For those who weren’t at FOGcon . . .

. . . or those who didn’t hear me announce it there:

I have a new book deal.

Three books for certain; the series may run as long as five; title of either the first book or the entire series — haven’t decided yet which one — is A Natural History of Dragons. They are the memoirs of Isabella Trent, Scirland’s foremost lady adventurer and dragon naturalist, and cover her illustrious career traveling the world to study dragons (and getting into large amounts of trouble along the way).

As you might guess from the “Scirland” bit, this is a secondary-world fantasy, albeit one based on the real-world nineteenth century. Hallelujah, I get to make stuff up. There will still be research, of course — there is always research — but it will be of a more compost-y sort; I’ll read stuff, get the flavor in my head, and then make up something in an appropriate vein. You have no idea how much I’m looking forward to that part.

I came up with the idea for this series just before the first round of Novel in 90, several years ago, and it should tell you something that I wrote about thirty thousand words of it in a rather short space of time, before stalling out on account of not having figured out my metaplot. In the interim, I’ve made progress on that problem, and am very eager to get back to the story. The narrative voice is just a delight to play with. In celebration of the deal, here’s an excerpt, from the foreword to the first volume of Isabella’s memoirs:

Not a day goes by that the post does not bring me at least one letter from a young person (or sometimes one not so young) who wishes to follow in my footsteps and become a dragon naturalist. Nowadays, of course, the field is quite respectable, with university courses and intellectual societies putting out fat volumes titled Proceedings of some meeting or other. Those interested in respectable things, however, attend my lectures. The ones who write to me invariably want to hear about my adventures: my escape from captivity in the swamps of Mouleen, or my role in the great Battle of Keonga, or (most frequently) my flight to the inhospitable heights of the Mrtyahaima peaks, the only place on earth where the secrets of the ancient world could be unlocked.

Even the most dedicated of letter-writers could not hope to answer all these queries personally. I have therefore accepted the offer from Messrs. Carrigdon & Rudge to publish a series of memoirs, chronicling the more interesting portions of my life. By and large these shall focus on those expeditions which led to the discovery for which I have become so famous, but there shall also be occasional digressions into matters more entertaining, personal, or even (yes) salacious. One benefit of being an old woman now, and moreover one who has been called a “national treasure,” is that there are very few who can tell me what I may and may not write.

Beyond this point, therefore, lie foetid swamps, society gossip, disfiguring diseases, familial conflicts, hostile foreigners, and a plenitude of mud. You, dear reader, continue on 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. If my humble words convey even a fraction of that wonder, I will rest content.

Expect much babbling over the next few months about Darwin and Stanley and Isabella Bird, who actually wasn’t the source of my protagonist’s name, but it’s a nice coincidence nonetheless.

0 Responses to “For those who weren’t at FOGcon . . .”

  1. la_marquise_de_

    That’s wonderful: many congratulations.

  2. mastadge

    Congratulations. Sounds fantastic!

  3. mrissa

    Great! Glad to hear it!

  4. ninja_turbo

    That’s F#@*ing awesome! Congrats. 🙂

  5. esotaria

    Congratulations! That sounds like so much fun

  6. stephanieburgis

    Oh, wow. These books sound FABULOUS! I cannot wait to read them. 🙂

  7. beccastareyes

    Oh, wow. Congrats. Can’t wait to read it, since I have a fondness for otherworldly science and scientists.

  8. icedrake

    I was not at FOGCon, so I feel entirely justified in doing this:


    Consider this an official “buy you a drink” ticket for WFC2011.

  9. owldaughter

    Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah!

  10. akashiver

    Hurray! I’m looking forward to reading these.

  11. sartorias

    Huzzah! This sounds wonderful!

  12. findabair

    That sounds awesome – congratulations!! 😀

  13. ckastens

    Excellent news! Congrats!

    Same publisher?

