Eriga: a continent home to the dense, humid jungle and plant-choked swamps of Mouleen. All manner of species thrive in these uncharted tropics but few foreigners who enter ever return. In this place known as the Green Hell,  a draconian species known as swamp-wyrms live, and for these, Isabella will brave any hazard.

“‘But we know virtually nothing of what swamp-wyrms eat, or how they hunt, where they sleep, the differences between male and female, their mating habits…’ I ticked each item off on my fingers, and stopped when I ran out on that hand.”

page 175

Set three years after her perilous (and educational) trip through the mountains of Vystrana that was recounted in A Natural History of Dragons, the second volume of Lady Trent’s memoirs is as adventurous as the first.

Why is this on our bookshelf?

Without people with a dedicated scientific curiosity, the pursuit of knowledge would have stopped in the face of adversity.  Marie Brennan has created a character that epitomizes and pays tribute to those early naturalists.

You could almost forget this was a fantasy and that you were reading the tale of a pioneering woman naturalist who shattered gender roles in her pursuit of science.

But then, of course, there are the dragons.

Rating (5 stars)

Tropic of Serpents managed to avoid the pitfalls of a sequel and lives up to the first volume. Marie Brennan does a splendid job of letting her character grow and change naturally as time passes and events occur.

Once again, I was completely impressed by the depth of world building, which is almost more detailed in this volume. Continents, customs, and cultures are detailed so incredibly, it is hard to believe these places don’t exist.

To add to the depth of realism, Marie Brennan borrows from a diverse number of real places and cultures to create Lady Trent’s world while still injecting it with a great deal of imagination.

Tropic of Serpents is an exotic adventure in a fully-realized fantasy world, driven by one of the most entrancing and realistic characters ever read. Are we sure that Brennan didn’t just travel to this fantasy world somehow and bring us back this manuscript?

When I finished A Natural History of Dragons,  I was unhappy it was over. Lady Trent’s memoirs were obviously incomplete and I wanted a sequel.

Tropic of Serpents by no means brings us to the end, but neither does it end on a cliff-hanger. It stands as an exhilarating chapter in the history of Lady Trent’s life.