Here, There Be Dragons



Author James A. Owen
Illustrator James A. Owen, cover by Christopher Grassi
Publication date September 2006
Published by Simon and Schuster
ISBN 978-1416912286
# of Pages 336 (+16, paperback edition)
Publication Order
Preceded by
The Dragon Knight

(some stories)

Followed by
The Search for the Red Dragon

Here, There Be Dragons is the first book of the Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica. The book was first published in September 2006 by Simon & Schuster with the assistance of Coppervale Press.


An unusual murder brings together three strangers, John, Jack, and Charles, on a rainy night in London during the first World War. An eccentric little man called Bert tells them that they are now the caretakers of the Imaginarium Geographica, an atlas of all the lands that have ever existed in myth and legend, fable and fairy tale. These lands, Bert claims, can be traveled to in his ship the Indigo Dragon, one of only seven vessels that is able to cross the Frontier between worlds into the Archipelago of Dreams.

Pursued by strange and terrifying creatures, the companions flee London aboard the Dragonship. Traveling to the very realm of the imagination itself, they must learn to overcome their fears and trust in one another if they are to defeat the dark forces that threaten the destiny of two worlds.

Plot SummaryEdit


The 'Green Knight' at Avalon

John, Charles, and Jack are three Oxford scholars united by the death of Stellan Sigurdsson, John's mentor, who thereafter receive The Imaginarium Geographica, which records mythical and fictional locations. When pursued by the anthropophagous, plural Wendigo, they are rescued by Bert, with whom they travel aboard the ship Indigo Dragon (captained by Bert's daughter Aven), to Avalon, and then to Paralon, the capital of the Geographica's 'Archipelago of Dreams', where they discover this Archipelago in an interregnum and discover that its social order can be restored by a descendant of Arthur Pendragon. Desirous of obtaining the royal 'Ring of Power', and thus the kingship, is the 'Winter King' (Mordred). Upon a visit to shipbuilder 'Ordo Maas' (Deucalion), the protagonists learn that the Winter King is using Pandora's Box to create the wraithlike 'Shadow-Born', his principal servants, from the citizens of lands conquered by himself. Fearing that the Winter King may gain an advantage by possession of the Imaginarium Geographica, they visit its author, the Cartographer of Lost Places, in his refuge, the Keep of Time, where they discover that their servant 'Artus' is a descendant of Arthur. Knowing this, they challenge the Winter King to pitched battle, wherein the still-loyal Elves, Dwarves, and Centaurs etc. oppose Shadow-Born, Trolls, and Goblins while Charles and the badger 'Tummeler' close Pandora's Box in secret. On the battlefield, Jack accidentally causes the death of Captain Nemo, while John and Artus approach the 'Ring of Power' (a ring of standing stones resembling Stonehenge) to summon the Archipelago's dragons, who rout the enemy. Mordred is cast from the Edge of the World by the dragon Samaranth. Upon return to their own world, John, Jack, Charles, and Bert are identified as J.R.R Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and H.G. Wells.


  • John is an ex-soldier, he becomes the 'Caretaker Principia' of the Imaginarium Geographica after the former Caretaker Principa is killed. Initially unable to read the Geographica, he eventually becomes proficient in so doing, and thereafter guides the others.
  • Jack is the youngest of the three central characters, having not yet attended university (Oxford). Early on he demonstrates the most imagination of the three; but his recklessness briefly costs him his integrity, and Captain Nemo's life. Thereafter he restores to their former characters, all the lands conquered by antagonist Mordred.
  • Charles is editor of the Oxford Press. Contemptuous of lesser antagonist Magwich, but gradually befriended by the badger Tummeler.
  • Bert is former Caretaker of the Imaginarium Geographica, alongside Stellan Sigurdsson and James Barrie, and identified with the protagonist of the historic H.G. Wells' novel The Time Machine.
  • Aven is the captain of the ship Indigo Dragon, on which the protagonists initially travel; the daughter of Bert.

    Aven, as depicted in Here, There Be Dragons

  • Bug/Artus is a boy who stows away on the Indigo Dragon after release from the service of three Norns. A descendant of King Arthur, and thus the heir to the Archipelago.
  • The Winter King/Mordred/Captain Hook is the antagonist, desirous of conquering the Archipelago by control of its population's shadows, and eventually of the dragons that guard the Archipelago itself. He is defeated by the dragon Samaranth.
  • Magwich is Mordred's spy and assistant, and formerly an apprentice to Charles Dickens. He is constantly threatened and beaten by the protagonists, among whom he briefly travels. In the end of the first book he becomes a Green Knight to protect Avalon.
  • Tummeler is a talking badger who accompanies the protagonists—eventually to close Pandora's Box by the shield of Perseus (given him by Samaranth), and thus terminate Mordred's 'Shadow-Born'.

    Samaranth, as illustrated in Here, There Be Dragons

  • Ordo Maas combines the characters of Thoth, Noah, and Deucalion. To him are attributed the sentient Dragonships: the Indigo Dragon, the Violet Dragon, the Blue Dragon, the Orange Dragon, the Yellow Dragon, the White Dragon and the Red Dragon (a modified Argo). An advisor to the protagonists.
  • Samaranth is the first dragon. Like Ordo Maas, he gives the protagonists advice and (among other dragons) aids them in the final battle.


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