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Books to Keep You Cozy and (Most Importantly) Inside

by Merlin Hoye

In winter, the TBR is all about vibes (*gestures vaguely with hands*). What is the perfect recipe for a book that will keep you sitting for hours on end in a collapsing armchair covered by a thick blanket (steaming mug of hot chocolate and wood burning fire optional) feeling completely content and cozy? The world may never know. But what we do know is that there is an ineffable quality that some books just have that make them perfect winter reads. Here are some of titles that just have it, that special, winter-y something


a natural history of dragons by marie brennanA Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

Set in a world based on Victorian England, this is the story of Lady Trent, a dragon naturalist struggling to make it in a man’s industry. She’s smart, plucky, and completely obsessed with dragons. Relatable. The illustrations in this series made me feel like a kid again and the whole thing is just so utterly charming that you won’t want to leave Brennan’s world. Luckily, there are plenty more books in the Lady Trent series to keep you occupied on those cold, wintery nights when you just want to read about dragons. And let’s be real – that’s most nights. 


the wolfe at the door by gene wolfeThe Wolfe at the Door by Gene Wolfe

Perhaps it has something to do with the tradition of telling ghost stories during yuletide but I’ve always associated short story collections with winter. Maybe it’s more to do with attention spans shortening along with the days in the winter months, but either way, Wolfe at the Door is the perfect compendium to curl up with for hours or dip in and out of as the desire takes you. Wolfe is one of the most important sci-fi and fantasy writers of our time and this collection has it all – creepy dolls, undead lovers, circus tales, and chilling space horror. The choice is yours.


the library of the dead by tl huchuThe Library of the Dead by T.L. Huchu

Ropa can speak to the dead and she uses this skill to her advantage by carrying messages from them to the living. For a fee of course. When a ghost refuses to cooperate, Ropa gets more than she bargained for. Part gothic mystery, part urban fantasy, The Library of the Dead is the perfect, atmospheric read for a cozy night in.  Huchu conjures the eerie streets of this alternate, crime-torn Edinburgh immaculately and that mysterious library… who can resist a mysterious library?


The Two Doctors Górski by isaac fellmanThe Two Doctors Górski by Isaac Fellman

This is bite-sized dark academia that I gobbled up in a sitting, but don’t be fooled by its slim size – there’s nothing small about the subject matter. The Two Doctors Górski  deals with abuse, mental illness, and sexism in academia, set against the backdrop of one of the coolest magical school settings I’ve ever read. This story of a beautiful, young grad student trying to earn her degree in magical psychology is full of cozy winter vibes and sharp insight on the world of academia. Plus magic. Of course there’s plenty of magic.


from the forest by l.e. modesitt, jr.From the Forest by L. E. Modesitt Jr.

If anything screams winter to me, it’s a big chunky fantasy series and with twenty-three installments, the Saga of Recluce is one of the biggest. If you’ve been wanting to dive into this best-selling, epic fantasy series for a while but didn’t know where to start, From the Forest (releasing 1.23.24) is an excellent entrypoint, telling the story of Alayiakal, a figure found elsewhere in the series as a figure of legend. This is the tale of a man who will be remembered by history, but will history tell a flattering tale? Depends who you ask. 


Mordew by Alex PhebyMordew by Alex Pheby

If Dickens wrote a delightfully weird fantasy novel about talking dogs and a young boy with magical powers he is forced to hide, you would get something like Mordew. When the Master of Mordew refuses to train Nathan Treeves in magic, he joins up with a group of young thieves and struggles to keep his growing powers in check. This story is full of talking dogs, waifs, mud, mystery, and magic. The dark atmosphere is perfect for winter and the sequel, Malarkoi, is the same delicious blend of the gothic and weird. 


Flint & Mirror by John CrowleyFlint & Mirror by John Crowley

Historical fantasy always feels profoundly wintery to me and this dark novel set in Elizabethan England has the perfect cozy vibes for a winter night. This is the story of Hugh O’Neill, a man perpetually estranged both from his childhood home of Ireland and his life as a courtier. The magic is subtle and eerie in this one, the world of faerie always just out of reach though you catch glimpses out of the corner of your eye. Gorgeously written and full of rebellion, folklore, and magic, Flint & Mirror is all you need for the perfect winter night in.  

 

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Frighteningly Good eBook Deals of October 2023

Hey! We’ve got eBook deals for days! (Exactly 31 days, in fact. Check out our October lineup.)


a natural history of dragons by marie brennanA Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan — $3.99

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.

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Necroscope: Invadersnecroscope: invaders by brian lumley by Brian Lumley — $3.99

Three great vampires—two Lords and a Lady—arrive on an unsuspecting Earth that teems with defenseless humans, easy prey for the marauding vampires. But humanity has defenders. Though the necroscope is gone, the psychically gifted men and women of E-Branch move swiftly against the vampire infestation. Jake Cutter is running for his life through the streets of Turin when he vanishes, appearing moments later inside the triply locked “Harry’s room” in E-Branch’s London HQ. Jake’s dreams are very strange, filled with the voices of the dead–the Great majority, the Necroscope, Harry Keogh, even a dead vampire. He hears them all, but he doesn’t truly understand. If Jake is the new Necroscope, he has to learn—fast!—how to control his powers and speak to the dead. E-Branch, with the reluctant Jake along for the ride, is about to go head-to-head with Malinari the Mind, a vampire Lord who psychic abilities are second to none.

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The First Days: As the World Diesthe first days by rhiannon frater by Rhiannon Frater — $3.99

The morning that the world ends, Katie is getting ready for court and housewife Jenni is taking care of her family. Less than two hours later, they are fleeing for their lives from a zombie horde. Thrown together by circumstance, Jenni and Katie become a powerful zombie-killing partnership, mowing down zombies as they rescue Jenni’s stepson, Jason, from an infected campground. They find sanctuary in a tiny, roughly fortified Texas town. There Jenni and Katie find they are both attracted to Travis, leader of the survivors; and the refugees must slaughter people they know, who have returned in zombie form.

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Dreamer of Dunedreamer of dune by frank herbert by Frank Herbert — $2.99

Brian Herbert, Frank Herbert’s eldest son, tells the provocative story of his father’s extraordinary life in this honest and loving chronicle. He has also brought to light all the events in Herbert’s life that would find their way into speculative fiction’s greatest epic. From his early years in Tacoma, Washington, and his education at the University of Washington, Seattle, and in the Navy, through the years of trying his hand as a TV cameraman, radio commentator, reporter, and editor of several West Coast newspaper, to the difficult years of poverty while struggling to become a published writer, Herbert worked long and hard before finding success after the publication of Dune in 1965. Brian Herbert writes about these years with a truthful intensity that brings every facet of his father’s brilliant, and sometimes troubled, genius to full light.

