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Literature / Ology Series

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A typical book cover.
The Ology series is a set of picture/puzzle books that are written as an encyclopedic collection of research by fictional authors on various subjects, first begun in 2003. They’re published by Templar Publishing, with the actual authors (who are often cited as being the fictional author’s editors) being Dugald Steer, Emily Hawkins, Raleigh Rimes, and Nicky Raven.

     Books in the series and their spinoffs are: 
  • Dragonology: The Complete Book of Dragons (2003)
    • The Dragon’s Eye
    • The Dragon Diary
    • The Dragon’s Apprentice
    • Working With Dragons
    • Field Guide to Dragons
    • Tracking and Taming Wild Dragons
    • Bringing Up Baby Dragons
    • The Iceland Wyrm
    • The Dragon Star
    • The Dragon Dance
    • The Winged Serpent
    • Dragonology: The Coloring Book
  • Egyptology: Search for the Tomb of Osiris (2004)
    • Wonders of Egypt: A Course In Egyptology
    • Egyptology: The Coloring Book
  • Wizardology: The Book of the Secrets of Merlin (2005)
    • The Wizardology Handbook
    • A Guide to Wizards of the World
  • Pirateology: A Pirate Hunter’s Companion (2006)
    • Pirateology Handbook
    • A Pirate’s Guide and Model Ship
  • Mythology: Greek Gods, Heroes, and Monsters (2007)
    • The Mythology Handbook
  • Monsterology: The Complete Book of Fabulous Beasts (2008)
    • The Monsterology Handbook
    • Working With Monsters
  • Spyology: The Complete Book of Spycraft (2008)
  • Oceanology: The True Account of the Voyage of the Nautilus (2009)
    • A Course In Oceanology
  • Vampireology: The True History of the Fallen Ones (2010)
  • Alienology: The Complete Book of Extraterrestrials (2010)
  • Illusionology: The Secret Science of Magic (2012)
  • Dinosaurology: The Search for a Lost World (2013)
  • Dungeonology (2016)
  • Knightology: A True Account of the Most Valiant Knights (2017)

The series’ website has a shop containing all of the books and its spinoff novels, activity books, and card/board games.

Universal and 20th Century Fox have announced plans to release film adaptations of Dragonology and Alienology, respectively.


Tropes in the series include:

  • Always a Bigger Fish: Monsterology's chapter on aquatic creatures employs this in regard to sea monster food chains. Sea serpents prey on whales, krakens prey on both whales and sea serpents and leviathans happily eat whales, sea serpents and krakens alike.
  • Anachronism Stew: Played with in Dinosaurology; the dinosaurs themselves should probably not be coexisting the way they do. However, the book makes sure to avoid having any of the explorers show knowledge of dinosaurs and prehistoric animals that were not recognized by science before the year the book takes place, although the explorers were able to identify Velociraptor and "Anatotitan" (now Edmontosaurus) despite them not being recognized by science at that time. Strangely, the identical Deinonychus was (properly) described as a creature the likes of which had never been seen before.
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  • And I Must Scream: The witch Vivienne trapped Merlin’s spirit in an oak tree while he was asleep. He stayed like this for years until he managed the get the tree cut down and made into the Wizardology book. It’s implied he’s still in it as you’re reading it.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Many of the books become one of these by the end of the fictional subplot—Captain Lubber of Pirateology has his ship sunken by pirates, in Egyptology Emily Sands’ notes trail off and are splattered with what appears to be a coffee stain, John Oro of Mythology is turned to gold, etc.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: In Monsterology, Ernest Drake denies the existence of the minotaur and the Mongolian death worm despite accepting the existence of griffins, centaurs and gorgons. Throughout the books, he also expresses skepticism on the subject of dinosaurs, which he describes as "rather improbable creatures", although he accepts their former existence in Monsterology.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: Justified In-Universe in Dinosaurology, with the inaccuracies that may appear being Hand Waved as either the results of editing or perhaps mistakes made by the fictional author.
