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Tea with the Black Dragon

(Black Dragon #1)

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  4,312 ratings  ·  289 reviews
Martha Macnamara knows that her daughter Elizabeth is in trouble, she just doesn't know what kind. Mysterious phone calls from San Francisco at odd hours of the night are the only contact she has had with Elizabeth for years. Now, Elizabeth has sent her a plane ticket and reserved a room for her at San Francisco's most luxurious hotel. Yet she has not tried to contact Mart ...more
Kindle Edition, 162 pages
Published April 1st 2014 by Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy (first published January 1st 1983)
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really liked it 4.00  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,312 ratings  ·  289 reviews

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Dec 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite, favorite books. And one of my favorite authors.
I read this one at least two times a year.
R.A. MacAvoy has this ability to write both sparsely and with a richness that makes me want to buy her laundry lists :)
Tea with the Black Dragon and its sequel, Twisting the Rope, and absolute must reading if you enjoy philosophical fiction that weaves in humor and great characters as well.
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
This was a fast read, and a pleasant one. The plot would have worked well, I think, even without the supernatural elements. It reminds me of some books by James Hadley Chase with his band of crooks setting up a clever heist and then turning on each other after the deed is done. A plus for me is the age of the two main characters : Martha MacNamara a spirited 50 something violinist, and Mayland Long - a mysterious gentleman who claims to be quite a few centuries older. There are a couple of
Dec 06, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-audio, quest
This was a very, very poorly written book. By the Nines, the dialogue was so utterly forced.
Character descriptions were absurd.
>The dragon was an idiot.
>The heroine was an idiot.
>The daughter was an idiot.
>The love sick puppy was an idiot.
>The bad guys were idiots.

They shot a cat.

Oh, and because racism. WTF is the difference between an asian and a british smile exactly? Someone please explain.
Aug 12, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
MacAvoy is an author who seems not to write as a career, but rather because she has a story she wishes to tell. Some authors seem to be telling the same story again and again, and I do not begrudge them that: it's the story they're interested in, and generally they are good at it. MacAvoy, however, seems to write one story well, and then move on to the next, which is generally completely unrelated-- not to say she doesn't write sequels, but when she is done with a story, she moves on, and writes ...more
Mar 17, 2009 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jon by: Janny Wurts
Peter Tillman
I liked it a lot in 1994, on a reread. I might still have a copy. Time for a reread? Not at the library.

Jo Walton's is the review to read:
"Tea With the Black Dragon is an odd but charming book. It’s the kind of book that when someone mentions it, you smile. It’s unusual in a number of ways. It’s set at a very precise moment of the early eighties, which can be deduced from the very specific technology -- but it’s a fantasy. It has an action-adventure plot
R.R. López
Feb 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un libro delicioso que describe unos personajes muy interesantes.
Acción, romance, y una increíble sorpresa.
Orientalismo, zen... una mezcla muy original que hará las delicias de los nostálgicos de los años 70.
Hace poco he descubierto que hay segunda parte, investigaré si está traducida al español.
Jun 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this multiple times because I liked it so much.
Aug 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, read-aloud
There’s beauty in subtlety. Tea with the Black Dragon does not follow typical fantasy conventions; in fact the fantasy elements remain in the background with the crux of the story focusing on a spiritual and emotional awakening and the search for missing persons. It is unusual not to delve into the power and life of an ancient and magical figure, since they tend to be the most interesting part of the story, but MacAvoy does not do this. He instead masterfully plays with the reader only giving u ...more
May 26, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read the book as part of my r/fantasy Bingo challenge. It's a charming and unusual contemporary fantasy.

Titular dragon is Mayland Long; he has tea with Martha Macnamara, who has just checked into the hotel, where he lives. Mr Long is seeking truth; Martha is looking for her missing daughter Liz, who summoned her a while ago. Mayland decided to help Martha in search of her daughter.

Not an easy task - as they follow the trails, things get a little ugly and dangerous.

