Roots: There are references to the Mona Lisa, and Enter the Dragon.
Continuity: The Gamalian Dragon is displayed in the Castle of Ice and Fire at Omensk on Tharn. Originally the Dragon of Jeneve, it was captured at the Battle of Bocaro by Hugo Gamaliel when he defeated the Knights of Jeneve. The Dragon was supposedly created as the emblem and standard of the Knights, who according to legend were formed to protect a great secret. Bocaro (a.k.a. Bosarno) was the Knights' communications station world and is located in the Tersalian System. According to Brahmyn's Dreams of Empire, the Knights turned to evil, prompting Gamaliel's crusade against them. The Gamalien Dragon has since become a rallying point for those dissatisfied with Earth's rule. In fact, the Dragon captured by Gamaliel is a recording device created by the Knights, which they allowed him to capture. It also contains a fission grenade. The Knights were masters of miniaturisation of technology. The real Dragon of Jeneve doesn't resemble the traditional Western-style dragon model captured by Gamaliel, but is actually a small stone carving of an Eastern-style mammalian dragon that was captured by Henri of Bosarno and became part of his tomb on Tharn: fear of destroying this dragon stopped the Knights from detonating the fission grenade inside the fake dragon. Only an inner retinue of the Knights known as the Dragon Knights knew what the real dragon looked like: Herni slaughtered them. The real dragon holds the key to decrypting the key used by the Knights to protect their vast storehouse of knowledge. The real dragon is returned to the Knights here.
The Palace of Fire and Ice is built on a volcano in the largest area of ice on Tharn: the heat from the volcano keeps the glacier in check and the cooling effect of the water keeps the volcano dormant. The Palace is destroyed when Bernice detonates the fission grenade inside the fake dragon and the volcano erupts. A cryvok is a genetically and cybernetically enhanced creature on Tharn that resembles a cross between a dog and wolf.
The Stanturus System is located on the edge of the sector of space that contains Dellah, and on the edge closest to the next civilised sector. There are four planets in the system: two have been terraformed and are inhabited by small communities, whilst Stanturus Three is a wilderness of jungle and desert inhabited by birds, mammals, reptiles and fish. The steggodons on Stanturus Three resemble a cross between an upright anteater and Neanderthal Man. They are herbivores. Other animals on the planet include small creatures with teeth and claws, black beady eyes, matted fur and segmented tails.
Bernice drinks coffee here. Her students currently include Polybus Arex, Anne-Marie Rose and Marjorie Marjorie.
Irving Braxiatel sponsors and owns the Department of Theatrology's Shakespeare Building at St. Oscar's. Menlove Stokes has recently "enhanced" the building's frontage. Braxiatel hasn't met Bernice yet in his own timeline. He implies that his presence on Dellah is linked to God (The Also People, Oh No It Isn't!). He repairs Joseph for Bernice after the porter gets shot. He is the independent chairman and chief arbiter for the Enquiry into the Findings and Discoveries on Stantarus Three, which is held at St. Oscar's. He has a small brass plaque that reads "Custodian of the Library of St. John the Beheaded" (All-Consuming Fire) and a tankard inscribed with the words "The Armageddon Convention - Your Contribution Really Made a Difference", which apparently every attendee got one of (The Empire of Glass). He claims to have read Down Among the Dead Men. He keeps a digital copy of the contents of the archives of Tharn.
Professor Archduke (Oh No It Isn't) is actually a member of the Knights of Jeneve, whose presence at St. Oscar's is purely a front to allow him to meet Braxiatel.
Commander Skutloid is an old friend of Braxiatel's and a mercenary who has apparently done dirty work for him in the past. It is implied that he is an Ice Warrior.
Prospero Plaza is part of St. Oscar's University. Professor Follett's first name is Divson. He eats molluscs. Emilia Winston runs the History Department and has done for many years. Mappin Gilder is the Archaeology Department's new facilitator. Nicholas Clyde has recently joined the History Department. Newark Rappare was a Professor of Art History at St. Oscar's prior to his murder. Symon Dextro's Tom-Tom Ensemble plays regularly at Cordelia's at St. Oscar's.
Kai-Tec is a university. Other libraries and archives mentioned here include the University of Praxis Maier, the Musée des Arts d'Antiquities, and the Collegiate Archives of Thrast. Lessing's Arcturan Doom is a famous painting. The Archives of Tharn contains copies of Sturgey's The Aspirations of Empire, of which there are four volumes. Xanta is either a planet or a place on Tharn. Other planets mentioned here include Deyton Beta and Klapidon Major.
Links: Newark Rapare is murdered here, setting this shortly after Demontage. Braxiatel first appeared in Theatre of War and also attended Bernice's wedding (Happy Endings). He organised the Armageddon Convention in seventeenth century Venice in The Empire of Glass. There is another reference to the Cat's Paw (Oh No It Isn't!).
Location: Dellah, Tharn, Stanturus Three, and Talisman Station, c2593.
Future History: The Battle of Bocaro took place towards the end of the twenty-fourth century. Gamaliel eventually broke away from Earth and established a small power base based on Tharn. According to Braxiatel, despite the legends, Gamaliel was a corporate boss rather than an idealist and freedom fighter and broke away from Earth for profit. Gamaliel's corporation was named BrokTek.
The Knights of Jeneve was a learned brotherhood established during the third quarter of the twenty-third century. They were created by President of Earth Vazlov Baygent from an existing scientific-military organisation [the implication is UNIT], renaming it the Knights of Geneva, a name that became corrupted over the years. Baygent was assassinated in 2276, before he could pass a law that the Presidency should become a hereditary rather than an elected position. The Knights were created to protect his legacy; a series of databases that he eventually hoped would contain all knowledge. By 2593, following their apparent destruction at Bocaro, they have survived in secret and continue their task; they tolerate data pirates like the Grel (Oh No It Isn't) because they provide yet another source of knowledge. They deliberately lost the battle with Gamaliel so that everyone would think they had been destroyed, allowing them to continue their work in secret.
Nicholas Clyde's doctoral thesis is entitled Ambitions of Empire, the rise and rise of Hugo Gamaliel. Ormand-Seltec is a corporation. Martha Ganymede is a noted columnist for Historiography Today.
The Bottom Line: "Terrific. We're about to be captured by a megalomaniac we've just made look like a stupid crook on a sector-wide vidcast, and something's puzzling you." Ponderous dialogue, dull and forgettable characters, castles, politics, lies and a big twist - yep, it's a Justin Richards novel. Chiefly memorable for introducing Braxiatel to the regular cast, Dragon's Wrath is by no means bad, nor is it dull, but it is depressingly po-faced after Oh No It Isn't!.