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Our Five Favorite Comfort Fantasies Reads

By Kaleb Russell

We love a good sprawling fantasy epic as much as the next person–those stories are loads of fun, and bring intensity, drama, and Big Feelings to our hearts. BUT, some days it’s nice to crack open a book that makes you feel as though you’ve been wrapped in the warmest blanket, one to turn to for pure, wholesome escapism when the weight of the world weighs heavy on your shoulders. Here are 5 fantasy books to seek out for a warm reprieve.


Image Place holder  of - 72Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree

A famed war hero does the unthinkable after decades of raising hell on the battlefield: opens the first and only cafe in the great city of Thune. Legends And Lattes is a special kind of epic fantasy novel. This is a fantasy novel about what happens after all that cataclysmic business is done and over with. A heartening read about pursuing your dreams and finding a new way to be…maybe a new way to love, too.

Placeholder of  -72A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske

Two men from opposite worlds must set aside their differences to uncover a magical conspiracy in an alternate version of Edwardian England. A fascinating blend of Red White & Royal Blue and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, fans of “enemies-to-lovers” will surely enjoy this quiet, tender romance.

Place holder  of - 51Weave A Circle Round by Kari Maaren

A fantastical romp for the ages! Come check out the book publishers weekly regards as “offensible Odyssey through the past and future”. Read about the mind-bending journey of a tired high school girl and her pair of wacky neighbours as they travel through space and time.

Poster Placeholder of - 22A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

Follow Lady Trent as she recounts her journey to becoming a peerless accredited dragon naturalist in this book written in the style of a memoir. Part travelogue, part romance, part cozy mystery. This book has it all, along with some gorgeous illustrations of dragons.

Image Placeholder of - 82The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

Linus Baker is a Case Worker for the Department In Charge Of Magical Youth, responsible for inspecting government sanctioned orphanages for magical children to ensure the children’s “safety” and that they don’t enter the eyes of the general public. One day, he’s given an assignment by Extremely Upper Management to observe six children who may or may not bring about the end of the world–one of which just so happens to be the Antichrist– as well as their charismatic caretaker, Arthur Parnassus, who will do whatever it takes to keep his children safe. The House In The Cerulean Sea is well regarded by many as a relentless delight sure to brighten any reader’s day. Featuring a tender romance between two caring men from two different worlds, this is a heartwarming story about finding love and family in the midst of hard times and insidious Injustice.

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The Great Debate: Is Godzilla a Dragon? And What Traits Make a Dragon a Dragon?

Welcome to Dragon Week 2020, a celebration of all things Dragon! 

During last year’s inaugural Dragon Week, we sparked a grand debate by dying on the hill that Godzilla is a Dragon. We’ll be staying on that hill, but we asked some of our authors—IS Godzilla a Dragon? And what traits really make a Dragon a Dragon? Check out their answers here!


Poster Placeholder of - 26Brian Naslund, author of Sorcery of a Queen 

Is Godzilla a Dragon?

My initial instinct was to say no, figuring that aquatic beasts who symbolize nuclear proliferation (and other human vices) really belong in their own category of creature, given all the layers at work. But there are no easy answers here. Ultimately, if Godzilla feels like a dragon, then Godzilla’s a dragon in my book.

What makes a Dragon a Dragon?

I’ve been following the “what makes a dragon?” debate with great interest for the last year. While I was originally tempted to adhere to a more stringent definition of a dragon, I’ve ultimately come to believe that being a dragon isn’t about scales, anatomy, or size. It’s about the level of “dragon-ness” that resides in your heart, on either a permanent or temporary basis.

I, for one, believe that we all have the capacity to be dragons at some point in our lives. I often start each day in the form of a Morning Dragon (i.e. filled with wrath, hunger, and a burning desire to consume both coffee and the bones of my enemies).

Placeholder of  -96Marie Brennan, author of A Natural History of Dragons

Is Godzilla a Dragon?

Excellent question! I feel like he’s not a very *good* dragon — the proportions of his body and his bipedal posture just don’t ring right for me — but reptilian, breathes something dangerous, sure, I can see it if I squint.

What makes a Dragon a Dragon?

I think a generally serpentine body shape is the key starting point for me, and scales more often than not. I like dragons with wings, but obviously not all things we class as dragons have those. And they need to be extraordinary in some fashion; they need to be able to do something ordinary, non-draconic creatures can’t.

Image Placeholder of - 64Ryan Van Loan, author of The Sin in the Steel

Is Godzilla a Dragon? And what makes a Dragon a Dragon?

Godzilla isn’t a dragon (although I love Godzilla movies! Especially the ones where Godzilla is awoken/discovered and bad things happen). Dragons have wings (vestigial or practical), scales that are not easily penetrable, are capable of producing some sort of stream that is bad news for any who come in contact with it (e.g., fire, ice, poison), and often, but not always are given to hoarding. Essentially, dragons have more in common with avian species while Godzilla to my mind is more reptilian?

Image Place holder  of - 16Kevin J. Anderson, author of Spine of the Dragon

Is Godzilla a Dragon?

The original instigator of the Godzilla argument, Kevin J. Anderson, wrote us a WHOLE ARTICLE arguing about what makes a Dragon a Dragon, and he stands by his stance that Godzilla makes the cut. Check out his Dragon Week 2020 article here, and his deadliest dragons piece from last year here!

Place holder  of - 15Jenn Lyons, author of The Ruin of Kings

Oh. ITSTHISAGAIN.

Really, we’re doing this? Is Godzilla a dragon?

Okay, fine. We’re doing this.

But first, we need to talk about definitions, because like many things, the answer is ‘no.’

And also ‘yes.’

Let me explain:

From a taxonomy perspective, wherein a dragon has a very distinct set of qualities depending on the cultural origins of the mythologies involved, at best his qualifications are deeply suspect. He has no wings. He isn’t serpent-like. He isn’t associated with rivers or lakes. He hoards nothing. (Of all of these, the ‘isn’t serpent-like’ is probably the most damning.) Can the argument be made that he’s reptilian? Sure. Is that enough to qualify him for dragon status?

In my opinion, no.

But that isn’t the only definition of dragon, is it? The problem with definitions come into play when we consider the social, cultural, and mythological reasons why dragons exist. In most of the west, dragons are typically forces of evil, the worst elements of human nature made flesh, the embodiment of our sins. And by many eastern traditions, dragons aren’t evil at all, but rather forces of nature, outside of human control. Dragons make the world a little easier to understand, even if it’s just condensing the world’s anxieties and fears into a more relatable, approachable avatar.

So. What if the ‘sin’ of humanity and the force of nature outside of our ability to control is, in both cases, the splitting of the atom?

Then he very much meets the definition of dragon, doesn’t he? Because from that definition, what he looks like, what form he takes, doesn’t actually matter. What’s important is that he’s a chimeric avatar of our hubris, a stark rebuttal to our beliefs that we can or have any right to meddle with these forces. If we want to play god, we must be prepared to create our own devils. And yet, any defeat of Godzilla is temporary. Slaying this dragon never works, because he is outside of our ability to control. We can only pacify and mitigate or, in later stories, entreat for help.