  • Baku: Monsterology includes the baku in the chapter dedicated to terrestrial beasts. It's depicted as tapir-like creature with short elephant tusks, a black coat with large yellow dots, and the paws of a tiger, and is native to Japan and coastal China. While it does not eat nightmares, it's noted to have a profoundly soothing effect on people, similar to that experienced when petting a cat.
  • Basilisk and Cockatrice: Both exist as species of pseduodragons, a term used in the books for creatures related or similar to dragons but that aren't classified among them for whatever reason. Basilisks are notable for three things: being incredibly deadly, having some form of shapeshifting ability, and these being the only concrete things anybody known about them, since people tend not to survive encounters with them. Cockatrices are chicken-reptile hybrids with a deadly poisonous breath. Dragonology depicts them as essentially birdlike wyverns with high, spiked crests and tails that fork into three halfway down their lengths, while Monsterology shows them as more traditional chicken-like creatures with batlike wings and long, slender reptilian tails.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Without knowing the full legend, John Oro of Mythology wished for the Midas touch.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: Yetis are mentioned in Dragonology as a type of mountain apes preyed upon by Tibetan dragons. Both yetis and sasquatches appear in Monsterology, where it states it is unknown if they are bears or apes and are named Ursus saxum and Ursus sasquatchium, more leaning towards bears. The yeti's illustration shows it as a bipedal hominid ape anyway. Monsterology also mentions some of their relatives which includes the Yowie of Australia, the Yeren of China and the Almas of Mongolia.
  • Black Spot: In Pirateology a marooned pirate that Captain Lubber rescues in his hunt for Drummond received one of these foretelling his punishment. Subverted as it turns out he was a plant by Drummond to sabotage the ship, knowing Lubber would rescue the man.
  • Blob Monster: S.L.I.M.E in Alienology, which is also the most dangerous threat known to Space.
  • Breath Weapon:
    • European dragons have the classic fire breath, and marsupial dragons have a weaker flame of their own. Arctic dragons breathe frost instead, while Sargasso dragons spit ink.
    • Among non-dragons, cockatrices can breathe out a fine mist of deadly poison, while a chimera's goat head breathes fire.
  • Classical Chimera: Monsterology depicts chimeras, named Chimera leocapriserpens, as lions with additional goat and snake heads and dragons' tails; they breathe fire from their goat head and are relatives of the Japanese Nue, Chimera japonicus. Their heads have distinct personalities and it takes some time for them to learn how to get along, and inter-head fighting is a major source of infant mortality for chimera chicks.
  • Curse: A priest of Isis warns Emily Sands and her team that the tomb of Osiris is cursed. They don't listen, and that's the last we hear of them.
  • Cyanide Pill: The Spyology gadget section describes a variant where the cyanide is hidden in a hollow silver dollar.
  • Dark Action Girl: Arabella Drummond, a female pirate captain who is the subject of Captain Lubber’s quest in Pirateology.
  • Daywalking Vampire: Vampireology credits the idea that vampires get destroyed by sunlight as a myth.
  • Deserted Island and Lost World: Yannapalu in Dinosaurology.
  • Dragon Hoard: Explained in Dragonology as a dragon’s tendency to rest on hard gems in the hope that they’ll stick to their soft and vulnerable underbellies for protection. The males also use the gems to attract female dragons.
  • Dressed to Plunder: Many of the pirate outfits that Pirateology displays carry some variations on the classic pirate look. Deconstructed—Lubber notes that the more extravagant pirate dress makes them easier to recognize as pirates.
  • Doing In the Wizard: Dragonology and its spinoffs have a tendency to replace mythical creatures more supernatural or wondrous attributes with more down-to-earth explanations.
    • Phoenixes don't actually die and come back to life as people think, but actually bathe in fire to scorch parasites off of their feathers.
    • Bakus, instead of devouring bad dreams and leaving the good ones, are described as simply having a catlike soothing effect on people when stroked.
