Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Stops here 2/7
Welcome to The Bookish Babe's stop on An Natural History of Dragons Blog Tour! My stop includes an excerpt from the book, a Q & A with author Marie Brennan, and a giveaway!
I would like to note that all artwork is credited to Todd Lockwood.
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication Date: 2/5/13

You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart—no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon’s presence, even for the briefest of moments—even at the risk of one’s life—is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten. . . . All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day. Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever. Marie Brennan introduces an enchanting new world in A Natural History of Dragons.
Closing the book, I turned in my seat and reached over the back of the wagon-bench to stow it in a pack that would all too soon prove whether it was as waterproof as advertised or not.

            As I did so, a gust of shockingly cold air pulled at my sleeves, and ice stung my face. Wondering if we were in danger of hail, I looked up.

            I have little recollection of the next several seconds. Just a moment of frozen staring, and then -- with no transition -- my voice shrieking “Get down!” as I wrapped my arms around my husband and dragged him forward, off the wagon bench.

            Two other screams overlaid my own. One, high-pitched and awful, came from our driver as claws snagged him off the wagon and into the air. The other, lower but more terrible, came from above, as the dragon plummeted from the clouds and raked over our heads.

            Jacob and I landed in the wagon traces, the reins and harness tangling our limbs while the horses shied and whinnied their terror. Being on the outside, I tumbled free first, and cried out to see the wagon lurching forward, my husband still caught within. He fell a moment later, directly beneath the wagon, and the wheels passed close enough to leave a track across his coat.

            I crawled toward him, hearing shouts from all around us. Frantic glances skyward showed me nothing; the dragon had vanished again. From the slope ahead, though, came the agonized groans of our driver. Just as I reached Jacob, a loud noise cracked the air: a gunshot, as one of the other drivers fired off the rifle he carried against highwaymen or wild animals.

            Wild animals. I had not, until that moment, put dragons in that class. I had thought them something apart.

            “Stay down, Isabella,” Jacob said, shielding me with his own body. I crouched in his shadow, and realized quite irrelevantly that my bonnet had gone astray. The wind was very cold in my hair.

            A great flapping, as of sails: the dragon, though we could not see it. Looking under Jacob’s arm, I saw Lord Hilford put out a hand and stop his driver, who would have fired at the sound. With nothing to see, there was no point in wasting the shot.

            Then suddenly there was something to see. Several shots rang out, and I swallowed the protest that tried to leap free of me. This was no vulnerable runt in a menagerie. The dragon was huge, its wingspan far larger than a wagon, with stone-grey hide and wings that kicked up dust with every beat. The guns fired, and the beast made a dreadful noise, aborting its stoop on us and climbing rapidly for the sky. Clouds enveloped it once more, and we waited.
Credited to Todd Lockwood
 Purchase A Natural History of Dragons at:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Books a Million  |  Powells  |  Indiebound  |  Walmart Overstock

Q & A with Marie Brennan
Print or ebooks?
MB: If I get a tablet computer soon, I’ll probably start loading up e-books for when I travel, but apart from that, print. I like having shelves full of books, even if they take up a lot of room. And the archaeologist in me points out that physical books are much more durable than an electronic file . . . .
Television or Movies?
MB: Is there a reason I have to choose? I’m much pickier about TV than I am about movies, but I adore a good arc plot, which TV can do really well.
Comedy, Romance, or Drama?
MB: Individually, drama. But I like it best with both comedy and romance mixed in.
Leading Men: Broody or Funny?
MB:  See above; it’s best when they’re both! But I’m a sucker for a good bit of brooding, provided it doesn’t translate into the guy being a jerk (which is a common failure mode).
Music: Radio or Playlist?
MB:  I almost never listen to the radio, except when my husband’s driving the car. So playlist, all the way.
Coffee or Tea?
MB:  Hot chocolate!
Milk Chocolate or Dark?
MB:  Mmmmmm, dark. Especially Burdick’s dark hot chocolate. It’s amazing stuff.
Favorite Holiday?
MB:  Christmas. My family has a lot of personal traditions around it, which just make me feel all warm and fuzzy.
Are you an Early Bird or a Night Owl?
MB:  I am, perversely, a solar-powered night owl. I need sunlight to function, but I work best late at night.

**Thanks to Marie for taking the time to answer my questions**
About the author:
Marie BrennanMarie Brennan is a former academic with a background in archaeology, anthropology, and folklore, which she now puts to rather cockeyed use in writing fantasy. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to many short stories and novellas, she is also the author of A Star Shall Fall and With Fate Conspire (both from Tor Books), as well as Warrior, Witch, Midnight Never Come, In Ashes Lie, and Lies and Prophecy. You can find her online at

GoodReads  |  Twitter


I have one copy of A Natural History of Dragons to give a lucky winner.
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  1. Wow, this book looks so interesting! Great excerpt and the cover is pretty awesome too. Thanks for the giveaway :)

  2. Oh I do love me some dragons! Loved the excerpt. Thanks for sharing!

  3. You know how I feel about dragons. However, I'm thinking these are the shape-shifting kinky dragons that I like. LOL Looks good for fantasy fans though!

  4. this sounds fantastic! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Oh wow the artwork for this book is absolutely gorgeous Andrea! I recently devoured Seraphina, so I definitely think I need another dragon book soon! Thanks for putting this on my radar! :)

  6. I absolutely love dragons and I think the selections for this blog entry are killer! Thanks!

  7. Wow, this book looks so interesting! Great excerpt and the cover is pretty awesome too. Thanks for the giveaway :)

  8. oh ma gosh amazing artwork. thanks for sharing.

  9. Sounds brilliant, definitely going on my TBR!

  10. Wow that artwork is breathtaking!! Dragons are pretty cool, so I might like this. Thanks for sharing this awesome post.

  11. I love the dragons. Cool artwork :) and really like the sounds of the excerpt. Thanks and will be adding to my TBR pile.
    lorih824 at yahoo dot com

  12. Love the artwork!! Dragons are one of my favs!!

  13. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  14. What an interesting concept! I love the cover art, and Isabella looks like an interesting character.

  15. I love dragons and A Natural History of Dragons sounds so interesting. I love all the drawings, and I'm looking forward to reading this book.

  16. Thanks for the giveaway! The first thing I thought of when I saw this giveaway was "Game of Thrones" and that blonde girl's dragons!

  17. This book looks so gorgeous.

    Thanks for the chance to win.

  18. I like dragons! They are really interesting creatures. Thanks for sharing the excerpt! :]

    ~ Maida
    Literary Love Affair 

  19. Okay, I HAVE to have this book! I LOVE dragons and I love dragon illustrations. This is a must-have for my shelf so thank you for the giveaway!

    I also agree about the books. I MUCH prefer real paper copies and yes, they preserve much better for the way future generations. :)

  20. Those drawings are so beautiful! I already have a copy of the book so I'm not entering the contest, but how awesome that you're giving one away. Looking forward to reading this.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  21. I've wanted this book ever since it was announced.

  22. This looks great- especially those amazing drawings!

  23. I'm so excited about this book! It would be nice to have a hard copy, because the art is so lovely.

  24. Wow, this art looks amazing. I love the blurb :)

  25. The artwork is really amazing - drew me right in :).

  26. I love dragons and the artwork for this book looks amazing!


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