Brennan, Marie. (2015). Voyage of the Basilisk: A Memoir of Lady Trent (A Natural History of Dragons). Tor Books; New York.
During one lovely evening at my local library, my eye was captured by a brilliantly-designed book cover out under the ‘new releases’ section.
I read through the plot description for the novel before checking it out. Sometimes I run into books with flashy wrappers containing no solid filling inside – this didn’t seem like that kind of story, so I left the library with it tucked under my arm.
As I learned later, the cover art is done by the well-known Dungeons and Dragons artist, Todd Lockwood, who has also been working on a novel of his own to be published in May of 2016.
The memoir of Lady Trent itself is a very engaging tale of sea serpents, fallen civilizations, and international travel by ship. The language and tone took me back to the tales that I grew up reading by Victoria Holt (aka. Eleanor Hibbert, prolific author of gothic romances). In this series of fantasy novels, Isabella Trent brings a strong and independent female protagonist to the pages of a fast-paced story which carries undercurrents of academic thinking. It is set in an alternate Victorian era, with concepts both familiar and new to the reader with a historic frame of mind.
The majority of the plot for this tale takes place on the Royal Survey Ship Basilisk. When Isabella isn’t watching, analyzing, and reporting on dragons to her funders back home, she’s learning a few new things about her son’s blossoming interests in the sea and dodging her crush on a man whose passion lies in archaeology.
I was a occasionally dismayed by the book’s tendency to refer to future or past events on a consistent basis. However, I have since learned that it is part of a series of novels about the adventures of Lady Trent. So, of course, the self-referencing is an essential part of the ongoing story line.
Marie Brennan is an excellent author who will keep your mind active, and your eyes searching the skies for dragons, throughout the entire novel! A must-read for this summer!