Ariosto -- Warrior, Poet, Lover ...
Come and dream the stuff of legends!

Poet laureate to the de-Medicis in Renaissance Italy, Ludovico Ariosto is a gentle man possessed of wisdom and great talent -- his verses bring honor to his patron and make hot-blooded men weep for their sheer beauty.



Released November 1999 and only available in electronic format from Hidden Knowledge.

Magnificat is a speculative fiction novel which tells what happens when the Roman Catholic Church elects as its new Pope a Chinese woman, a divorcee who is not even a Catholic. How this comes about, and the intrigues which make it possible and then inevitable, comprise the first half of the book, "Election." In the second half, "Elevation," we see the consequences of this choice: A strong woman, with a mind for justice and a desire to follow the rules that she feels are the ones under which she took on a task, collides with the religious, political, and cultural agendas of people and institutions who don't intend to give up their rights and privileges, and who are perfectly happy to follow the prescribed letter of a law while violating its intentions.

This is a work of fiction, but it also an investigation into some important issues of spirituality, the relationships of mankind and its religions, and the rights of individuals of whatever gender.

A Baroque Fable
Deep in the Woebegone Wood, There Lurks a Rather Pathetic Dragon ...

"Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's A Baroque Fable is not only a wry and charming novel, it's also the first book I know of that manages to be half fairy tale and half musical comedy.  Watch out for singing trolls!"  -- Craig Shaw Gardner


To The High Redoubt

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Deep in the Woebegone Wood, there lurks a rather pathetic dragon …

Berkley Edition July 1986

DISCLAIMER:  This is a fairy tale.  Characters, institutions, circumstance, outcomes, consequences, locations, and all the rest are taken from other fairy tales and from my imagination.  Actual persons, places, institutions, circumstances, outcomes, consequences, locations, and all the rest are not found in fairy tales, and that includes this one.

Alfreida the witch, living among the trolls, entertaining herself by casting vicious, petty spells.

Humgudgeon IX, Protector Extraordinary of Addlepate, amusing himself by causing plagues and burning towns.

Sigmund Snafflebrain the wizard, whose spells are brilliant … when he doesn't forget them.

Prince Andre of Alabaster-on-Gelasta, about to set off on his first dragon hunt … provided he can decide on a suitable wardrobe.

Princess Felicia, his sister, determined to ride with him because court life is so darned boring.

And the dragon, let's not forget the dragon … the terrible dragon of the Woebegone Wood.  A pitiful little thing, she's really not a dragon at all.  But Princes are inclined to slay first, ask questions later.


She is so terrified that she can hardly breathe.  Her arms feel stiff as ice, her forehead is hot.  There are sounds in her ears that have nothing to do with Alreida's spell.  Her feet ache and itch in ways she has never felt before.  Enormous tears roll from her eyes and she bids farewell in her mind to home and family.

Fingers lengthen, turning into talons, growing long, glistening claws.  Golden hair lifts and twines, turning into two twisted arching horns, forming a perfect valentine over the long, green scaled snout.  Skin hardens and shines, segmenting into scales.

Alfreida howls with delight.  "I did it!"  "I did it!" she crows.

In the pentacle the huge, brown eyes of the dragon continue to shed perfect tears.


First Tor Printing January 1988

But in Ariosto's grand vision, his Fantasia, he is transformed into a stalwart hero who flies on his great steed to the fabled New Americas -- a world where courage will win a continent, and where one man's nobility will help stem the tide of destruction.  In this wondrous New World where magic works and malevolent wizards hold sway, Ariosto is champion.

Which vision will triumph -- that of the warrior who goes nobly forth in his dreams to vanquish his foes, or that of the gentle poet whose loyalty could doom him?


When the apparition finally stopped and faced Lodovico Ariosto, there was in that lean face an expression of such wrath, such inexorable venom that Ariosto nearly dropped the dagger he held.  His face was ashen when he at last stood erect, the circle completed.  He looked at his companions in fear and wonder and said softly, "I tell you, I have never known such potent evil before in all my travels."

"You do well to acknowledge that, pale one," said the phantom.  The voice spoke out of the air, out of the very fabric of the night.  It was a voice for a Prince, for a Pope, for a seducer.  It went on.  "You have evaded me before, but I warn you that I will not let you escape me again.  For the moment you have restrained me, but it will not happen again.  You think you are safe, that my power cannot touch you."  The laughter that followed this caused Ludovico's very bones to turn cold.  There was a cracking sound and a sudden, violent wind rocked the tent and extinguished all light as the three beams that supported the tent broke and topped, falling as if to strike down the men who stood stupified, within.