So there you have it. My definitive answer on whether or not Godzilla is a dragon: kindasortamaybe. From a certain point of view.

One thing that cannot be debated? Much like most more traditional dragons, nobody wants him (or her, depending on your Godzilla movie preferences) visiting their town.

Hope that helps and GO GO GODZILLA.

Unconquerable-SunKate Elliott, author of Unconquerable Sun

Is Godzilla a Dragon? 

Godzilla is a kaiju. So my answer would be to ask if a dragon is a kaiju.

 

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$2.99 eBook Sale: July 2020

$2.99 eBook Sale: July 2020

The holiday weekend is almost here and we have some great books for you to add to your digital TBR pile! Check out all the books you can snag the ENTIRE month of July for only $2.99 here:


Image Placeholder of - 88Blood of an Exile by Brian Naslund

Bershad stands apart from the world, the most legendary dragonslayer in history, both revered and reviled. Once, he was Lord Silas Bershad, but after a disastrous failure on the battlefield he was stripped of his titles and sentenced to one violent, perilous hunt after another. Now he lives only to stalk dragons, slaughter them, collect their precious oil, and head back into the treacherous wilds once more. For years, death was his only chance to escape. But that is about to change.

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Placeholder of  -24A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

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.

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Place holder  of - 37The Bard’s Blade by Brian D. Anderson

Mariyah enjoys a simple life in Vylari, a land magically sealed off from the outside world, where fear and hatred are all but unknown. There she’s a renowned wine maker and her betrothed, Lem, is a musician of rare talent. Their destiny has never been in question. Whatever life brings, they will face it together. Then a stranger crosses the wards into Vylari for the first time in centuries, bringing a dark prophecy that forces Lem and Mariyah down separate paths. How far will they have to go to stop a rising darkness and save their home? And how much of themselves will they have to give up along the way?

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Poster Placeholder of - 31An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors by Curtis Craddock

Born with a physical disability, no magical talent, and a precocious intellect, Princess Isabelle des Zephyrs has lived her life being underestimated by her family and her kingdom. The only person who appreciates her true self is Jean-Claude, the fatherly musketeer who had guarded her since birth. All shall change, however, when an unlikely marriage proposal is offered, to the second son of a dying king in an empire collapsing into civil war.

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Image Place holder  of - 14Powersat by Ben Bova

Two hundred thousand feet up, things go horribly wrong. An experimental low-orbit spaceplane breaks up on reentry, falling to earth over a trail hundreds of miles long. And it its wake is the beginning of the most important mission in the history of space. A sweeping mix of space, murder, romance, politics, secrets, and betrayal, Powersat will take you to the edge of space and the dawning of a new world.

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$2.99 eBook Sale: February 2020

It’s the start of a new month and that means—SALES!!! Check out what Tor eBooks you can grab for $2.99 throughout the entire month of February below:

Place holder  of - 25Last Song Before Night by Ilana C. Myer

Just in time! Last Song Before Night is now on sale for $2.99 so you can get started on The Harp and Ring Sequence series before The Poet King hits shelves on 03/24.

Her name was Kimbralin Amaristoth: sister to a cruel brother, daughter of a hateful family. But that name she has forsworn, and now she is simply Lin, a musician and lyricist of uncommon ability in a land where women are forbidden to answer such callings-a fugitive who must conceal her identity or risk imprisonment and even death.

On the eve of a great festival, Lin learns that an ancient scourge has returned to the land of Eivar, a pandemic both deadly and unnatural. Its resurgence brings with it the memory of an apocalypse that transformed half a continent. Long ago, magic was everywhere, rising from artistic expression-from song, from verse, from stories. But in Eivar, where poets once wove enchantments from their words and harps, the power was lost. Forbidden experiments in blood divination unleashed the plague that is remembered as the Red Death, killing thousands before it was stopped, and Eivar’s connection to the Otherworld from which all enchantment flowed, broken.

The Red Death’s return can mean only one thing: someone is spilling innocent blood in order to master dark magic. Now poets who thought only to gain fame for their songs face a challenge much greater: galvanized by Valanir Ocune, greatest Seer of the age, Lin and several others set out to reclaim their legacy and reopen the way to the Otherworld-a quest that will test their deepest desires, imperil their lives, and decide the future.

Order Your Copy

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Image Placeholder of - 57Starship Repo by Patrick S. Tomlinson

Firstname Lastname is a no one with nowhere to go. With a name that is the result of an unfortunate clerical error and destined to be one of the only humans on an alien space station. That is until she sneaks aboard a ship and joins up with a crew of repomen (they are definitely not pirates).

Now she’s traveling the galaxy “recovering” ships. What could go wrong?

Order Your Copy

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Image Place holder  of - 99Turning Darkness Into Light by Marie Brennan

Marie Brennan’s Turning Darkness Into Light is a delightful fantasy of manners, the heir to the award-winning Natural History of Dragons series, a perfect stepping stone into an alternate Victorianesque fantasy landscape.

As the renowned granddaughter of Isabella Camherst (Lady Trent, of the riveting and daring Draconic adventure memoirs) Audrey Camherst has always known she, too, would want to make her scholarly mark upon a chosen field of study.

When Lord Gleinheigh recruits Audrey to decipher a series of ancient tablets holding the secrets of the ancient Draconean civilization, she has no idea that her research will plunge her into an intricate conspiracy, one meant to incite rebellion and invoke war. Alongside dearest childhood friend and fellow archeologist Kudshayn, Audrey must find proof of the conspiracy before it’s too late.

Order Your Copy

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Placeholder of  -2Kingmaker by Margaret Weis & Robert Krammes

From New York Times bestselling author and leading fantasists Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes comes Kingmaker, the thrilling conclusion to the swashbuckling Dragon Corsairs series.

In this exciting adventure, Kate and Sophia and their dragon Dalgren form a desperate plan to free Phillip from prison. Thomas is crowned king and discovers a plot by King Ullr to invade Freya. And Henry is forced to flee to the Aligoes where he makes a discovery that could change the fortunes of his beleaguered nation.

Order Your Copy

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On Dragon Conservation

Welcome to Dragon Week, a celebration of all things Dragon!

We’ve been a little hard on dragons so far. We’ve talked about the deadliest dragons, and how to survive an encounter with a dragon (trickery, seduction, and the magic of friendship were on table.)

So today we’re sobering up with a more serious issue, brought to you by Marie Brennan, author of A Natural History of Dragons and Turning Darkness Into Light.

 

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“Real Conservation Needs Teeth, Not Talk”

By Tamara Lewis, Opinion Writer, Falchester Weekly Review

These days it seems like dragon conservation is the hot new cause for celebrity figures, with everyone from actors to politicians to socialites being photographed with adorable dragon hatchlings.

