Draconis Chronicon

Five children on a journey. A legendary dragon.
The Goonies meets Ladyhawke in an epic adventure.

Salerno, 1066. A preacher wanders the streets announcing the end of the world: “The Beast is stirring again! Fear the dragon, because the day of the eclipse is near!” The young Barliario doesn’t pay attention to those words of doom, but that same evening his father, Rainardo, an alchemist, is surprised by a fire in his laboratory. When they bring him out, he is still alive but disfigured by the fire. And while Barliario watches over his bedside, a mysterious and hooded figure, Ahriman, appears and reveals to him: “As it is written in the Draconis Chronicon, bring me the fire of the dragon and Rainardo will be saved.” Barliario doesn’t need to think twice: he has to go. He is accompanied by his friend Shabbatai, who dreams of becoming a warrior, Trotula, a young medical student with a disarming intelligence, Mercuriade, with mysterious powers, and the very young Ligea, who can talk to the dead. Among brigands, werewolves and witches capable of unleashing storms, an epic adventure in which science and magic mix: in search of the dragon’s fire and self-discovery.


  • An accurate historical portrait of an early (southern) Middle Ages, which has been little exploited as a fantasy scenario, but is incredibly fascinating.

  • Trotula (De Ruggiero) and (Pietro) Barliario are characters who really existed, and the former is considered one of the most influential female figures of the Middle Ages. According to the most reliable sources, she was the first female doctor in history.


GENRE Fantasy, Adventure, Coming-of-age
FIRST PUBLISHER Mondadori (Italy), 2022 


A screenwriter, director and film critic, for over twenty years Manlio has been involved in organising the Giffoni festival, for which he was deputy artistic director from 2007 to 2018. He made his debut in fiction with the bestselling Petrademone trilogy, published by Mondadori and translated into various languages. He has recently published Le belve (The Beasts), written with Guido Sgardoli, I venti del Male (The Evil Twenty), La notte delle malombre (The Nights of the Malombre), which got a Special Mention at the Cento Prize 2021, Alice resta a casa (Alice stays at home), written with Marco Ponti, and 116 film da vedere prima dei 16 anni (116 films to see before you’re 16).