The Tropic of Serpents: A Memoir by Lady Trent (A Natural History of Dragons Book 2) by Marie Brennan
Historical fantasy published by Tor on March 4, 2014
The thrilling adventure of Lady Trent continues in Marie Brennan’s Tropic of Serpents . . .
Attentive readers of Lady Trent’s earlier memoir, A Natural History of Dragons, are already familiar with how a bookish and determined young woman named Isabella first set out on the historic course that would one day lead her to becoming the world’s premier dragon naturalist. Now, in this remarkably candid second volume, Lady Trent looks back at the next stage of her illustrious (and occasionally scandalous) career.
Three years after her fateful journeys through the forbidding mountains of Vystrana, Mrs. Camherst defies family and convention to embark on an expedition to the war-torn continent of Eriga, home of such exotic draconian species as the grass-dwelling snakes of the savannah, arboreal tree snakes, and, most elusive of all, the legendary swamp-wyrms of the tropics.
The expedition is not an easy one. Accompanied by both an old associate and a runaway heiress, Isabella must brave oppressive heat, merciless fevers, palace intrigues, gossip, and other hazards in order to satisfy her boundless fascination with all things draconian, even if it means venturing deep into the forbidden jungle known as the Green Hell . . . where her courage, resourcefulness, and scientific curiosity will be tested as never before.
For August’s TBR challenge, I read book 2 in the Memoirs of Lady Trent series. I loved the first book, A Natural History of Dragons, and enjoyed The Tropic of Serpents. Isabella lives with locals to get close to dragons in the swamp. She’s exorcised of “evil energy” and learns secrets about swamp-wyrms, flies across dragon-infested waters, and is involved in political machinations. All great stuff and an exciting read.
In this alternate world where dragons are real with varieties all over the world, Isabella and crew venture to exotic tropical lands to study another species of dragon and try to confirm their findings from the first book. This involves dealing with local rulers and indigenous people and immersing themselves in swamp life. The secondary characters Natalie, Isabella’s companion facing an arranged marriage, and Mr. Wilker, a fellow researcher, are lovely, try to be calming influences on Isabella, and keep her grounded.
A nice follow up to A Natural History of Dragons. I’m also anxious to meet Lord Trent so bring on the next book (Voyage of the Basilisk)! One option was eliminated in this story so he’s still a big mystery to me! I am late to this series but that means all the books are out! I love books featuring adventurous heroines (Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody, Deanna Raybourn’s Veronica Speedwell) and this series fits the bill. These books are comforting reads for me—adventure but from the safety of my couch and lovely lady heroines featuring dry humor.
You can read an excerpt here, or buy a copy here.
*E.N.: Babs is currently vacationing abroad, so hat tip to her for getting her review done for the TBR Challenge! 😀