But these photographs obscure the reality, and in some cases contribute to the very harm they’re attempting to mitigate. Don’t let the gangly appearance of a baby Akhian desert drake fool you; just out of the frame there’s undoubtedly an experienced handler waiting with a tranquilizer dart, ready to shoot the dragon if it tries to take a piece off the celebrity. Far too many people believe that if a dragon is raised in captivity, it will become tame and cooperative around humans.

On occasion this is true. The“guard dragon” swamp-wyrms of the oba of Bayembe are a famous attraction for tourists, as are the performing ci lêng of Yelang. Producing such a result, however, requires years of painstaking and expert work, and even then, accidents are all too common — and all too fatal. A private individual attempting to raise a dragon in his barn or her cellar is likely to wind up in the hospital sooner rather than later.

Furthermore, these environments are rarely healthy for the dragon. The Trent Draconic Rescue Center in Linshire is home to dozens of dragons whose health problems preclude them ever being released back into the wild, thanks to an early life spent with improper food and insufficient room to move. Nor are they socialized to deal with their own kind, who would swiftly kill them if they were to return.

Smaller breeds such as honeyseekers do offer a safer alternative, and in fact many people successfully keep them as pets. But although the dragons themselves are healthy and their owners are unharmed, the trade in honeyseeker eggs and breeding pairs threatens the long-term stability of wild populations. They used to be a common sight on many islands in the Broken Sea, but now their natural range has shrunk alarmingly, with their numbers being reduced past the point of viability by hunters armed with snares and nets. Although the species may survive in captivity, this cannot be called good conservation.

It would be far preferable, not to mention more effective, if these celebrities spent less time posing for pictures with dragons and more on raising awareness of measures that would truly help preserve the diversity of dragon species in their natural habitats. Better agricultural practices would leave more untouched terrain for dragon reproduction and hunting, and we must hold our industries accountable for the pollution that has reduced sea-serpents to an alarmingly small fraction of their previous numbers.

Successfully doing this requires more than a mere photo opportunity. National initiatives to set aside nature reserves may seem like a wonderful move, but without ongoing support and monitoring, poachers can easily slip in to hunt at will, taking skins, claws, teeth, and living specimens. Given the financial incentives to sell such materials on the black market, it’s no wonder that merely designating a protected space does little good.

For these measures to work, community involvement at the local level is vital. The traditional practices in the Keongan Islands have been remarkably effective at maintaining healthy fire-lizard populations there, because there is social value in protecting the dragons rather than selling them. Even a single person can make a difference, as in southern Coyahuac, where the influence of Zocachitl yec Tecehuitzo has done a great deal to stabilize the future of quetzalcoatls. Her connections in the government show how top-down initiatives can be translated to real action on the ground, creating sustainable tourism programs to view a queztalcoatl in the wild.

Our celebrities could use their own influence to support these efforts on the ground in the places where dragons still thrive. Whether this is via fundraising for local organizations or campaigning against the foreign policy decisions that drive a great deal of habitat loss, they do have a role to play. We also commend Rebecca Susskind for publicly decrying the use of drakefly feathers in high fashion — for it is our demand for these rarities that makes the illicit trade in them so lucrative.

Change must happen around the world if we want our grandchildren and their grandchildren to enjoy the beauty and majesty of dragons.

Order Your Copy of Turning Darkness Into Light:

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Celebrate Dragon Week With These Epic Ebook Deals!

Celebrate Dragon Week With These Epic Ebook Deals!

The time has come! Dragon Week is finally here and to mark the start of such a fiery week, we’re helping you stock up on the dragon books you love. Add these ebooks to your eReader for just $2.99 each, but hurry the sale is only for today!

The Assassin King by Elizabeth Haydon

Place holder  of - 10The Assassin King opens at winter’s end with the arrival by sea of a mysterious hunter, a man of ancient race and purpose, who endlessly chants the names of the pantheon of demons that are his intended victims, as well as one other: Ysk, the original name of the Brother, now known as Achmed, the Assassin King of Ylorc.

At the same moment of this portentous arrival, two gatherings of great import are taking place. The first is a convocation of dragons, who gather in a primeval forest glade–the site of the horrific ending of Llauron, one of the last of their kind. They mourn not only his irrevocable death, but the loss of the lore and control over the Earth itself that it represents. The ancient wyrms are terrified for what will come as a result of this loss.

The second gathering is a council of war held in the depths of the keep of Haguefort: Ashe and Rhapsody, rulers of the alliance that protects the Middle Continent; Gwydion, the new Duke of Navarne; Anborn, the Lord Marshall; Achmed, the King of Ylorc, and Grunthor, his Sergeant-Major. Each brings news that form the pieces of a great puzzle. And as each piece is added it becomes quite clear: War is coming, the likes of which the world has never known.

Bones of the Dragon by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Image Place holder  of - 43In Bones of the Dragon, Skylan Ivorson is a sea-raider of the Vindras and eventually becomes the Chief of Chiefs of all Vindras clans, an honor he truly feels he deserves as one who has been blessed by Skoval, the god of war.

But sometimes a blessing is a curse in disguise.

Skoval and the other ancient gods are under siege from a new generation of gods who are challenging them for the powers of creation… and the only way to stop these brash interlopers lies within the mysterious and hidden Five Bones of the Vektan Dragons.

It will be up to the Vindras people, as the dragon-goddess’s champions, to undertake the quest to recover all Five. The fate of the Old Gods and the Vindras rests on their recovery–for this is not only a quest to save the world. It is also a quest for redemption.

Crown of Vengeance by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory

Placeholder of  -1Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory, bestselling authors individually and together, return to the world of their New York Times and USA Today bestselling Obsidian and Enduring Flame Trilogies with Crown of Vengeance.

Here, readers will learn the truth about the Elven Queen Vielissiar Faricarnon, who was the first to face the Endarkened in battle and the first to bond with a dragon. She worked some of the greatest magics her world has ever known, and paid the greatest Price.

Dragon Age by David Gaider

Poster Placeholder of - 64Dragon Age: The Calling by David Gaider is another thrilling prequel to Dragon Age: Origins, the hit role-playing video game from award-winning developer BioWare!

After two hundred years of exile, King Maric has allowed the legendary Grey Wardens to finally return to Ferelden. When they come, however, they bring dire news: one of their own has escaped into the Deep Roads and aligned himself with their ancient enemy, the monstrous darkspawn.

The Grey Wardens need Maric’s help, and he reluctantly agrees to lead them into the passages he traveled through many years before, chasing after a deadly secret that will threaten to destroy not only the Grey Wardens but also the Kingdom above.

The Dragons of Babel by Michael Swanwick

Image Placeholder of - 58A war-dragon of Babel crashes in the idyllic fields of a post-industrialized Faerie and, dragging himself into the nearest village, declares himself king and makes young Will his lieutenant. Nightly, he crawls inside the young fey’s brain to get a measure of what his subjects think. Forced out of his village, Will travels with female centaur soldiers, witnesses the violent clash of giants, and acquires a surrogate daughter, Esme, who has no knowledge of the past and may be immortal.