It's a short (under 200
Jul 22, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I have a bit of a reading habit where anything with the word “dragon” in the title I pick up for that word alone. I found this book in a rummage bin, rather the worse for wear, and didn’t even pick it up for a song.

I found out later it’s both a Hugo and Nebula nominee circa 1984.

The plot is a bit serpentinous. You have the start of a quest, Martha trying to find her grown daughter, Elizabeth, and happens to meet and enlist the help of one enigmatic Mr. Long, an older man with a vaguely oriental
It's not a bad book, a quick read. A bit predictable, but fun. Diverting.
Jamie Collins
Feb 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy-urban
A romantic urban fantasy from 1983, and I enjoyed it. It reminds me of Barbara Hambly’s sci-fi/fantasy from the 80’s. It’s slight, and perhaps a little melodramatic, and it’s not much of a romance since it’s pretty much a case of love at first sight, but it gets extra points because the love interest is a middle-aged woman.

Martha, an ethereal musician, has flown to San Francisco in response to a vague distress call from her daughter. In the hotel restaurant she meets Long, a “slight Eurasian man
Carol Nicolas
Martha Macnamara flies out to San Francisco to meet her estranged daughter, Liz, who is in some kind of trouble. When Liz doesn’t show up for their meeting, Martha is left not knowing where to turn. Then the bartender in the luxurious hotel where she is staying introduces her to the mysterious Mayland Long, a wealthy Chinese man who lives in the hotel. He tells Martha that she and Long have a lot in common: they both have unique ways of looking at life, and they both love to read. He laughs when ...more
Mar 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This was a lot different than I expected. I thought it would be more of a fantasy, but that is really very much in the background and the story is really about trying to find some missing persons. Which, really, is how the blurb reads, but I must have forgotten that by the time I actually read it. I enjoyed the two protagonists being older and I thought some of the writing was beautiful. A quick read.
Kat  Hooper
Jul 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Will review soon at
Sep 06, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: series
25% and DNF.

This is a short little thing, I shouldn't just quit it like that, but I can't do this. Everything about this book makes me not want to read it at all. Sorry about that. I'm not writing the review to diss or to try to hate on this, but I do not want to forget my reasons why I got absolutely annoyed by it.

Martha Macnamara's daughter is in trouble, so she does what most of us would; calls her mother, so said mother leaves New York to meet her in San Francisco. In her posh hotel she me
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has been on my TBR list for a long time, ever since it was in a Humble Book Bundle. I really enjoyed it. I don't know if I can categorize it, but there's an unusual romance plot, as well as some elements of crime fiction and some of light fantasy. I would almost call it urban fantasy, except it's nothing like anything else I've read in that genre. There's a strong theme of Eastern spirituality, but I don't know enough about that topic to understand it very well. Hopefully I'll understa ...more
Aug 07, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, 7, ebooks, fantasy, reread
Sadly, this was a case of an old favourite not quite living up to my memory of it. I remember this having been a great book, it wasn't quite as wonderful as I thought.

All the same, this is still a lovely, little story. I think it is the themes and concepts I remember most; the search for truth and how a dragon might go about trying to find it. Those are still wonderful ideas and I loved revisiting them.

The story itself doesn't hold them up as well as it might, but is well worth taking the time t
James Adams
A truly delightful fantasy/mystery hybrid with warmth and wit to spare.
One could call this "Urban Fantasy", given the contemporary, urban setting and genre blending, but this does not fit comfortably into that niche. Partly this is due to the balance; this is a mystery that just happens to have a fantasy element. There is also tone; this is much closer in feel to stories of amateur detectives, such as Lord Peter Wimsey, than it is to the noir-ish PI novels that inspire most modern UF. Third, th
MB (What she read)
Well, that was different.

I have a feeling that if I'd read this in the 80s, I'd have rated it higher. But, here and now, it feels very dated--like Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Narnia books, or The Neverending Story. (Please note: I'm not really referring to the romance, or old computer tech, but to the 'feel').