  • Dragon Hoard: Dragons' hoarding instinct is driven in large part because lying on their hoards presses gems into their soft underbellies, creating a form of armor over these vulnerable areas.
  • Dragon Rider: Dragonology dedicates a short chapter to techniques for riding dragons, something preferably done with the dragon's permission.
  • Endangered Species: Dragons, phoenixes especially (allegedly, the phoenix is so rare that only one is believed to still be alive and its location is a closely guarded secret).
  • Familiar: A section of the Wizardology series is dedicated to detailing what familiars are and the various kinds you can get.
  • Fauns and Satyrs: Fauns are goat-legged and –horned humanoids with pointed ears; they cannot speak, but communicate with a complex system of panpipe melodies.
  • Feathered Dragons: While most of the dragons in Dragonology are either wingless or have traditional membranous wings, the Indonesian subspecies of the eastern dragon are distinguished from the rest by the birdlike wings sprouting from their backs.
  • Feathered Serpent: The Mexican Amphithere in Dragonology. It's thought to be the basis for the deity Quetzalcoatl of Aztec Mythology.
  • Fiery Salamander: Six-legged salamanders appear in both Dragonology and Monsterology. They're immune to fire, and their tongues, or a piece of their skin or of the wool that grows between their toes, can be used in rituals to protect oneself from extreme heat.
  • Flying Broomstick: Mentioned as a method of flight in Wizardology, though Merlin states they’re uncomfortable to sit on and not widely used.
  • Giant Flyer: Dragonology and Monsterology, respectively, have wyverns and rocs as flying creatures of tremendous size, both quite capable of grabbing elephants in their talons and flying off with their catch.
  • The Greys: One of the most prominent races in Alienology. Their entire homeworld has been converted to city, they are capable of speech but prefer telepathy, and they eat only nutritional powder mixed with water.
  • Heel–Face Mole: In Pirateology, the marooned former member of Drummond’s crew.
  • Historical In-Joke:
    • Dragonology and Monsterology frequently reference the work of Charles Darwin when discussing the development of creatures such as dragons and griffons (Dr. Drake having been alive in the time period when his texts were being published). Drake also claims that Archaeopteryx is actually just an ancestor of phoenixes (something confirmed to be false in Dinosaurology).
    • Vampireology claims that certain people from history such as Napoleon Bonaparte and Jack the Ripper are in fact vampires.
    • In Dinosaurology, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World was actually based off of the expedition of Percy Fawcett, the explorer who discovered Yannapalu.
  • Honey Trap: Referenced in Spyology as a tactic used for gaining information.
  • Horse of a Different Color: A number of fantastic creatures are mentioned as possible steeds in the books, including dragons, pegasi and kelpies.
  • Kraken and Leviathan: Both show up in Monsterology; the former is a gigantic squid that preys on whales and sea serpents, while the latter is a vaguely crocodilian beast that lives only in the deepest parts of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and preys on whales, sea serpents and krakens.
  • Lady of Adventure: Lady Hestia in Mythology
  • Leave Behind a Pistol: The castaway that Captain Lubber finds in the Pirateology subplot about pursuing Arabella Drummond was left a pistol with a single shot after he was marooned.
  • Long-Lived: Dragons typically lead very long lives: the shortest-lived, the knuckers and marsupial dragons, still usually top a century of life; European dragons live to three centuries of age, and if Chinese dragons have a maximum lifespan no-one knows what it is.
  • Loose Lips: Spyology warns of this, their motto being "Telling a friend could mean telling the enemy."
  • Magic Carpet: The recommended method of flight for wizards in Wizardology.
  • Magic Staff: Featured in Wizardology as a tool wizards use, although not much is said about them save for that they differ from wands in being more general as to their magical uses.
  • Magic Wand: There is a section of Wizardology that details these among other wizard tools, claiming that the type of magic a wand is good for depends on what sort of wood you use.
  • Meaningful Name: John Oro's last name is the Spanish and Italian word for "gold" — the same material he gets turned into at the end of Mythology.
