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The Year of the Dragon

20 November 2018

My book The Year of the Dragon has now been published in ebook format, and may be ordered from major ebook retailers including Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Scribd and from Smashwords.

ISBN: 9780463733158
Title: The Year of the Dragon
Author: Stephen Hayes
Price: $US 3.99 (about R56.00, £3.10),

The Year of the Dragon

The year is 1988.

For 40 years the world has been in the grip of the Cold War, and South Africa has been in the grip of apartheid. For 71 years Russia has been under Bolshevik tyranny. Though few suspect it, this is about to change for ever.

On a farm in the picturesque southern Drakensberg of South Africa a woman dies, and a young lawyer, Richard Rutherford, and his friend Denis Walters combine business with a pleasure weekend in the mountains. They will visit the farm to take the first steps in settling the estate. They soon discover that others also have an interest in the estate, or at least some items in it, and that they are prepared to kill for them.

The contentious items seem to be some old Russian ikons, but how they got to a remote farm and why others are so anxious to get hold of them is a mystery. The search for answers leads them to a strange hermit and an even stranger priest, and a drive of a thousand miles in search of King Lobengula’s legendary treasure.

The Cover

The cover was designed by my son, Simon Hayes.

Simon studied fine art at Pretoria Technikon and is currently working on computer animation. You can find samples of his current work here.

How did I come to write this book?

As my fellow blogger Brenton Dickieson puts it, C.S. Lewis And J.R.R. Tolkien: The Unpayable Debt of Writing Friends (Throwback Thursday) | A Pilgrim in Narnia:

A now-famous literary pact between Tolkien and Lewis, “Tollers” and “Jack,” confirms how different their approach was. Here Humphrey Carpenter records Tolkien’s recollection of a conversation they had, with Lewis speaking first:

“Tollers, there is too little of what we really like in stories. I am afraid we shall have to try and write some ourselves.” We agreed’ (said Tolkien) ‘that he should try “space-travel”, and I should try “time-travel”. (Humphrey Carpenter, Tolkien, 190).

C.S. Lewis’ space travel story, Out of the Silent Planet, appeared quickly in 1938. We don’t get to see what Tolkien was working on until after he died.

Among the stories I liked, and still like, are those written by Lewis and Tolkien’s fellow Inkling, Charles Williams. He wrote several plays, a lot of poetry and seven novels. I think his stories are much underrated. None of them, for example, appear in The Reader’s Companion to the Twentieth-Century Novel. So if we wanted more of the stories we like, we should have to write them ourselves. And the challenge still stands: I would love to read more stories in the genre of Charles Williams, so please write some!

You can find The Year of the Dragon on GoodReads here.

Read this if you have a proprietary e-book reader like Kindle, Kobo or Nook

If you don’t buy an e-book from the manufacturer of your e-reader (eg Amazon in the case of Kindle), you will need to “sideload” it on to your reader. So if you buy The Year of the Dragon from Smashwords, you will need to “sideload” it. Instructions for sideloading are given at the following links:

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 29 April 2019 3:03 am

    I’ve finally downloaded it. Now I just have to figure out how to get it onto my Kindle 🙂


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