Book Cover
Title His Majesty's Dragon
Author Naomi Novik
Cover Art Dominic Harman
Publisher Ballantine Books - 2006
First Printing Ballantine Books - 2006
Book Cover
Title Throne of Jade
Author Naomi Novik
Cover Art Dominic Harman
Publisher Ballantine Books - 2006
First Printing Ballantine Books - 2006
Book Cover
Title Black Powder War
Author Naomi Novik
Cover Art Dominic Harman
Publisher Ballantine Books - 2006
First Printing Ballantine Books - 2006
Book Cover
Title Empire of Ivory
Author Naomi Novik
Cover Art Dominic Harman
Publisher Ballantine Books - 2007
First Printing Ballantine Books - 2007
Book Cover
Title Victory of Eagles
Author Naomi Novik
Cover Art ---
Publisher Del Rey - 2009
First Printing Del Rey - 2008
Book Cover
Title Tongues of Serpents
Author Naomi Novik
Cover Art Dominic Harman
Publisher Del Rey - 2011
First Printing Del Rey - 2010
Book Cover
Title Crucible of Gold
Author Naomi Novik
Cover Art ---
Publisher ---
First Printing 2012
Category Alternate history
Warnings None
Main Characters Temeraire, