In the Labyrinth of Drakes: A Memoir by Lady Trent (A Natural History of Dragons)
In the Labyrinth of Drakes is Brennan’s fourth novel in the Lady Trent series. This time she and Tom are headed to Akhia, to head up the Scirling Royal Army’s efforts to breed desert drakes in captivity. Arriving brings her many surprises.
In Akhia, Isabella is reunited with Suhail, her archaeologist companion who had also travelled aboard the Basilisk. She learns he is the brother of the sheikh the Scirlings must deal with. This brother does not think highly of either Isabella, believing her a bad influence to Suhail, or of Suhail’s interest in the ancient Draconeans. With the help of the Aritat nomads, Isabella and Tom delve into desert drake behaviour and habitat, even going out into the desert itself to observe mating flights, clutch-laying, and hatchings. Amid all of this comes intrigue and sabotage that put Isabella and Tom in serious danger. Between poisonings, kidnapping, and assassination attempts, it is all they can do to stay safe as they carry out their task. Fighting to keep their project going, though the military considers it a failure, Isabella and Tom, along with Suhail, head into the deep desert, where they make several discoveries that will rock the scientific world on many levels. These discoveries win all three great acclaim, though not nearly so much as is truly warranted. Tom is knighted, when he should be raised to the peerage. Isabella is named Lady Trent, but still she is denied a place among the Colloquium.
I absolutely loved this book, and devoured it in a day’s reading. It flowed much better than Voyage of the Basilisk did, and did not have an abrupt ending. It is left open for more adventures from our trio and I cannot wait for the next one! As with the previous books, if you like things anthropological, or things dealing with naturalism, if historical fantasy tickles your palate, if adventurous accounts akin to The Lost City of Z arrest your attention, then look no further! Marie Brennan’s In the Labyrinth of Drakes can slake that thirst. Come, walk in a world where dragons dwell, and learn the secrets of the natural world.