I've been interested in reading this for years, so was very happy to find it on sale for kindle for $1.99.

The proofing and formatting is not wonderful, (no scene breaks), but I'm happy to
Laura Koerber
Jun 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: my-book would a dragon appear if he lived in a hotel in San Francisco? Enjoyable read with just enough excitement mixed with character development and an interesting concept. The writing is a bit distant--something about the author's style puts a layer of insulation between the events in the story and the reader so that emotional involvement does not happen. However, I still read the whole thing without getting bored or impatient and went on to read the next in the series.
Raeden Zen
Dec 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the audible audiobook. Intriguing mystery. Good narration. Recommended.
I zipped through Tea with the Black Dragon by RA MacAvoy, which I've had on my TBR for about forever. Turns out it's more of a novella than a novel, only about 5 hours in audio.

I had fun with it. It was originally published in 1983, so before the real heyday of UF, but it definitely belongs in the UF/PNR category -- right down to the mystery and romance aspects and supernatural-things-hidden-from-the-general-populace. The computer-related elements of the story seemed remarkably primitive, even f
Oleksandr Zholud
This is a fantasy novel was a Hugo, Nebula and Locus Award nominee, which I read as a part of Monthly reads in Hugo & Nebula Awards: Best Novels

This short fantasy novel starts more or less like an ordinary urban/modern fantasy: a 50 year old woman comes to San Francisco. Her name is Martha Macnamara and she wants to meet her [estranged] daughter, who recently called to her for help. In her hotel Martha meets a dark [Chinese?] stranger with immaculate manners and erudition. Almost instantly,
Roddy Williams
May 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I do like those novels which are hard to classify. Despite being on the genre award lists this is certainly not SF and it is perhaps only borderline Fantasy. It is however, a wonderfully written piece full of poetic imagery and metaphor.
Martha is a middle-aged musician, a classically trained violinist who - for various reasons – now tours the country with a ceili band. She has come to San Francisco having received a worrying invitation from her daughter Liz who has booked her into an expensive h
3 1/2 stars

A nice little mystery thriller with muted fantasy elements and really strong, charming characters. The San Francisco setting is well done and the depiction of the seedier side of the early Bay area computer scene rings pretty true to me. The first few chapters read a bit stilted and awkward but once I relaxed into the eccentricities of the main characters (and what interesting main characters they are!), the language seemed more natural and graceful. I liked this well enough that I've
-Fantasía casi sin parecerlo -.

Género. Narrativa Fantástica.

Lo que nos cuenta. Martha Macnamara, madre preocupada por una hija que trabaja en el mundo de la informática, conoce al señor Mayland Long, un peculiar y culto caballero realmente interesado en Martha y a la que acompañará para averiguar qué sucede con su hija.

¿Quiere saber más del libro, sin spoilers? Visite:
Jan 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read, fantasy
I reread the seires through audible. What a delight. I totally forgot I enjoyed them all those years ago. Now that I actually went to San Francisco in 2010, the descriptions made much better sense, too. It was a fun and nostalgic read.
Apr 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A marvellous little book. I wonder if MacAvoy had just the one superb book in her, since subsequent offerings have been disappointing. Highly recommend this one.
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Roberta Ann (R. A.) MacAvoy is a fantasy and science fiction author in the United States. Several of her books draw on Celtic or Taoist themes. She won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 1984. R. A. MacAvoy was born in Cleveland, Ohio to Francis and Helen MacAvoy. She attended Case Western Reserve University and received a B.A. in 1971. She worked from 1975 to 1978 as an assistant t ...more

Other books in the series

Black Dragon (2 books)
  • Twisting the Rope (Black Dragon, #2)
“But two things I have ever respected are warmth and the ability to sit still.” Martha” 3 likes
“Systems analysts rarely call their parents from across the country with mysterious problems. Still more rarely do they disappear. It is not part of the technical mentality to disappear.” 3 likes
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