Evacuated to the Tower of Babel — infinitely high, infinitely vulgar, very much like New York City — Will meets the confidence trickster Nat Whilk. Inside the Dread Tower, Will becomes a hero to the homeless living in the tunnels under the city, rises as an underling to a politician, and meets his one true love–a high-elven woman he dare not aspire to.

The Ice Dragon by George R. R. Martin

The Ice Dragon is an enchanting tale of courage and sacrifice for young readers and adults by the wildly popular author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Song of Ice and Fire series, George R.R. Martin. Lavish illustrations by acclaimed artist Luis Royo enrich this captivating and heartwarming story of a young girl and her dragon.

In the world of A Song of Ice and Fire the ice dragon was a creature of legend and fear, for no man had ever tamed one. When it flew overhead, it left in its wake desolate cold and frozen land. But Adara was not afraid. For Adara was a winter child, born during the worst freeze that anyone, even the Old Ones, could remember.

Adara could not remember the first time she had seen the ice dragon. It seemed that it had always been in her life, glimpsed from afar as she played in the frigid snow long after the other children had fled the cold. In her fourth year she touched it, and in her fifth year she rode upon its broad, chilled back for the first time. Then, in her seventh year, on a calm summer day, fiery dragons from the North swooped down upon the peaceful farm that was Adara’s home. And only a winter child—and the ice dragon who loved her—could save her world from utter destruction.

The Knight by Gene Wolfe

A young man in his teens is transported from our world to a magical realm that contains seven levels of reality. Very quickly transformed by magic into a grown man of heroic proportions, he takes the name Able and sets out on a quest to find the sword that has been promised to him, a sword he will get from a dragon, the one very special blade that will help him fulfill his life ambition to become a knight and a true hero.

Inside, however, Able remains a boy, and he must grow in every sense to survive the dangers and delights that lie ahead in encounters with giants, elves, wizards, and dragons.

Mistress of Dragons by Margaret Weis

Mistress of Dragons is the first volume in an epic fantasy trilogy entitled The Dragonvald. Here is a world where men and dragons coexist amid political intrigue and dark magic, where the uneasy balance of power between the two is on the verge of becoming undone, threatening to unleash waves of destruction that will pit humans against humans as well as dragons against men for the domination of the world. Humanity’s very survival is at risk . . . .

The power to hold the chaos at bay, the terrible secret that maintains the balance, rests in the hands of a new and inexperienced.

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

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.

Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton

The tale of a family dealing with the death of their father, of a son who goes to law for his inheritance, a son who agonizes over his father’s deathbed confession, a daughter who falls in love, a daughter who becomes involved in the abolition movement, and a daughter sacrificing herself for her husband.

Except that everyone in the story is a dragon, red in tooth and claw.

Here is a world of politics and train stations, of churchmen and family retainers, of courtship and country houses…in which, on the death of an elder, family members gather to eat the body of the deceased. In which society’s high-and-mighty members avail themselves of the privilege of killing and eating the weaker children, which they do with ceremony and relish, growing stronger thereby.

Celebrate Dragon Week With These Epic Ebook Deals!

The time has come! Dragon Week is finally here and to mark the start of such a fiery week, we’re helping you stock up on the dragon books you love. Add these ebooks to your eReader for just $2.99 each, but hurry the sale is only for today!

The Assassin King by Elizabeth Haydon

The Assassin King opens at winter’s end with the arrival by sea of a mysterious hunter, a man of ancient race and purpose, who endlessly chants the names of the pantheon of demons that are his intended victims, as well as one other: Ysk, the original name of the Brother, now known as Achmed, the Assassin King of Ylorc.

At the same moment of this portentous arrival, two gatherings of great import are taking place. The first is a convocation of dragons, who gather in a primeval forest glade–the site of the horrific ending of Llauron, one of the last of their kind. They mourn not only his irrevocable death, but the loss of the lore and control over the Earth itself that it represents. The ancient wyrms are terrified for what will come as a result of this loss.

The second gathering is a council of war held in the depths of the keep of Haguefort: Ashe and Rhapsody, rulers of the alliance that protects the Middle Continent; Gwydion, the new Duke of Navarne; Anborn, the Lord Marshall; Achmed, the King of Ylorc, and Grunthor, his Sergeant-Major. Each brings news that form the pieces of a great puzzle. And as each piece is added it becomes quite clear: War is coming, the likes of which the world has never known.

Bones of the Dragon by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

In Bones of the Dragon, Skylan Ivorson is a sea-raider of the Vindras and eventually becomes the Chief of Chiefs of all Vindras clans, an honor he truly feels he deserves as one who has been blessed by Skoval, the god of war.

But sometimes a blessing is a curse in disguise.

Skoval and the other ancient gods are under siege from a new generation of gods who are challenging them for the powers of creation… and the only way to stop these brash interlopers lies within the mysterious and hidden Five Bones of the Vektan Dragons.

It will be up to the Vindras people, as the dragon-goddess’s champions, to undertake the quest to recover all Five. The fate of the Old Gods and the Vindras rests on their recovery–for this is not only a quest to save the world. It is also a quest for redemption.

Crown of Vengeance by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory

Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory, bestselling authors individually and together, return to the world of their New York Times and USA Today bestselling Obsidian and Enduring Flame Trilogies with Crown of Vengeance.

Here, readers will learn the truth about the Elven Queen Vielissiar Faricarnon, who was the first to face the Endarkened in battle and the first to bond with a dragon. She worked some of the greatest magics her world has ever known, and paid the greatest Price.

Dragon Age by David Gaider

Dragon Age: The Calling by David Gaider is another thrilling prequel to Dragon Age: Origins, the hit role-playing video game from award-winning developer BioWare!

After two hundred years of exile, King Maric has allowed the legendary Grey Wardens to finally return to Ferelden. When they come, however, they bring dire news: one of their own has escaped into the Deep Roads and aligned himself with their ancient enemy, the monstrous darkspawn.

The Grey Wardens need Maric’s help, and he reluctantly agrees to lead them into the passages he traveled through many years before, chasing after a deadly secret that will threaten to destroy not only the Grey Wardens but also the Kingdom above.

The Dragons of Babel by Michael Swanwick

A war-dragon of Babel crashes in the idyllic fields of a post-industrialized Faerie and, dragging himself into the nearest village, declares himself king and makes young Will his lieutenant. Nightly, he crawls inside the young fey’s brain to get a measure of what his subjects think. Forced out of his village, Will travels with female centaur soldiers, witnesses the violent clash of giants, and acquires a surrogate daughter, Esme, who has no knowledge of the past and may be immortal.

Evacuated to the Tower of Babel — infinitely high, infinitely vulgar, very much like New York City — Will meets the confidence trickster Nat Whilk. Inside the Dread Tower, Will becomes a hero to the homeless living in the tunnels under the city, rises as an underling to a politician, and meets his one true love–a high-elven woman he dare not aspire to.

