A Natural History of Dragons

Marie Brennan, Author
Marie Brennan. Tor, $25.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-7653-3196-0
Reviewed on: 12/17/2012
Release date: 02/05/2013
Compact Disc - 978-1-4272-5918-9
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-7653-7507-0
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4299-5631-4
Hardcover - 320 pages - 978-1-78329-239-4
Hardcover - 9 pages - 978-1-4712-7517-3
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Isabella, Lady Trent, is a naturalist and adventurer in a country that more or less resembles 19th-century England, yet fantastical creatures roam, Judaism appears to be the dominant religion, and Europe once had an ancient Egypt-like civilization. Isabella has been obsessed with studying dragons since childhood, but a formal scientific career is off limits to a woman. Instead she marries a man who shares her passion for natural history and convinces him to let her join his expedition to see the wild dragons of Vystrana. Along the way, Isabella solves a mystery and proves her worth as a naturalist. Brennan’s stand-alone novel (unrelated to her Onyx Court series), written as Isabella’s memoir of her youthful adventures, and beautifully illustrated by Todd Lockwood, is saturated with the joy and urgency of discovery and scientific curiosity. Isabella’s life is genuinely complicated by her scientific leanings, yet she perseveres with perfectly period-accurate spirit and awareness of the risks and costs. Brennan’s world-building is wonderfully subtle, rendering a familiar land alien with casual details. Fans of fantasy, science, and history will adore this rich and absorbing tale of discovery. Agent: Rachel Vater, Folio Literary Management. (Feb.)
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