Marie Brennan

Marie Brennan is the World Fantasy and Hugo Award-nominated author of the Memoirs of Lady Trent, the Onyx Court, and other series, as well as over sixty short stories. As half of M.A. Carrick, she also (co-)writes the Rook and Rose trilogy.

Marie Brennan holds an undergraduate degree in archaeology and folklore from Harvard, and completed graduate coursework in cultural anthropology and folklore at Indiana University in Bloomington. She now misapplies her professors’ hard work by using it as inspiration for her fantasy novels and short stories.

At present she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she spends her time playing piano, studying shorin-ryu karate, dabbling in amateur photography, and playing a variety of role-playing games.

Her first novel was published in 2004. Since then she has written and sold more than a dozen books.

Find Marie on her website or follow her on Twitter @swan_tower.

Bibliography

  • FORTH
    Rook and Rose
    The Mask of Mirrors
    Marie Brennan
  • Driftwood Series
    Driftwood (#1)
    Marie Brennan
  • Doppelganger Duology
    Warrior (#1)
    Marie Brennan
  • Doppelganger Duology
    Witch (#2)
    Marie Brennan
  • Doppelganger Duology
    Dancing the Warrior (#0.5)
    Marie Brennan
  • Doppelganger Duology
    The Doppelganger Omnibus
    Marie Brennan
  • Varekai Series
    Cold-Forged Flame (#1)
    Marie Brennan
  • Varekai Series
    Lightning in the Blood (#2)
    Marie Brennan
  • The Memoirs of Lady Trent
    A Natural History of Dragons (#1)
    Marie Brennan
  • The Memoirs of Lady Trent
    The Tropic of Serpents (#2)
    Marie Brennan
  • The Memoirs of Lady Trent
    Voyage of the Basilisk (#3)
    Marie Brennan
  • The Memoirs of Lady Trent
    In the Labyrinth of Drakes (#4)
    Marie Brennan
  • The Memoirs of Lady Trent
    Within the Sanctuary of Wings (#5)
    Marie Brennan
  • The Memoirs of Lady Trent
    Turning Darkness Into Light
    Marie Brennan
  • The Onyx Court
    Midnight Never Come (#1)
    Marie Brennan
  • The Onyx Court
    In Ashes Lie (#2)
    Marie Brennan
  • The Onyx Court
    A Star Shall Fall (#3)
    Marie Brennan
  • The Onyx Court
    With Fate Conspire (#4)
    Marie Brennan
     

Reviews

Rook and Rose

The Mask of Mirrors
"Marie Brennan and Alyc Helms, writing as Carrick, join forces to launch...a tightly laced plot dripping with political intrigue. Carrick has built a strong foundation for things to come."

Publishers Weekly

"Utterly captivating. Carrick spins an exciting web of mystery, magic, and political treachery in a richly drawn and innovative world."

–S. A. Chakraborty, author of The City of Brass

"THE MASK OF MIRRORS has it all: complex, believable characters; a fast-moving, intricate plot; rich details of attire, cuisine, religion, and so much more, all of which lead the reader to believe that Nadežra exists in more than dreams. This novel starts off strong and only gets better."

Jane Lindskold, New York Times Bestselling author of The Firekeeper Saga

"The Mask of Mirrors kept me up reading way past my bedtime. A web of intrigue, magic, and the art of the con this novel will catch hold of your dreams and keep you from sleeping."

Mary Robinette Kowal, author of The Glamorous Histories series

Driftwood Series

Driftwood (#1)
“A diverse cast of characters from disparate worlds, each facing their own rapidly approaching mortality, come together to memorialize a missing man—rumored to be immortal—in this new fantasy title from veteran author Brennan [...] Readers will close the cover aching to read more about Last and his world. An exciting delve into a conglomerate land filled with magic and mystery.”

Kirkus, Starred Review

“Brennan skillfully builds a multiplicity of worlds, painting each unique and fully developed culture with bold, minimalist strokes and, though readers don’t get to spend much time with any single character, rendering each member of the sprawling cast with impressive nuance and subtlety. Exploring found family, adaptation, and hope in the face of apocalypse, Brennan imbues this high-concept fantasy with a strong emotional core. Fantasy fans will be thrilled.”

Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“DRIFTWOOD is epic in scale, and yet rooted in satisfying detail, full of possibility and wonder.”

Booklist, Starred Review

“The world building is excellent. The characters are all well developed as well. I thought this was a fantastic book.”

