Thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign earlier this year, the first act of Professor Rachel Fulton Brown’s graphic fantasy Draco Alchemicus is out just in time for Christmas. The book is produced by Dragon Common Room, “a team of poets and artists who write and publish original stories anchored in traditional Christian symbolism” founded by Fulton Brown. With the first act of five now completed, the team is currently hard at work completing the second act, which the Kickstarter campaign also funded.
The Thinkerinterviewed Fulton Brown about the project during its campaign. Now, with the first act officially released, I had the opportunity to follow up with her.
Fulton Brown explained that the theme of the book fell into place when she decided upon its subtitle: “A love story.” The story follows Damian Stone, a hero who has come to rescue his love, Columbine, from the clutches of the Dragon by slaying the beast. However, the Dragon rules the City of Light, the story’s setting, with magic and spices that have caused all who dwell there to succumb to vice. It is Damian’s challenge, therefore, to save his love without acquiescing to the Dragon’s intoxicating power.
The love story presents itself in two ways. It is a classical story of a hero who must slay a great beast to save his beloved, while simultaneously acting as an allegory for Christ’s love of humanity. Just as Damian seeks to rescue Columbine from the Dragon, Christ seeks to rescue the human soul from the clutches of sin. Under the power of the Dragon, Columbine becomes Eliza Drake, the Dragon’s most ruthless servant in his City of Light. Analogously, sin has ensnared the human soul, and it is only through the love of Christ that we can be saved.
The nature of sin is another major focus of the book. The conception of sin builds off the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of The Lord of the Rings, and his goal “to make visible and physical the effects of Sin or misused Free Will by men,” a central topic of Fulton Brown’s Tolkien class. Draco Alchemicus is a loving tribute to Tolkien that shares his frustrations. It asks the same fundamentally Christian questions: why, if we know it is wrong, do we continue to sin? How is it that Satan is able to tempt us away from God? These questions are addressed in both Draco Alchemicus and the great tales of Tolkien’s legendarium (particularly the Fall of Numenor). To borrow from Draco‘s official description, “Sin, like snake oil, is one helluva drug.”
Finally, Draco Alchemicus grapples with the nature of Christ’s incarnation. Instead of viewing the incarnation as God entering into our world, Draco approaches it from the perspective of the creator entering into his creation. How, then, is Christ’s descent into our sinfulness able to save us? This will be the arc of Damian in the story as he attempts to ward off the Dragon’s temptations and vices to save Columbine.
All of this will be explored over the course of the five acts of the story, through fully-illustrated and poetic high fantasy. A reading of the first scene of “Act I: The Casino” may be found below. Further information on where to buy Act I of Draco Alchemicus may be found on the Dragon Common Room’s online store and one can discover more about the project on Dragon Common Room’s website.
* The views expressed in this article solely represent the views of the author, not the views of the Chicago Thinker.
Chad Berkich is a Senior Editor for the Chicago Thinker. As a senior at the University of Chicago, he is majoring in mathematics. He is a Christian and conservative, and his other interests include superheroes and science fiction, video games, and rock music. He was the president of the University of Chicago's chapter of College Republicans for the 2022-2023 school year.