  • Medusa: Gorgons, native to Europe, Africa and the Americas, resemble human women with huge, batlike wings and snakelike hair. Their gaze is hypnotic rather than petrifying, and they use it to keep prey still while they spray it with poison from their "hair".
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Plenty in Monsterology. Chimeras are lions with additional goat and snake heads and dragons' tails; nues are a Japanese relative of chimeras with catlike bodies, monkey faces and snakes for tails; bakus are tapir/elephant crosses with tiger paws; manticores have lion bodies, human heads and scorpion tails; griffins and hippogriffs, as per usual, have eagle-like front halves and lion- or horse-like, respectively, hindquarters.
  • Mockumentary: Each book is made as a collection of documents and research done by a fictional researcher, such as Dr. Ernest Drake for Dragonology.
  • Multiple Head Case: Hydras typically have three heads, but can have more. Monsterology includes chimeras, with the usual snake, goat and lion heads, and a prehistoric phoenix parasite preserved in amber, which appears to be an insect with two heads.
  • Nue: Monsterlogy describes the nue as an Asian relative of the European chimera, possessing the body of a raccoon dog, the head of a monkey, the paws of a tiger and a snake for a tail. They emit clouds of toxic black smoke when disturbed, which has led people to consider them harbingers of bad luck.
  • Our Centaurs Are Different: Classical centaurs are found in Greece and the lower Balkan Peninsula. They do not use tools as complex as those of even iron age humans, but sometimes craft rudimentary bows.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Dragonology makes a point of noting that there are multiple dragon species and each one is different depending on where you go, such as western dragons being the typical medieval winged beasts, eastern dragons being more serpent-esque and intelligent, wyverns being (somewhat unusually) native to Africa and the largest flying dragons in existence, and Australian dragons being almost marsupial in form.
    • Even among the various types there are multiple localized subspecies of dragons. Western dragons, for instance, are split between three subspecies — the typical kind (which in artwork is shown as either the usual quadrupeds or as theropod-like bipeds), the smaller gargouilles, and the arctic dragons, who migrate yearly between the North and South poles and breathe ice. Eastern dragons are instead split between the five-toed Chinese long, the four-toed Korean yong, the three-toed Japanese ryu and the winged Indonesian dragon. Tibetan dragons are a separate, but physically similar, species adapted for mountain life.
    • More unusual dragons include the highly theoretical South American amphithere subspecies, which may or may not even exist; pseudo-dragons such as basilisks and cockatrices; the three-headed hydras; the arboreal, koala-like Tasmanian dragons; and the aquatic, finned and ink-spitting Sargasso dragons (although Monsterology raises the possibility that the latter is not a true dragon).
    • Numerous extinct variants are also described, such as the human-headed nagas, a South American species of sparrow-sized dragons that were used by settlers as handheld lighters, the egg-throwing monkey dragons (whose strategy of pelting predators with their rock-hard eggs backfired when used against explorers who were likelier to keep the eggs as curios) and Megadracosaurus, a prehistoric dragon of titanic size.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: Monsterology describes both cyclopes and true giants.
    • Cyclopes are colossal, hulking one-eyed humanoids that, despite having had a hand in building the structures of the Minoan civilization of Crete, are only barely sapient brutes nowadays. They can also get very sick from eating humans.
    • Giants are only mentioned in passing, being sapient beings and thus not really a subject for a zoology work, but the one shown resembles a well-dressed British gentleman in every respect other than being over twice the height of a lamppost. Giants are also described as aggressive, but easily outwitted.
  • Our Gnomes Are Weirder: Gnomes are depicted in Monsterology as short, but only around as short as extremely short humans, and physically human-like in other respects. They're nocturnal by nature, and keep bats and moths as pets.
  • Our Gryphons Are Different: Monsterology includes griffins and hippogriffs in its chapter about flying creatures. The former are carnivores with a taste for horses, and are especially fond of the winged kind. The latter are grain-eaters instead.
