‘A Natural History of Dragons,’ by Marie Brennan

A Natural History of Dragons, by Marie BrennanArtwork by Todd Lockwood
A Natural History of Dragons, by Marie Brennan
Artwork by Todd Lockwood

Marie Brennan is a former academic with a background in archaeology, anthropology, and folklore, which she now puts to rather cockeyed use in writing fantasy. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to many short stories and novellas, she is also the author of A Star Shall Fall and With Fate Conspire (both from Tor Books), as well as Warrior, Witch, Midnight Never Come, In Ashes Lie, and Lies and Prophecy. You can find her online at SwanTower.com.

You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart—no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon’s presence, even for the briefest of moments—even at the risk of one’s life—is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten. . . .
All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day.

Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever.

Marie Brennan introduces an enchanting new world in A Natural History of Dragons.

‘A Natural History of Dragons’ brings the Victorian era to life with stunning details and such lifelike depictions that the reader will truly feel like they are on an expedition to study dragons. From the very beginning, when Isabella was just a child and fascinated with sparklings, the majesty and mystery of dragons shrouds every page. Though mystical, magical creatures to the reader, Ms Brennan brings them to startling life with each tiny detail revealed. The beautiful illustrations bring the entire world to life.

Zhagrit Mat, by Todd Lockwood
Zhagrit Mat, by Todd Lockwood


Isabella is no shrinking violet, and her rather madcap adventures grow from the natural curiosity of a child to mould her into the Darwin of dragons. Ms Brennan masterfully and evocatively tells this memoir-style tale of one girl’s love of dragons, and her willingness to sacrifice everything to study them.

Find ‘A Natural History of Dragons’ at these retailers:
Barnes & Noble

(Galley provided by Tor Books via NetGalley)

P.S.  I really enjoyed this book.  I’ve always loved Victorian-era fiction, if done well, and this one is done extremely well.  I could totally relate to Isabella searching for sparklings behind the house, since I used to always be on the lookout for different animals and plants when I was a child. If there had been tiny dragons around, well, my joy would have been boundless.  I had the pleasure of meeting Ms Brennan several years ago at Conestoga Writers Conference, and really enjoyed her thoughts on the different panels.  She was nice enough to answer questions from aspiring writers, and her kindness made a huge impression on me.  I’ve read most of her books (Witch, Warrior, Midnight Never Come, In Ashes Lie), and loved them all.  If you’re looking to read something a little different, I highly recommend them.

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