Book Lover’s Boudoir

“Absolutely tantalizing.”

Powder & Page

“DRIFTWOOD, by Marie Brennan, is the kind of weirdness I adore in fiction.”

A Bookish Type

“Brennan has crafted a gorgeous, poignant apocalypse […] Each of the diaspora she’s depicted are richly imagined, complex, and compelling.”

Beneath Ceaseless Skies

"DRIFTWOOD is a beautiful book."

The Borrowed Bookshelf

Doppelganger Duology

Warrior (#1)
“Brennan’s excellent first novel Doppelganger set up a unique quest and conflict for her heroine — or heroines, as it were.”

RT Book Reviews

“It’s good. An original world, interesting protagonists, a fun story, and a satisfying conclusion.”

Jim C. Hines, Hugo and Writers of the Future Award Winner

Witch (#2)
“Brennan crafts a thought-provoking, exciting and entertaining read.”

RT Book Reviews

“Life is rarely as simple as black and white, and Brennan does a masterful job of capturing that messy complexity. I love her characters, both for their courage and for their flaws.”

Jim C. Hines, Hugo and Writers of the Future Award Winner

Varekai Series

Cold-Forged Flame (#1)
“The heroine is fierce of mind, strong of will, and quite the warrior. Brennan delights readers with this exciting, fast-paced start to a fantasy novella series.”

Publishers Weekly

“An intriguing mix of folklore and fantasy. The heroine’s quest may be a long-standing trope in fantasy, but her character and situation are by no means dated. These mere 100 pages will fly by, leaving readers anticipating the next steps of her journey.”

Library Journal

“It’s a tight, tense, gripping narrative, that builds to an excellent climax.”

Tor.com

“If you’re looking for smart, exciting stories of fantastical adventure, look no further: Marie Brennan will deliver.”

Kate Elliott, author of BLACK WOLVES

Lightning in the Blood (#2)
“Ree’s hunger for self-realization adds depth to the rich worldbuilding and exciting action sequences.”

Publishers Weekly

The Memoirs of Lady Trent

A Natural History of Dragons (#1)
“Brennan’s world-building is wonderfully subtle, rendering a familiar land alien with casual details. Fans of fantasy, science, and history will adore this rich and absorbing tale of discovery.”

Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“Told in the style of a Victorian memoir, courageous, intelligent and determined Isabella’s account is colorful, vigorous and absorbing. A sort of Victorian why-what-whodunit embellished by Brennan’s singular upgrade of a fantasy bromide and revitalizingly different viewpoint.”

Kirkus

“Downton Abbey, but with dragons! [...] A NATURAL HISTORY OF DRAGONS is a mellow and agreeable memoir, an absorbing and entertaining novel, and I want more.”

Tor.com

“A NATURAL HISTORY OF DRAGONS is a tale historical fiction lovers and fantasy fans alike will adore. Isabella is a heroine readers will root for, and fans of Naomi Novik and Mary Robinette Kowal will especially enjoy this book.”

RT Book Reviews

“What’s truly great about this novel is the seamless merging of fantasy themes and incredibly realistic scientific and social details. Come for the dragon adventure — because there’s a lot of it. But stay for characters whose stories feel as real as Marie Curie’s.”

io9.com

“Highly recommended.”

Peter V. Brett, the New York Times bestselling author of The Demon Cycle series

“Her Ladyship is a determined and canny woman in search of dragons–I wholeheartedly approve!”

Melanie Rawn, Bestselling author of TOUCHSTONE

The Tropic of Serpents (#2)
“A rollicking adventure in which women wearing unnerving amounts of underwear tromp through jungles on dragon-hunting safaris. Really, that should be more than enough for just about everyone.”

The New York Times

“THE TROPIC OF SERPENTS: A Memoir By Lady Trent brings dragons into the Victorian world, and flawlessly so…[it] gives fantasy readers another good reason to enter Brennan’s fantastical world.”

The Washington Post

“Uncompromisingly honest and forthright as the first, narrated in Brennan’s usual crisp, vivid style, with a heroine at once admirable, formidable and captivating. Reader, lose no time in making Isabella’s acquaintance.”

Kirkus, Starred Review

“THE TROPIC OF SERPENTS is in part a fantasy travelogue, a guided tour of a world aslant from our own. It is also, in its way, a very science-fictional fantasy novel: it is in love with the idea of discovery, of knowing the world, of knowledge for the sake of knowledge […] a thoroughly enjoyable book. I recommend it without hesitation.”

