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The Last Dragon
The Last Dragon cover.jpeg
First American edition
Author Silvana De Mari
Original title L'ultimo elfo
Translator Shaun Whiteside
Country Italy
Language Italian
Genre Fantasy
Publisher Salani
Publication date
Published in English
Media type Print
Pages 368 pp (US edition)
ISBN 1-4231-0405-6

The Last Dragon is a children's fantasy novel by Silvana De Mari, first published in Italy in 2004 under the title L'ultimo elfo. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, it follows the journey of the last elf as he seeks out the last dragon so that the world can be renewed. Translated into English by Shaun Whiteside, it was published in the US by Miramax Books in 2006. It has also been published in the UK as The Last Elf.

The author

Silvana De Mari, born in 1953 in Caserta, Italy, is a writer, psychotherapist, and doctor. She lives in Turin with her family. She has a private psychotherapy practice, and formerly worked as a surgeon in both Italy and Ethiopia. L'ultimo elfo, her third children's book, was the first to be translated into English. It has also been translated into French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and several other languages.

Plot summary

In a two-part tale, the reader embarks on a journey of humor, sorrow, and tenderness, within a story of cultures colliding, highlighting a young orphaned elf, the last on earth, named Yorsh, full name Yorshkrunsquarklejolnerstrink. His village has been destroyed by torrential rain, and he finds himself living in a world plagued by intolerance, shrouded in darkness, hungry, cold, and wet. Upon meeting and being reluctantly befriended by a hunter named Monser and Sajra, a woman, Yorsh learns of a prophecy and of his importance in saving the world of this Dark Age. To fulfill the prophecy and bring the world into an age where the sun will shine again, he must first find another bereaved creature: the last dragon. Upon discovering the dragon, Yorsh decides to stay and keep him company.

The second part of the story takes place thirteen years later; the dragon dies leaving him with an egg. Yorsh takes upon the task of raising the young dragon. Yorsh, coming to miss deeply his companions the hunter and the woman, journeys back to the old village to find their daughter Robi, and learns of the hanging they endured for protecting him. Saddened, Yorsh decides he will protect the young orphaned Robi. Deciding to leave, the elf, young dragon, and Robi move to a new country, forming a new constitution to govern the population of their new world, “No one can hit anybody… And you can’t hang people, either.”


The story of Yorsh continues in L'ultimo orco (The Last Ogre), published in Italy in 2005. Further books in the saga are Gli ultimi incantesimi (The Last Spells) (2008) and L'ultima profezia (The Last Prophecy) (2010). The sequels have not as yet been published in English language editions.

Selected editions


  • L'ultimo elfo, Adriano Salani Editore, 2004


  • Le Dernier Elfe tr. Jacques Barbéri, Éditions Albin Michel, 2005


  • El último elfo, tr. Lina Patricia Bojanini, Belacqua, 2005


  • Pēdējais elfs, tr. Dace Meiere, Dienas Grāmata, 2006


  • The Last Dragon, tr. Shaun Whiteside, Miramax Books, 2006 (US edition)
  • The Last Elf, tr. Shaun Whiteside, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2007 (UK edition)
  • The Last Dragon, audio edition, read by Patricia Connolly, Recorded Editions, 2007


  • O Último Elfo, tr. José Neto, ASA Editores, 2007


  • Der letzte Elf, tr. Barbara Kleiner, cbj, 2008


  • Paskutinis elfas, tr.Laura Vilkaitė, Nieko rimto, 2014


  • HarperCollins Publishers (United States)
  • HarperCollins Canada, Limited (Canada)
  • Hyperion Press (United States)
  • Turnaround Publisher Services Limited (United Kingdom)
  • HarperCollins Publishers Australia (Australia)


  • Premio Andersen, 2004
  • Premio Bancarellino, 2005
  • Kirkus Star
  • Mildred L. Batchelder Award 2007 (Nominated)
  • Maine Student Book Award 2007 (Nominated)
  • Nutmeg Children's Book Award 2011 (Nominated)


"The Human was extremely tall. On its head it had yellowish hair coiled like a rope. It had no hair on its face. And yet his grandmother had been very categorical about that. Humans have hair on their faces. It's called a beard. Its one of the many things that distinguish them from elves. The little elf concentrated, trying to remember, then it came to him.

"You must be a female man," he concluded triumphantly.

"The word is woman, fool," said the human.

"Oh, sorry, sorry, woman-fool, I be more careful, I call right name, woman-fool"...."

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