The Ice Dragon by George R. R. Martin

The Ice Dragon is an enchanting tale of courage and sacrifice for young readers and adults by the wildly popular author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Song of Ice and Fire series, George R.R. Martin. Lavish illustrations by acclaimed artist Luis Royo enrich this captivating and heartwarming story of a young girl and her dragon.

In the world of A Song of Ice and Fire the ice dragon was a creature of legend and fear, for no man had ever tamed one. When it flew overhead, it left in its wake desolate cold and frozen land. But Adara was not afraid. For Adara was a winter child, born during the worst freeze that anyone, even the Old Ones, could remember.

Adara could not remember the first time she had seen the ice dragon. It seemed that it had always been in her life, glimpsed from afar as she played in the frigid snow long after the other children had fled the cold. In her fourth year she touched it, and in her fifth year she rode upon its broad, chilled back for the first time. Then, in her seventh year, on a calm summer day, fiery dragons from the North swooped down upon the peaceful farm that was Adara’s home. And only a winter child—and the ice dragon who loved her—could save her world from utter destruction.

The Knight by Gene Wolfe

A young man in his teens is transported from our world to a magical realm that contains seven levels of reality. Very quickly transformed by magic into a grown man of heroic proportions, he takes the name Able and sets out on a quest to find the sword that has been promised to him, a sword he will get from a dragon, the one very special blade that will help him fulfill his life ambition to become a knight and a true hero.

Inside, however, Able remains a boy, and he must grow in every sense to survive the dangers and delights that lie ahead in encounters with giants, elves, wizards, and dragons.

Mistress of Dragons by Margaret Weis

Mistress of Dragons is the first volume in an epic fantasy trilogy entitled The Dragonvald. Here is a world where men and dragons coexist amid political intrigue and dark magic, where the uneasy balance of power between the two is on the verge of becoming undone, threatening to unleash waves of destruction that will pit humans against humans as well as dragons against men for the domination of the world. Humanity’s very survival is at risk . . . .

The power to hold the chaos at bay, the terrible secret that maintains the balance, rests in the hands of a new and inexperienced.

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

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.

Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton

The tale of a family dealing with the death of their father, of a son who goes to law for his inheritance, a son who agonizes over his father’s deathbed confession, a daughter who falls in love, a daughter who becomes involved in the abolition movement, and a daughter sacrificing herself for her husband.

Except that everyone in the story is a dragon, red in tooth and claw.

Here is a world of politics and train stations, of churchmen and family retainers, of courtship and country houses…in which, on the death of an elder, family members gather to eat the body of the deceased. In which society’s high-and-mighty members avail themselves of the privilege of killing and eating the weaker children, which they do with ceremony and relish, growing stronger thereby.

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Tor Books Presents: Dragon Week!

YASS DRAGONS!!

Ok. Now that we’ve got that out of our systems, here’s your home for all things #DragonWeek. Check out our expert advice and ebook deals through the links below and follow the discourse on Twitter!

How to Survive A Dragon Attack

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Deadliest Dragons
With Spine of the Dragon author Kevin J. Anderson

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Dragon Conservation
With A Natural History of Dragons and Turning Darkness Into Light author Marie Brennan

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Top Dragon Slayers with
With Blood of an Exile author Brian Naslund

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Famous Dragons vs. Famous Sharks!

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Celebrate Dragon Week With These Epic Ebook Deals!

 

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Excerpt: Turning Darkness Into Light by Marie Brennan

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As the renowned granddaughter of Isabella Camherst (Lady Trent, of the riveting and daring Draconic adventure memoirs) Audrey Camherst has always known she, too, would want to make her scholarly mark upon a chosen field of study.

When Lord Gleinheigh recruits Audrey to decipher a series of ancient tablets holding the secrets of the ancient Draconean civilization, she has no idea that her research will plunge her into an intricate conspiracy, one meant to incite rebellion and invoke war. Alongside dearest childhood friend and fellow archeologist Kudshayn, must find proof of the conspiracy before it’s too late.

Turning Darkness Into Light is on sale August 20. Please enjoy the following excerpt and head to Tor.com to read an earlier excerpt.

Excerpt

From the notebook of Cora Fitzarthur

A new woman has come to Stokesley. I knew someone was going to visit, but Uncle didn’t tell me ahead of time that she will be living here for months, which is very inconvenient of him. The good news is that she doesn’t have a little yappy dog that will shed all over everything like our last houseguest. (The dog was the one shedding, of course, not the houseguest.) I told Mrs. Hilleck to put her in the lilac room and to find out what she likes to eat.

Her name is Audrey Isabella Mahira Adiaratou Camherst. She is twenty-three years old, and Uncle has hired her to translate the tablets. I saw her going into dinner, though she did not see me.

Uncle says it is very important to know who someone’s people are, so last night I looked hers up in Webber’s Almanac of the Peerage and Other Illustrious Persons of Scirland. It says she is the granddaughter of Isabella Trent, née Hendemore, formerly Camherst, 1st Baroness Trent, who is a dragon naturalist, and both very famous and very scandalous. (The almanac does not say she is scandalous, but I know that much myself.) Audrey’s paternal grandfather was Jacob Camherst, second son of a baronet. Her step-grandfather, if that is a proper word, is Suhail, Lord Trent, who is Akhian, and an archaeologist and linguist. He is also famous, though less so, and not very scandalous. Her father is The Honourable Jacob Camherst, an oceanographer. Her mother is Kwenta Adiaratou Shamade, of the Talu Union, an astronomer. That explains why Audrey is a dark brown colour, except her hair, which is black and looks like a cloud when she lets it free. Her maternal grandparents are not in the almanac, probably because they are neither peers nor Scirling.

I don’t know why it is important to look these things up. The almanac has no entry to tell me whether they are the Right Sort of People. I don’t think Uncle believes they are, though.

My instructions are to help Audrey in any way she tells me to (even if all she tells me to do is fetch her tea) and to read all of her letters before they go to the post, and to tell Uncle if she tells anyone anything about the tablets, or if she says anything unkind or suspicious about him. The letter Audrey has written to the Tomphries Museum only says that she has arrived here and that Lord Gleinleigh is exactly as she expected, which might be rude depending on what she expected, but I don’t think that’s the kind of thing Uncle had in mind. Still, I suppose I should tell him, just to be sure.

From the diary of Audrey Camherst

5 PLUVIS

Lord Gleinleigh is not at breakfast. How inconvenient of him! The footman says he does not often take breakfast. I wonder if he is even awake yet? He spends a great deal of his time on the Continent; perhaps he has acquired the Continental habit of keeping late hours. I did my best to sleep in until what most people would consider a civilized time, but after so much of my life on ships with Papa and Mama, the habit of waking at daybreak is difficult to shed.

Someone must be up, though, or else the servants pinched bits of the food on the assumption that no one would be eating it. Who else is here, I wonder?

LATER

Well, that’s several questions answered at once. But what I think of the answer, I am not yet sure.

