4.5 stars. R. A. MacAvoy’s Tea with the Black Dragon is a book that I read likely not long after its 1983 publication. Thus, I remembered little of the story or characters, yet retained a favorable impression of it. When it was a cheap Kindle buy a while back, I got it on a whim.
Martha Macnamara travels cross-country to San Francisco at the behest of her daughter Liz, who indicates some sort of trouble. At her hotel, she meets mysterious gentleman Mayland Long, feeling the appeal of his magnetic personality. Liz appears to have vanished without a trace, and Martha enlists Mayland’s help to find her. The plot thickens as Martha herself disappears, leaving Mayland to navigate a web of computer crime and nefarious thieves in a tale that is part philosophy, part fantasy, part romance, and part techno-thriller.
Tea with the Black Dragon is a short, easy read that contains considerable depth and nuance. The prose is restrained, with an elegant sparseness; MacAvoy’s words and phrases carry purpose and intent (and occasional sly, subtle wit. The compelling strength of this tale is its strong characterization–their personalities leap off the page with vibrancy–and the thought-provoking dialog that builds their relationships.
It’s always a pleasure find that a pleasantly-remembered book has stood the test of time, and R. A. MacAvoy’s Tea with the Black Dragon most certainly has.