With Voyage of the Basilisk, the third volume of her Memoirs of Lady Trent series, Marie Brennan takes us to new lands in search of new species of dragon. Isabella, several years widowed and the mother of a nine-year-old son, is a dragon naturalist and pioneering natural philosopher in a world similar to our own in the Victorian period, from a nation with resemblances to Victorian Britain: while (some) women are beginning to set themselves against the social and cultural forces that would prefer to confine them to hearth and home, the role of adventurous scientist is still one that only the most strong-minded of gentlewomen would ever take up.
No one could ever accuse Isabella Camherst of lacking determination. Her latest adventure takes her on a long voyage, even further from home than ever before, to eventually conduct research among volcanically active archipelagos that resemble our own 19th century Pacific and South East Asian island chains—down to the presence of competing colonial and local expansionist interests. Once again, Isabella’s scientific curiosity leads her into dangerous territory, on the slopes of an active volcano. And once again she finds herself playing an active part in politically significant events.