Monday, March 4, 2013

Bastard Giveaway & Excerpt: A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

Don't know why, but this book has piqued my interest despite it seeming to be outside of what I usually care to read. Not sure how I'll find it, but the little I've sampled and the reaction I've seen around leads me to believe that chances are I'll enjoy it. All of this to say that you shouldn't pass on the opportunity to grab one of three hardcover copies provided by Tor of A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent from author Marie Brennan, which was published a month ago. It appears to be a novel that should attract fantasy and historical fiction readers alike.
You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart—no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon’s presence, even for the briefest of moments—even at the risk of one’s life—is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten. . . .
All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day.
Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever.

In the meantime, I've been provided an excerpt to share with you guys. I was given a choice of about five, and naturally I decided to pick the one that had some action in it. The book has some illustration within it too by Todd Lockwood as you can see a sample below, and he's also responsible for the cover art. Don't forget about the giveaway at the end of the post.

An excerpt from A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent from author Marie Brennan:
Closing the book, I turned in my seat and reached over the back of the wagon-bench to stow it in a pack that would all too soon prove whether it was as waterproof as advertised or not.
            As I did so, a gust of shockingly cold air pulled at my sleeves, and ice stung my face. Wondering if we were in danger of hail, I looked up.
            I have little recollection of the next several seconds. Just a moment of frozen staring, and then -- with no transition -- my voice shrieking “Get down!” as I wrapped my arms around my husband and dragged him forward, off the wagon bench.
            Two other screams overlaid my own. One, high-pitched and awful, came from our driver as claws snagged him off the wagon and into the air. The other, lower but more terrible, came from above, as the dragon plummeted from the clouds and raked over our heads.
            Jacob and I landed in the wagon traces, the reins and harness tangling our limbs while the horses shied and whinnied their terror. Being on the outside, I tumbled free first, and cried out to see the wagon lurching forward, my husband still caught within. He fell a moment later, directly beneath the wagon, and the wheels passed close enough to leave a track across his coat.
            I crawled toward him, hearing shouts from all around us. Frantic glances skyward showed me nothing; the dragon had vanished again. From the slope ahead, though, came the agonized groans of our driver. Just as I reached Jacob, a loud noise cracked the air: a gunshot, as one of the other drivers fired off the rifle he carried against highwaymen or wild animals.
            Wild animals. I had not, until that moment, put dragons in that class. I had thought them something apart.
            “Stay down, Isabella,” Jacob said, shielding me with his own body. I crouched in his shadow, and realized quite irrelevantly that my bonnet had gone astray. The wind was very cold in my hair.
            A great flapping, as of sails: the dragon, though we could not see it. Looking under Jacob’s arm, I saw Lord Hilford put out a hand and stop his driver, who would have fired at the sound. With nothing to see, there was no point in wasting the shot.
            Then suddenly there was something to see. Several shots rang out, and I swallowed the protest that tried to leap free of me. This was no vulnerable runt in a menagerie. The dragon was huge, its wingspan far larger than a wagon, with stone-grey hide and wings that kicked up dust with every beat. The guns fired, and the beast made a dreadful noise, aborting its stoop on us and climbing rapidly for the sky. Clouds enveloped it once more, and we waited.

Participants have to be 18 years of age or older to participate. Void where prohibited by law. Giveaway rules are subject to change. 

Giveaway will be for 3 hardcover copies of A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent from author Marie Brennan provided by Tor.

The giveaway is open US and Canada shipping addresses only. It will run from March 4, 2013 until 11:59 pm ET on March 15, 2013.

How to participate:
  • To participate simply log-in into to the Rafflecopter and "Enter" through the easy entry.
  • One entry per person, or face disqualification.
  • Entries accepted until 11:59pm ET on March 15, 2013.
  • There'll be 3 winners total for one hardcover copy of A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent each.
  • Will have to confirm email to be considered a winner within 48 hours.
  • Additional entries may be had by following the steps provided in the Rafflecopter instructions, and only by doing those steps. 
  • Winners will be chosen by random selection using the Rafflecopter.
As always, good luck everyone and make sure to enter the Kalimpura by Jay Lake giveaway too.