Tor.com

“Brennan’s follow up to A Natural History of Dragons is every bit as exciting and engrossing as the first part of Lady Trent’s memoir […] Isabella’s strength and bravery in the name of scientific advancement is beyond admirable–she’s a model protagonist.”

RT Book Reviews

Voyage of the Basilisk (#3)
“Isabella, Lady Trent, narrates her astounding adventures from volume to volume, blending Victorian pastiche and alternate-world fantasy with a distinctly pulp sensibility […] Brennan has constructed both a slow-burn detective story, seeding hints at Isabella’s spearheading a dramatic taxonomic shift within dragon studies as she gathers firsthand data around the world, and a story about a delicately-balanced global ecology in which individual villages might be trying to rid themselves of predatory dragons even as populations elsewhere are being hunted to extinction […] Lady Trent will continue her adventures after VOYAGE OF THE BASILISK; if you love dragons as she does, perhaps now is the time to get acquainted.”

NPR

“[VOYAGE OF THE BASILISK is] beautifully worked and thoroughly engrossing. Fans of this charming series won’t be disappointed.”

Kirkus

“Discoveries about the connections between dragons and humans mix with bone-punk technology, and revelations crash like waves in a satisfying conclusion. This is a good pick for lovers of Victorian fiction or those seeking a novel approach to dragons.”

Publishers Weekly

“[Lady Trent] continues her memoirs of dragon hunting in a gently paced but always entertaining adventure. Fans of Patrick O’Brian’s “Aubrey-Maturin” series protagonist, Stephen Maturin, will appreciate Isabella’s devotion to her studies, and those who like the Victorian feel of steampunk might want to try this variation on the theme.”

Library Journal

“VOYAGE OF THE BASILISK combines grand adventure with fascinating insights into the principles behind a world that could almost be our own.”

Locus

“The third installment in Lady Trent’s series of reflective memoirs does not disappoint. Isabella’s familiar audacity as she circles the globe in search of unfamiliar dragons – with her son by her side, no less – makes for an enchanting story. And the romantic interest she finds in Suhail is a much welcome addition.”

RT Book Reviews

In the Labyrinth of Drakes (#4)
“[A] solid fourth book of the Lady Trent series [...] It’s a time of changes for the main character, but this mix of scientific and fantastic creatures remains in fine form.”

Publishers Weekly

“It is a pleasure to go on another adventure with Lady Trent.”

Library Journal

“This is the fourth of the Lady Trent memoirs, and it’s only fair to note that I’ve been in love — platonic love, but deeply felt — with Dame Isabella (as she is at the beginning of In the Labyrinth of Drakes) since the first chapters of A Natural History of Dragons. The wry, retrospective quality of the first-person narrative and the quasi-Victorian style has an enormous appeal, and so too does the fact that at their heart, these are novels about science, about the love of discovery and the joy and struggle of intellectual work […] Isabella’s inimitable voice and striking character makes Labyrinth of Drakes practically a perfect read: equal parts soothing and stimulating. Personally, I could read about Isabella’s adventures forever, and I hope there are many more Memoirs to come.”

Tor.com

“Once again, the work is a delight. Its most appealing aspect isn’t the genre-bending riffs on genuine events so much as the level-headed outlook that people like Lady Trent bring to both fantasy and romance.”

Locus

“I adore this series for its world building, fascinating characters, strong narrative voice and sense of adventure, and for the dragons of course. Special mention goes to the cover and interior art, which is by Todd Lockwood. The books would be worth purchasing for the covers alone. They fully cement Isabella’s role as a skilled artist and meticulous naturalist in the Victorian style.”

Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

Within the Sanctuary of Wings (#5)
“A thoroughly absorbing conclusion to this refreshingly different and consistently intriguing pentalogy.”

Kirkus, Starred Review

“Brennan delights with this fifth and final memoir…Lady Trent is the perfect heroine for this history-flavored fantasy romp.”

Publishers Weekly

“While fans will be sad to leave the series behind, Lady Trent has earned her retirement.”

Library Journal

“Brennan brings the fifth and final adventure of the fearless Lady Isabella Trent to a conclusion that is perfectly triumphant and absolutely touching.”

RT Book Reviews

Turning Darkness Into Light
“TURNING DARKNESS INTO LIGHT works beautifully as a standalone novel for newcomers to her elaborate, dragon-centric world.”

NPR

“[TURNING DARKNESS INTO LIGHT] will appeal greatly to readers who love science and the simple pleasures of discovery and learning.”

