The Tropic of Serpents (The Memoirs of Lady Trent #2)

By Marie Brennan

Rating: 4 stars

I enjoyed the second of Lady Trent’s memoirs as much as the first. This time, a few years after her first voyage, she is off to what seems to be her world’s Africa to study the dragons of that part of the world. Coming with her is her fellow naturalist Tom Wilker and her benefactor’s granddaughter, Natalie. As before, Isabella and her companions can’t help get caught up in local politics, when all they want to do is to study dragons.

I like that the not-quite-steampunk aesthetic doesn’t blind the book from tackling (to some degree, at least) the issues of colonisation of Africa by Britain (by analogue, at least, as Isabella’s Scirland isn’t exactly Britain and Beyembe isn’t Africa). But the book doesn’t shy away from the repercussions of Scirland’s political meddling in the affairs of the countries of Beyembe, despite being told by Lady Trent, a Scirland national.

I continue to enjoy the tone of voice of the books, both the voice of the Isabella of the time, and the older voice of the Lady Trent who is writing the memoir, and I’m impressed by Brennan’s ability to write two voices for the same character at different periods in her life. I enjoyed seeing the relationship between Isabella and Wilker develop and mature to a point where they’re comfortable with each other, and I have to say that I enjoyed the events that eventually cleared the air.

The last line has left me wanting to dive straight into The Voyage of the Basilisk, but I also don’t want to devour it, as the fourth book isn’t out until next year, and the fifth (and, I understand, the last) isn’t yet written. If I can pace myself, I should hopefully be able to read the last few in fairly quick succession (if!).

Book details

ISBN: 9781783292417
Publisher: Titan Books
Year of publication: 2014

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