  14. artemisgrey

    Congrats and Hurry up already! *ducks to avoid whatever objects happen to be handy for throwing*

    Can’t wait to see the final result. LOVE the voice. When I am old (assuming that I don’t find some unusual way of bumping off before I manage to get old) I want to sound like that when I talk 😀

    • Marie Brennan

      Yeah, it’s got this really fun crossover going on — she has the old-woman thing of “I don’t care what you think of me” talking about the young-woman thing of “I didn’t really think it through.”

      • artemisgrey

        The scary thing is that I can look back just from my age now to some of the stuff I did as a kid (mostly horse/stage combat related) and it’s exactly the same kind of ‘in retrospect, it was totally unthought-out and yes we could have died, okay maybe people HAVE died doing it, but we didn’t so whatever, now let me get back to the story’

  15. aliettedb

    Oh, this sounds awesome! Many congratulations!

  16. diatryma

    Oh, cool! I already talk about you a fair amount (you do awesome gaming, you do awesome research, you do awesome books) and here is an entirely new way to bring you up: AWESOME DRAGON NATURAL HISTORY.

    Congratulations on getting to make things up!

  17. stakebait

    Mazel tov!

    Appropos of nothing, I woke up the other morning thinking I had forgotten to mention Sayers’ Lord Peter and Harriet Vane in your couples-that-do-things thread, and that much of Lee and Miller’s Liaden universe might do as well.

  18. alecaustin

    Congratulations again! (And best of luck on the other thing you mentioned as being in train.)

  19. Anonymous

    wait!! what are the details of the deal? who bought it, and where? when do you have to deliver? (sorry to be the voice of publishing. i checked pub marketplace and didn’t see it. tellll.)

  20. genarti

    Oh, excellent! Congratulations!

  21. pameladean

    Congratulations! I want to read it NOW.


  22. cofax7

    I was at Fogcon, but I only caught a couple of panels (none of which you were on), so I didn’t hear this.

    Congratulations! Sounds like they will be great fun.

  23. ailaes


    …sounds interesting and anticipate updates and books with a giddy squee.

    (I also just realized I never answered your question about A Star Shall Fall and will get to it when I need a break from paperwork later on today.)

  24. shui_long

    Congratulations on the book deal. And it sounds as if Isabella has an appropriately respectful attitude to dragons…

  25. rachelmanija

    Congratulations! Those sound really fun.

  26. hawkwing_lb


    This sounds brilliantly fascinating.

  27. starlady38

    Congratulations again! These ones sound so fun.

  28. janni


  29. novalis

    Yes, I will totally read that novel.

    • Anonymous

      Long-time lurker, first time poster.

      Congratulations! That is great news. Looking forward to reading the first book.

      I really enjoy your Onyx Court Novels. Will you continue to write those books as well?

      • Marie Brennan

        I’m taking a break from the Onyx Court; after four years and four books, I can tell I need a breather, and With Fate Conspire makes a good stopping point. If the series does well, though, I may come back in a couple of years and do a Blitz-era novel, and maybe one in the modern day.

        • teleidoplex

          Whereby “may” you better mean “will”. Otherwise, I will sit on you until you write me a short story with Cerenel in an RAF uniform 😛

          Team!Cerenel Founder and President-for-Life!

          (Also, grats on the deal!)

  30. Marie Brennan

    Dear Universe,

    Please arrange for Hollywood to option this series so Helen Mirren can play old!Isabella. I will love you forever.

    Hugs and kisses,

  31. green_knight

    This sounds utterly blissful and I am very much looking forward to reading it, and exceedingly happy that books like this are being written right now.

  32. pingback_bot

    The Other Side of Writing

    User referenced to your post from The Other Side of Writing saying: […] comes the announcement of her new series of high fantasies for adults, A Natural History of Dragons […]

  33. moonartemis76

    Soooo excited about this idea since you started talking about it back when and Very Excited that I will get to read it

  34. stevie_carroll

    That sounds like a wonderful series.


  35. snickelish

    Yay! This sounds like a terribly fun premise. Congratulations!

  36. cassiealexander

    oh sweet sweet sweet! Congrats!!!

  37. faerie_writer

    Yay! Congratulations!! 😀

Comments are closed.