  • Our Hydras Are Different: Dragonology describes hydras as a species of dragon native to the shores of the Mediterranean and Black Seas, where they lair in the ruins of dead civilizations, and distinguished by their multiple heads (generally between three and seven, but sometimes more), atrophied wings and a bipedal, birdlike stance. In addition to being able to regrow lost heads, the actual severed heads can regrow new hydras of their own — indeed, this is their main way of reproducing. They also feed primarily upon other dragons' young, but are quite happy to eat humans when baby dragons aren't around.
  • Our Manticores Are Spinier: Lions with human heads, three rows of teeth and scorpion tails that can shoot poisonous, invisible barbs.
  • Our Sphinxes Are Different: Monsterology describes sphinxes as lions with either human, hawk or ram heads; any of these three varieties may have wings or be flightless. They greatly enjoy riddles, a trait they share with dragons.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Vampireology describes werewolves as being able to transform at will, having longer lifespans than normal humans, and preferring to prey on livestock and wild animals. Many of them are also vampire hunters, due to the vampires killing many lycanthropes in the past.
  • Our Wyverns Are Different: Wyverns appear as a dragon species in Dragonology, where in something of a break from tradition they're the single largest species of dragon in the world and mainly live in Africa, where they hunt elephants and rhinoceri in much the same manner as eagles hunting marmots.
  • Pegasus: Winged horses are native to the eastern Mediterranean, can be used as steeds and are a favorite food of griffins.
  • The Phoenix: An interesting portrayal of the famous firebird, Dragonology and its spinoffs state that phoenixes are actually dragons, not birds (although they still look an awful lot like birds and are considered true birds in Monsterology). In both cases, rather than being reborn in flames when they die, they simply bathe in fire to get rid of parasites.
  • Pirate Parrot: In the finale of Pirateology, the rescued castaway’s pet parrot flies over to Drummond’s pirate ship.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: John Oro, the one writing in the margins of Mythology, was familiar enough with the legend of Midas to know what power he was gifted with, but not the disastrous results that power gave him.
  • Ptero Soarer: Averted in Dinosaurology, as all of the featured pterosaurs are very accurate (the book even shows pterosaurs launching quadrupedally).
  • Punny Name: Many of the chroniclers have them, such as Dr. Drake from Dragonology, Emily Sands from Egyptology, and Lady Hestia in Mythology.
  • Raptor Attack: Done with mixed success in Dinosaurology.
  • Raised by Grandparents: Standard practice in the culture of the Proboscideans in Alienology.
  • Riddling Sphinx: Sphinxes greatly enjoy riddles, a trait they share with dragons.
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: Some of the attire featured in Wizardology.
  • Roc Birds: Monsterology includes the roc in the chapter dedicated to flying beasts. It's a raptorial bird large enough to carry off an elephant in one talon, is native to the Arabian peninsula, and is noted to have once been confused with the wyvern, the largest dragon in the books.
  • Sea Serpents: The sea serpents in Monsterology combine reptilian and piscine characteristics, possessing mostly snakelike bodies in addition to fishlike fins and gills. They're large enough to prey on whales, but are themselves preyed upon by krakens and leviathans.
  • Science Is Wrong: Merlin claims so in Wizardology, but it’s an interesting variant—the sciences he’s familiar with are alchemy and astrology. One of his criticisms of alchemy is even that lead and gold are base elements and cannot be broken down or transmuted in anything less than a molecular level, something any chemistry scientist would know.
  • Shapeshifter Showdown: The Wizardology book describes one that occurred between Cerridwen, a powerful witch, and Gwion, a servant who gained magical powers by accident. Cerridwen technically won, but Gwion was reborn from the experience and became an incredibly powerful wizard.
  • Shoe Phone: The section in Spyology detailing the various gadgets a spy should carry list common household items as a cover for them. For example, knife shoes, cyanide coins, lipstick gun, etc.
