine with unsettling efficiency. And why not? If the Chinese could survive the upheavals of the 20th century and the madness of the Mao era they could survive anything.

But one way or another, that pesky dome had to come down. After all, what would Americans do without their cheap smartphones and sneakers if China were locked behind a magical wall?

To the rescue comes Mr. Mystic, a superhero with a long and spotty history. During WWII he helped smash the Axis Alliance. But at the same time he supported Japanese internment camps. And later, he was a poster boy for McCarthyism. In his glory days, he came across like a dapper British gentleman. In reality he was a mean fucking bastard.

But Mr. Mystic was old. Really old. If he was kicking Nazi butts back in the ’40s, how old was he now? He had to be older than 80. Some people theorized that he was ageless due to Eastern Kung Fu and meditative practices. Other people thought he was drinking Infinity Formula cocktails with Nick Fury.

Nobody, however, knew the truth. The original Mr. Mystic had disappeared years ago, and his legacy was being kept alive by his granddaughter Melissa “Missy” Masters. Dressed in pulp drag, she kept the streets of San Francisco safe at night. In three years of active duty nobody was the wiser.

Missy (aka Mr. Mystic) was uniquely talented to solve China’s problem. By slipping into the shadows that divided parallel worlds, she could pop in and out of the dome at will. Together with a star-spangled superhero and a member of San Francisco’s Chinese Triad, she arrives in Shanghai like a wrecking ball.

But things are always complicated in China. A council of dragon spirits and huxian hotties were waiting to pounce on Missy. In fact, all these guardians of heaven and folkloric creatures shared an intimate history with the Masters family. And they couldn’t wait to get their claws into her. It became clear pretty quickly that the invisible dome over China was a payback powerplay. “Dragons are assholes,” says Missy at one point.

The Dragons of Heaven is a superhero novel with a pinch of retro pulp fiction. We like that. It’s also a fantasy novel and an epic love story with lots of Kung Fu and dragons. We like that too. Once in Shanghai, the plot bogs down a little bit. But don’t worry, it picks up eventually. The author’s knowledge and enthusiasm for Chinese mythology ultimately wins the day. This will be the most unusual superhero novel you’ll read all year. Guaranteed.

“Wandering girls who wake up in fairy tale environments rarely fare well,” writes the author. “And in Chinese folklore, mortals who dally with spirits usually end up worse off then they started.” Despite the overwhelming odds against her, Mr. Mystic came to China, matched wits with feuding dragons, and prevented WWIII. Says Missy: “A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.”

[The Dragons of Heaven / By Alyc Helms / First Printing: June 2015 / ISBN: 9780857664334]

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