Bibliosanctum

“Like the related series, TURNING DARKNESS INTO LIGHT is perfect for those readers who ap­preciate a light touch, thoughtful characters, and antagonists who almost but not quite topple into one-dimensional props in a melodrama.”

Locus

“TURNING DARKNESS INTO LIGHT stands very well on its own and is a great introduction to the series for new readers.”

The Arched Doorway

“A creative, new book that highlights just how intertwined and important history and storytelling are.”

The Library Ladies

“The intricate use of language makes TURNING DARKNESS INTO LIGHT immersive, fantastical and a credit to the skills and knowledge of Marie Brennan.”

Rachel Read It

“TURNING DARKNESS INTO LIGHT is a fascinating read that immerses you in a world of conspiracy, high stakes, and danger.”

Utopia State of Mind

The Onyx Court

Midnight Never Come (#1)
“Stunningly conceived and exquisitely achieved…”

Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“These are not kinder, gentler faeries. Really they’re not.”

Elizabeth Bear, author of the Locus Award-winning novel HAMMERED and multiple Hugo Award winner

In Ashes Lie (#2)
“Brennan has created a fascinating hidden underworld beneath London, and it’s enhanced by prose that has an elegance perfect for historical fantasy.”

RT Book Reviews

“Marie Brennan juggled complex politics, plague, and fire to great effect in IN ASHES LIE.”

Strange Horizons

“Brennan is a bright new voice in fantasy fiction, and IN ASHES LIE is her best effort yet.”

Sacramento Book Review

A Star Shall Fall (#3)
“Enchanting, fearsome faerie vistas and pinpoint character delineations make Galen’s absorbing quest one to savor and remember.”

Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“Brennan’s historical research is as impeccable as ever, and the twining of the two worlds is the best yet. Fans of the Onyx Court novels, and anyone who enjoys historical fantasy, should like A STAR SHALL FALL.”

Booklist

“An ambitious tale and a pleasing triumph. Wonderful.”

SFFWorld

“This is my favorite of the series so far. The plotting is sharper, the characters are great, and Brennan continues to blend history and magic so smoothly it’s hard to tell where one ends and the next begins.”

Jim C. Hines, Hugo and Writers of the Future Award Winner

“A STAR SHALL FALL is a a marvelous, magical novel that evocatively brings to life 18th Century London through interesting and believable characters and a wealth of historical details.”

David Forbes, author of the bestselling Osserian Saga

With Fate Conspire (#4)
“An absorbing finale to a series that has grown richer with every installment.”

Kirkus, Starred Review

“Series readers and fans of the Tam Lin myth will be captivated by this complex and vibrant depiction of a magical Victorian era.”

Publishers Weekly

“[Brennan’s] characters, both major and minor, are well drawn and memorable. Brennan’s own fans, historical-fantasy fans, and lovers of classic fantasy will find this a must-read.”

Booklist

“Brennan’s characters breathe life into a landscape rich in detail and vibrant with imagination. This title should please fans of Mercedes Lackey’s Elemental Masters series and Elizabeth Bear’s Promethean Age series.”

Library Journal

“For more tales of a London based on history as well as sheer invention, try WITH FATE CONSPIRE and its predecessors. Instead of the old-style fantasy of quests through green fields and dark domains, Brennan makes the most of one extraordinary city.”

Locus Magazine

“…Brennan has taken a level in skill with prose: her writing was good before, but it’s gotten even better […] WITH FATE CONSPIRE is a thoughtfully entertaining dénouement to an excellent series, and all round, a really good book.”

Tor.com

“…if you’re a fan of richly detailed and vivid historical settings, full of old-school fairy magic, then I’d definitely recommend reading them, period.”

Jim C. Hines, Hugo and Writers of the Future Award Winner

Awards & Accolades

Rook and Rose

Doppelganger Duology

The Memoirs of Lady Trent

A Natural History of Dragons (#1)
USA

#8 Locus Magazine bestseller in hardcover

USA

#8 Bookscan hardcover fantasy list

USA

Booklist: “Notable Books Reading List”

USA

GoodReads Choice Awards Semifinalist: “Best Fantasy”

USA

SF Signal: “Favorite SF/F/H Consumed In 2013”

The Tropic of Serpents (#2)
Voyage of the Basilisk (#3)
In the Labyrinth of Drakes (#4)
Within the Sanctuary of Wings (#5)
Turning Darkness Into Light
USA

Den of Geek: “Best New Fantasy Books”