cover image Voyage of the Basilisk

Voyage of the Basilisk

Marie Brennan. Tor, $25.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-7653-3198-4

Brennan’s third fictional memoir in the voice of controversial naturalist Lady Isabella Trent (after Tropic of Serpents), which describes a voyage designed to expand Isabella’s understanding of seagoing dragons, matches real-world Victorian scientific narratives almost too closely. Potential points of excitement, such as bribing officials, are given the same weight as making hotel arrangements, and Isabella’s true feelings for Tom (her expedition partner) and Suhail (an archaeologist) are veiled behind Victorian-era mores. The memoir finally humanizes Isabella after a storm shipwrecks her and Tom on Keonga, a thinly disguised Hawaii, and her emotions creep in, engaging the reader. Discoveries about the connections between dragons and humans mix with bone-punk technology, and revelations crash like waves in a satisfying conclusion. This is a good pick for lovers of Victorian fiction or those seeking a novel approach to dragons. Agent: Eddie Schneider, Jabberwocky Literary Agency. (Mar.)