When I was done with breakfast I went straightaway to the library, where Lord Gleinleigh had promised the tablets would be laid out for me. I was half convinced he would have failed to do so—or possibly “failed”—because surely he could not let me see them without him present to gloat over his trophy. But there they were, set in an organized row on a sheet to protect the long table that dominates the center of the room. (Why does a man who cares so little for actual learning have such an enormous and well-stocked library? Prestige, I suppose.)

I pinned my hair up and began to examine the array. That room needs better lighting; I have already pestered the foot-man to bring me a lamp with a long enough cord that I may drag it around as I require. To begin with, though, I had to carry one of the tablets to the window, so I could see it clearly.

And then I found myself grinning like a monkey, because there I was, with a priceless treasure in my hands! Of course it is not the first time that I have handled a Draconean text. I will never forget the day Grandpapa first put a clay tablet into my hands, explaining to me that I was holding history itself. I was five, I think, which always horrifies people when they hear— what if I had dropped it? The tablet was only a tax record. Still a loss if I had shattered it, mind you, but not one that would haunt me until the end of my life.

It would haunt me until the end of my life and beyond if I dropped one of these. Our modern Draconeans do not know everything about their ancestors, the Anevrai, any more than I know what ancient Scirlings or Utalu did or thought. We have only these fragments, the texts that happen to have survived the Downfall of their ancient civilization. I am sure the people who rebelled against Anevrai rule had very sound reasons for it—but if I could, I would go back in time and ask them not to destroy so much in the process. No matter how tyrannical their rulers were, what gain was there in burning down palaces and cities? Who benefited, when they smashed the texts that held all the learning of their world? They plunged themselves into a darkness so deep that we are only beginning to shine lights into the nearest corners of it.

The lump of clay I held in my hands today might prove to be a very bright light indeed. I tilted it back and forth, letting the light bring out the faint impressions where the scribe’s fingers had once gripped the edges, before it was fired. I would be the first to read his words!

. . . or so I believed at the time.

I had just sat down at the center of the table to write some preliminary notes when someone behind me said, “That’s my chair.”

If I tell this story later I shall describe myself as turning around with flawless poise and composure, but the truth is that I squeaked. The speaker was a girl—well, I call her a girl; I think she is only a few years younger than I am. But she was dressed very plainly, in a dove-grey frock I would have said was ill-fitting; only later did I realize the tailoring was not at fault. She held herself so awkwardly that it made the dress look like a sack. And since I am a terrible judge of fashion, I can only think that she will have an appalling time of it when she comes out—if indeed she ever does.

“That’s my chair,” she repeated, clutching a notebook to her chest.

She clearly was not a servant. I rose and said, “Are you . . . Lord Gleinleigh’s daughter?” He is not married, but she might have been his natural-born child. Only there is no polite way to ask whether someone is a bastard.

“I’m his ward,” she said. “I sit there every day while I work on the translation.”

“On the—” It turned into another squeak, only this one was decidedly angrier.

I thought—Simeon was very clear—this job was supposed to be mine! It is one thing for Lord Gleinleigh to foist this girl on me as an assistant, without so much as a by-your-leave. But it is a slap in the face for him to have her start on the work before I even arrive! And why did he say nothing of this to me last night? Likely because he knew how I would react and, coward that he is, dodged the problem by letting me stumble across this interloper while he was still warm in his bed.

She held a stack of books and notepaper clutched to her chest. Now I saw the room in a new light: the table, with its protective sheet and row of tablets. Lord Gleinleigh had not set them out. This girl had. And she sat in the very chair I had chosen and began unlocking the secrets of this cache, which was supposed to be my responsibility and privilege.

I know it is dreadful of me to write it like that. If Grandmama heard me being such a greedy little drake, she would lock me in my room without books for a week. Except she also knows how infuriating it is to be denied the proper respect—and if it hadn’t been this awkward girl who upstaged me, I think I might have lost my temper completely. (If it had been Lord Gleinleigh . . . well, I might have laughed him out of the room, because I know he hasn’t a scrap of skill for the job. But some other man like him? I would have been apoplectic.)

As it is, I can’t say I was very polite. “Let me see it, then,” I said, holding out one hand.

“See what?” But from the way she clutched her stack more tightly, I knew she understood what I meant.

“The translation,” I said. “I presume you are the assistant Lord Gleinleigh mentioned to me”—laying stress on the word “assistant.” Under no circumstances was I going to let myself be pushed into a subordinate position. “Since you have been so kind as to start on the work already, I shall look it over.”

Her jaw set in a mulish line, but she put down her stack and retrieved some pages from a folder. I was relieved to see they were so few: I was half afraid she had gone through everything already, even though I know that isn’t possible. Sitting down very pointedly in the chair she had claimed as her own, I began to read.

The pages were an utter mess, filled with crossed-out lines where she kept changing her mind, so it took me a few moments to even thread my way through the tangle and figure out what she had written—and then a few moments longer to digest the absurdity of what I had just read. It was such an incredible disaster that a part of me wanted to burst out laughing. But coming so close on the heels of my snit, it was hard for that impulse to win out, and the result is that I just sat and stared at the pages long after I had stopped reading, trying to think what to say.

Of course I could not sit there forever. I finally looked up— still without the slightest notion what I would say—and found her waiting, body rigid in that plain grey dress.

No one intelligent enough to produce even that muddle out of a Draconean text could possibly be stupid enough not to realize how bad it was. I saw in the set of her jaw a kind of challenge, as if she were waiting to see what I would say. Would I make polite noises, as if her work did not read like it had been written by a five-year-old? Or would I tear into her for having done such a dreadful job?

I found I could do neither. The gentleness of my own voice surprised me when I said, “Have you ever translated ancient Draconean before? Or the modern tongue?”

The answer came in a tight little shake of her head. Then, while I searched for more words, she spoke. “Uncle said, you like reading, and you like puzzles. You should try this one.”

As if liking puzzles qualifies one to deal with a dead language! But it sounded exactly like the kind of thing Lord Gleinleigh would say. “Have you done much translation of any kind?”

“I speak Thiessois and Eiversch,” she said.

If she’s anything like other young ladies, she only speaks them well enough to sing a few songs. “But no translation? I mean long passages.” When she shook her head again, I said, “It is quite a challenge, and although it is a bit like a puzzle sometimes, it is also very different. You . . . have made a good start here.”

Her jaw tightened again. Then she said bluntly, “It’s dreadful.”

In the face of a statement like that, tact could no longer win out over my natural candour. “It’s dreadful,” I agreed. “But even making it that far is an achievement.”

She stared at her shoes. A smile began tugging at the corner of my mouth—I could not suppress it. Then she started laughing, and that set me off, and the little knot inside me began to relax.

When we finally stopped laughing I stood up to get a chair for her. Only by the time I turned around, she’d taken my chair—her chair, I mean, as I have a feeling I’m sailing into the wind where that’s concerned. It didn’t seem worth arguing about any more, so I sat down in the one I’d pulled close.