  • Shown Their Work: Dinosaurology makes absolutely sure not to have any of the adventurers name dinosaurs that were not discovered or named before 1907 (the year in which the book takes place). They don't always succeed though.
  • Space Elves: The Tauricans in Alienology resemble graceful, white-haired humanoids with pale green skin.
  • Spell Book: Not Wizardology itself, although it does contain and mention several.
  • Spy Speak: Spyology carries a minibooklet that lists various phrases for this.
  • Stage Magician: Illusionology features these.
  • Stock Ness Monster: Lake serpents, immensely long-lived plesiosaur-like animals found all over the world. Since only one is known to live in any given lake, no one knows how they manage to reproduce.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Arabella Drummond dressed up as Captain Lubber’s cabin boy to spy on him. Her origin story also involves this as a means of escaping into piracy.
  • Taken for Granite: The man borrowing Lady Hestia’s book in Mythology should have looked over the Midas myth a bit more carefully before making that wish...
  • Talking Animal: Dragons are capable of human speech.
  • Talk Like a Pirate: There's a little booklet in Pirateology that lists and defines common pirate lingo.
  • The Mole: Cora appears to be this in Spyology. She’s actually just pretending to be one.
  • Toothy Bird: The phoenix. Justified because it's not a bird at all, but a dragon (although it's a toothless bird in Monsterology).
  • Treasure Map: Lubber finds one in the beginning of Pirateology, but with a vital piece missing it’s basically useless.
  • Unicorn: White, one-horned equines that are docile around girls but nervous and agitated by boys. They are mortal enemies with lions, which when fighting unicorns try to do so close to a tree, at which point they dodge and feint until the unicorn gets its horn stuck in the tree and becomes a sitting duck.
    • Four variants exist: Arabian and Indian unicorns are the traditional lithe, graceful type, being distinguished by the Arabian variant's longer mane and short beard; Sumatran and Serican unicorns are squat, bulky, piglike animals with small horns on their foreheads. Serican unicorns even have small tusks.
    • A phylogenetic tree in the book's introduction shows both the Arabic-Indian species and the Sumatran-Serican species as having evolved from a short-horned, prehistoric unicorn named Plinoceros, itself descended from the real-life prehistoric horse Miohippus and named after Pliny the Elder.
  • Walk the Plank: Lubber mentions it in Pirateology as a rumored method of execution—but goes on to list several punishments that are more common and more horrifying, such as being dragged along the ship’s hull with ropes.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Played with in Monsterology. Sphinxes, cyclopes, fauns, centaurs and gorgons are listed as man-like beasts and mostly described as intelligent animals, despite sphinxes being noted as highly intelligent and capable of speech, cyclopes being credited with having built ancient Cretan ruins and fauns and centaurs both crafting and using complex tools. Giants and gnomes, by contrast, are noted to be as intelligent as humans and only given cursory descriptions, as the narrator says that a zoology book isn't the right place to talk about them.
  • Winged Humanoid: The Hadeans in Alienology.
  • Wizard Classic: Merlin himself in the Wizardology series. This is said to be the standard for a lot of Western wizards, although many variations exist in other cultures.
  • Youkai: Monsterology includes bakus and nues in the chapter dedicated to terrestrial beasts.
    • Bakus are tapir-like creatures with short elephant tusks, a black coat with large yellow dots, and the paws of a tiger, and native to Japan and coastal China. While they do not eat nightmares, they're noted to have a profoundly soothing effect on people, similar to that experienced when petting a cat.
    • Nues are creatures found only in very remote areas of Japan, with the heads of monkeys, the bodies of a tanuki (raccoon dogs), the legs of tigers and a snake for a tail. They emit black venomous clouds from behind when disturbed, causing many to assume that they are omens of bad luck.
  • Yowies and Bunyips and Drop Bears, Oh My:
    • Bunyips are amphibious, mammalian ambush predators native to Australia.
    • Yowies are mentioned in Monsterology but are not actually shown. They are marsupial relatives of yetis and bigfoots with red eyes and large canine teeth.


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