Publisher: Tor Books
Source: From publisher for review
The thrilling adventure of Lady Trent continues in Marie Brennan's The 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.My thoughts:
I reviewed the first book, A Natural History of Dragons and was surprised at the story within. I totally admit I was drawn to that first volume primarily because of the illustrations in the book. This book also has illustrations from the same artist, Todd Lockwood. Even though they are fewer in number, they are no less spectacular in this volume as well.
In this story again the fascination is with dragons and how to properly study them. The preservation of dragon bone is not only of scientific importance but one that may decimate the dragon population. This was discussed a lot within the group, but still they went ahead with the expedition and preservation. I was curious as to why it wasn't abandoned (other than scientific curiosity) because none of them wanted the dragons to become extinct. Still, this reason did give their group background and financial backing to go in search of dragons and learn more about them.
The story also has a decidedly fantasy flair to it and some people might be a bit confused as to where these things are in the world. If you realize that her world isn't ours and that the names to the countries and groups of people don't belong us... you sort of get used to who is who and where things are in relation to another. In a way, learning a new language set in this world. It does not take long to get used to things. It does seem somewhat familiar, however, since there are similarities to those in Victorian times and sensibilities.
I give this book 4 stars. It's a interesting venture into lands unknown and learning about dragons as if they were real. I really enjoyed her adventure, but didn't really enjoy the political aspects to the story at the beginning. However, that aspect grew on me and I think the political parts help to make parts of her adventure make sense and why she was accepted into various cultures. It also gave a great background to the ending. You also could read this book as a standalone, but I would suggest you get the first volume to find out where her fascination started as well as the great illustrations in the first book.
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