I read this about two years ago, I think. I think the novel opens with the scene where the dragons are sinking into swamp to hibernate until it's time (until the magic returns, maybe?). Some time later, there's a woman who wants to study the dragons and their lore, but her father is forcing her into an arranged marriage. She seems to find the ideal man, who encourages her scholarship including financing it (I think he's some sort of trader, and she's buying archaic scrolls, I think in a different language). He's a perfect gentleman, very proper and not pressuring her into sex, and then on the wedding night, he's drunk and forces himself on her. After that, she finds that, no matter how much she tries to gussy up and allure him, he rarely has sex with her, and only when drunk, and generally violent when that happens. Bit by bit, she pieces together the clues of perfumes bought that she never sees, a "hunting lodge" where he retires for prolonged amounts of time, and other unexplained expenses, all of which seem to be happening while his servant, who she trusts implicitly, helps cover things up. Long story short, it's obvious to the reader that this servant is his secret lover, with her being his beard. She gathers all of the evidence together and threatens divorce, whereupon he picks her arguments apart with the help of said servant, who backs up his lies that it's all business and/or a surprise he was planning for her.

Somewhere in there, one of the dragons does wake up, but their hibernation is incomplete, I think with one of the wings not coming back right. Meanwhile, most of the hibernating dragons have been harvested because their bones are a valuable building material. I didn't complete the book, on account of that the storyline with her being so cruelly deceived didn't sit well with me, but I want to say that this was a series.

1 Answer 1


Found it. Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb.

The book opens as a group of sea serpents have nearly finished their long journey upriver to encase themselves so they might hatch into dragons. It is late in the year and the serpents are older than is normal to make the journey. The last known dragon, Tintaglia, is overseeing this journey in the hopes that dragons will be reintroduced to the world. The Rain Wilds Council has agreed to help in exchange for her helping the Rain Wilds people in their war against Chalced. Sisarqua, a queen serpent, struggles to finish her casing and is assisted by Tintaglia.

The captain of the Tarman, Leftrin, comes across a piece of wizardwood, an encased dragon that has been washed away by the river. At first he thinks to sell it for an immense profit, but then decides to use it for his ship to protect it against the acidic river.

Thymara, an 11-year-old girl with claws and scaling, consistent with Rain Wilds defects from birth, goes with her father to watch the hatching of the dragons. She is shocked to find that the new hatchlings are weak and malformed. She communicates with one when her father is almost killed and eaten. Sisarqua has turned into a dragon, naming herself Sintara, and is distraught to realize that her proportions are all wrong and she is not what she should be, and will likely never fly.

Alise Kincarron is a plain, freckled young woman, past the prime age for marriage and suspecting spinsterhood. Most of her time is consumed by her passion for dragons and her studies thereof. She is unsure of the attention she is getting from a handsome local Trader, Hest Finbok. When finally confronting him, he admits that he is not in love with her, but is wishing for a marriage of convenience for both of them. If she can provide him with an heir, he will fund her fancies, including her research of dragons, including a trip to study the hatchling dragons since he had caused her to miss a trip she had already planned to watch them hatch. Agreeing, Alise begins to hope for a real marriage to her handsome suitor, but is desperately disappointed on her wedding night. She learns that the marriage was suggested by her childhood friend, Sedric. She ultimately decides that if she sold herself, she would demand a high price, and begins to use Hest's money freely to pursue her studies of dragons and Elderlings.


Meanwhile, Alise has given up on all efforts to make Hest attracted, or even interested in her, as they have all been met with failure or worse. Hest is displeased with Alise's inability to produce an heir and comes for another one of his unpleasant attempts to impregnate her. When she is unwilling, he rapes her. After the shame of this event, she accuses him of being unfaithful to her, in the hopes of ending their marriage contract, and provides proof in certain things she has noted, such as his luxurious perfumes and a second house that he rents. Hest is furious and demands that Sedric, his secretary and constant companion, confirm his fidelity. Sedric confirms, though it is later revealed to be a lie, as Sedric is, in fact, Hest's lover.

I finally found it with a search on TV Tropes for novel dragons husband gay, which brought up the page for Realm of the Elderlings.

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