About the book


An empire in turmoil…where poetry can make or break a man’s destiny…

Western China, 1196…

Yun Cai, once a handsome and adored young poet, is now exiled to his family estates to suffer a bitter old age and the irritations of his feckless heir and shrewish daughter-in-law.

But ‘poison dragons’ of cruel ambition sweep away Yun Cai’s dull existence when a band of rebel horsemen terrorise his village.  He also fears a debt of honour: to save his oldest friend, the imperial courtier P’ei Ti, now the rebels’ most valuable hostage in a hellish prison.

Throughout these ordeals Yun Cai is drawn to memories of his glittering yet perilous youth in the imperial capital, and a reckless love for the beautiful singing girl, Su Lin, that cost his freedom and almost his life.  Yun Cai must now rediscover his old wit and courage to confront the ruthless warlord General An-Shu and his beautiful but sadistic consort, the Lady Ta Chi.

Taming Poison Dragons is an epic and captivating tale of honour, ruthless ambition and enduring love in Song Dynasty China.


With vivid, evocative descriptions of landscape and people, it fires the imagination.

Telegraph & Argus

Taming Poison Dragons is a captivatingly original and unforgettable story of tragedy and enduring love in Sung Dynasty China. 

Calderdale Libraries

It is a beautiful, stirring, thoughtful novel, steeped in poetry and demonstrating a profound insight into the thinking and behaviour of the Chinese of the time.

Stephen Lewis, The Press

This epic novel captures the ethereal beauty of Chinese poetry…Murgatroyd has found a style which conveys admirably the peculiar beauty of the rich metaphorical Chinese language.

Morning Star

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