“I’m Cora,” she said.

“And I’m Audrey Camherst.”

“I know,” she said. “I mean, figured it out. Uncle said you would be coming. But you don’t look Scirling.”

Most people don’t say it to my face like that, though I know they’re thinking it. “I’m half,” I said. “My mother is Utalu. From Eriga.”

I said that last bit because most Scirlings tend to think of Eriga as an undifferentiated mass, a whole continent lumped under one label, and couldn’t point out the Talu Union on a map if you threatened to keelhaul them for failure. But Cora nodded before I was even done clarifying. “You’re Lady Trent’s granddaughter. And your grandfather, your step-grandfather I mean, is the one who deciphered Draconean.”

“Well, him and a lot of other people. It isn’t like he just looked at it one day and said, by gum! I have it! But yes, he’s the one who translated the Cataract Stone, and theorized that the language is related to Lashon and Akhian. And then Grandmama proved him right.”

“Have you met any Draconeans?”

“Oh, yes, lots. I’ve even been to the Sanctuary.” I shuddered at the memory. “The people are lovely, but what they call ‘summer’ there would barely pass muster as a brisk spring day here.”

Cora said, “I’ve never been outside of Scirland. I don’t think I would like it very much, but Uncle travels all the time. Mostly to Thiessin and Chiavora—he didn’t like Akhia.”

All manner of uncharitable responses rose to mind at that, but I bit down on them.

“If you don’t want me to help you,” Cora went on, “then tell me. Uncle said I should do whatever you say.”

Like she’s some kind of servant! Or worse, a slave. “I do want your help,” I said. “But only if you want to help.”

She shrugged. “I don’t know how I can. You saw what happened when I tried. And it made you angry, didn’t it? That I had tried to translate something.”

The polite thing to do would have been to lie. But Cora is so straightforward that I found myself responding in kind. “Well, yes, a little. But I shouldn’t have been angry. As for translating, it usually takes years of study before anyone is ready. There are other things you can do, though—and to be honest, I’d be grateful for them. Your uncle wants this done very fast, so having someone helping out with all the side tasks would make my life a lot easier.”

She nodded, unsurprised. “When the tablets arrived, he said they’d change everything.”

Diary, I tell you: Lord Gleinleigh has a very high opinion of the import of his find, and I’m beginning to wonder why. He’s discovered a long narrative text, and that’s very exciting if you care much about ancient Draconean civilization; we’ve found a few poems before now, a few brief mythical tales or bits of history, but nothing approaching this scale. I’m sure it will teach us all manner of things we didn’t know about their society. But to say it will change everything? That seems unwarranted, when we don’t even know yet what it says.

Which makes me wonder if he somehow does know. Only I can’t think how he possibly could! It’s easy enough to get the gist of a tax record at a glance, but narrative is much more difficult, and even a few minutes of study tells me this one’s a real corker. The language is so archaic, I can’t think of many people who would even know what to do with it, and the best of them couldn’t just skim it and tell you what it says, not in any detail. I told Lord Gleinleigh I could get through two tablets a month; I only hope I can keep my word. So how could he—a man who probably doesn’t even know what a determinative is—begin to predict what effect this is going to have?

Pfah. I am putting the tail ahead of the dragon. Lord Gleinleigh just has an inflated opinion of himself, so naturally anything he finds must be stupendously important.

I didn’t say any of this to Cora, of course. I’m not that bird-witted. I just said, “Well, we’ll see. It’s going to take long hours of work before we have any real sense of what this says.”

I said the same thing again at supper tonight, to see if Lord Gleinleigh reacted, but he didn’t. We dined alone, without Cora; when I asked why, he replied only that “she doesn’t care to dine in company.” Then, oozing disapproval out every pore, he said, “I heard you were in the garden all afternoon.”

He thought I was shirking! I said, “Yes, because I began copying today. I don’t know why, but I find that natural light is best for letting me see the inscription clearly—lamps just aren’t the same.”

“Copying?” he echoed.

He didn’t even attempt not to sound suspicious. I sighed and said, in my best diplomatic voice, “The tablets may be in good condition for the most part, but they won’t remain that way for long if I’m constantly handling them. Much better to work from a copy—an exact drawing of the signs as the scribe wrote them—and only consult the original when I think there may be an error. Once that’s done, I will transcribe the text—” I saw that I had lost him. “Write out the sounds in our alphabet,” I said. “These are necessary steps, my lord, I assure you. Ask any translator and they will tell you the same.”

Lord Gleinleigh dismissed this with a flick of his hand. “No, no, quite right. I am not questioning your methods, Miss Camherst.” (He was . . . but I did not point that out.)

The footman brought out the soup course. One thing I’ll say for Lord Gleinleigh; he lays on a good feast. Though with soup I’m always afraid I’ll slurp and embarrass myself. The earl addressed his own bowl very quietly, and then unbent enough to ask, “How are you getting on?”

“Well so far. I made it a good way into copying the first tablet today.” I laughed. “Though I would have gotten further if your gardeners and footmen hadn’t constantly been interrupting to offer me a parasol. I told them that I need the direct light for my work, but they kept trying!”

“They are only concerned for your health,” he said.

And my complexion, I’m sure—as if that weren’t already a lost cause, by Scirling standards. But for pity’s sake, this isn’t Eriga or the Akhian desert. I don’t think the sun here could burn me if it tried all summer—much less in the middle of winter.

Then Lord Gleinleigh cleared his throat and said, “And what of the text itself? I know you said these other steps come first, the copying and so forth, but . . . ?”

If I let him, he will press me to do this all rumble-jumble, instead of following proper standards. Well, I shan’t let him— and I have good reason why not. “It’s difficult to say. You know” (I doubt he knows anything of the sort) “that there’s a mark in the Draconean script used to separate words, in the way we use a blank space? That’s a later innovation in their writing; earlier texts don’t have it, and this is definitely an earlier text. So while I can pick out a word here and there, a great many more all blur together, so that I’m not sure whether it says zašu kīberra or zašukī berra. I’m afraid it will be quite some time before I have anything clear enough to share with you.”

“Can Cora not help? She has been working on the tablets since they arrived.”

Obviously he hasn’t looked at any of her work, or he would know the answer to that. Well, I was not going to tell him that her efforts had made us both laugh. I merely said, “We’ll see,” and left it at that.

(Looking back over what I have written, I can hear Grandmama tsking at me. “You young people and your given names! You’ve hardly known one another three minutes before you’re addressing each other like the closest of friends.” Well, I’m not going to write “Miss Fitzarthur” every time I refer to Cora, and I don’t think she minds. That’s her surname—she must be the daughter of Lord Gleinleigh’s brother, since she calls him “Uncle.” I didn’t realize he had a brother, though. It’s shocking really, how little I know about the Scirling peerage, when I’m going to inherit Grandmama’s barony someday.)

Copyright © 2019 by Marie Brennan

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