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The Tropic of Serpents: A Memoir by Lady…
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The Tropic of Serpents: A Memoir by Lady Trent (Natural History of Dragons) (edition 2014)

by Marie Brennan

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9295622,878 (3.98)125
"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, in which she lost her husband, the widowed Mrs. Camherst defies family and convention to embark on an expedition to the savage, 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"--… (more)
Member:silverarrowknits
Title:The Tropic of Serpents: A Memoir by Lady Trent (Natural History of Dragons)
Authors:Marie Brennan
Info:Tor Books (2014), Edition: 0, Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:reviews, sci-fi & fantasy

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The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan

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» See also 125 mentions

English (54)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (55)
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
There is a famous photograph, taken in 1921, which shows Gertrude Bell on a camel beneath the Great Sphinx of Giza. On one side of her, on his own camel, sits T.E. Lawrence; on the other, Winston Churchill.

It is this spirit of the pre-modern women explorer, challenging expected conventions and prejudices, that permeates the memoirs of Lady Trent. The main fault that you could find with it is that the attitudes of its protagonist are a bit too modern. Isabella Camherst may be constantly pushing and breaking the boundaries of what her own culture allows, but she is too good to be true in her respect for, and by and large acceptance of, the values of other cultures. It is a very 21st century mindset.

That said, her willingness to absorb does allow for a wonderful description of the other cultures she encounters. The author clearly had fun with the people of Eriga, very obviously inspired by Africa, and from her background as an anthropologist she is using the opportunity to teach us something. The discoveries of the intrepid adventurer are also discoveries for the reader, in a double-layered disguise.

Is to the plot of the story itself, it has a good mixture of stunning grandeur and down-to-earth everyday events, which lends its credibility, despite some plot twists that are bit unlikely. And if Isabella gets unwittingly and unwillingly dragged into politics, that has an air of veracity to it. ( )
  EmmanuelGustin | Feb 4, 2024 |
I started this a long time ago, but never finished. Now I tried again, and I actually rather enjoyed it. As the previous book, it had good characters and excellent female representation. It has an interesting vibe, because it treats dragons as just another species of animal that needs to be studied by biologists. I think it could be a little more engaging, though. The 'voice from the future' (it is told as a memoir that is written much later) makes it a bit distant. ( )
  zjakkelien | Jan 2, 2024 |
I love this book. The way Isabella goes trough life is inspiring and it feels so real. I already started in book 3. ( )
  weaver-of-dreams | Aug 1, 2023 |
If you are looking for fast paced action packed with excitement, (although there are some dangerous moments) this is not that book. But if you are looking for a tale you can walk away from feeling refreshed and satisfied, yes! Lady Isabella Trent is a great heoine and her story is wonderful. Natural History, politics, dragons, and maybe even love? What an interesting combination. The author wraps this all up in a well written package.

I say pick up this series, give it a try, and enjoy it as much as myself.
  juliais_bookluvr | Mar 9, 2023 |
I loved this book almost as much as the first one but found the memoir-from-another-world aspects frustrating when told by the narration to read more scholarly works by the (fictional) memoirist for more details on the dragons and biology and science stuff. Because I WANT to know all that but I can't read the scholarly works because they don't exist in our world. And it makes me sad. Hopefully the further volumes of the memoirs will expand on some of it more because I want to know all the things!!! ( )
  boredwillow | Mar 4, 2023 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Marie Brennanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Collins, GregDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davies, RhysMapsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lockwood, ToddCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lockwood, ToddIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reading, KateNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"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, in which she lost her husband, the widowed Mrs. Camherst defies family and convention to embark on an expedition to the savage, 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"--

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