cover image The Tropic of Serpents: A Memoir by Lady Trent

The Tropic of Serpents: A Memoir by Lady Trent

Marie Brennan. Tor, $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7653-3197-7

Brennan’s sequel to A Natural History of Dragons is more of the same–a literate account of a woman’s fieldwork on dragons, which in this imagined 19th-century world are natural creatures. Isabella, Lady Trent, has even determined the six criteria for classifying an animal as a dragon, which include “wings capable of flight,” “a ruff or fan behind the skull,” and “extraordinary breath.” Lady Trent makes for an intrepid and pleasingly independent protagonist, mastering challenges both emotional and physical. Apart from the existence of the incredible beasts (there are multiple species, such as swamp-wyrms and savannah snakes), the differences from our own world are almost too subtle. Brennan suggests that Judaism is the dominant religion, but there’s not much reason to believe that the narrative would have unfolded much differently in our own Victorian England, rather than Lady Trent’s homeland of Scirland. Agent: Eddie Schneider, J.A. Bberwocky Literary Agency. (Mar.)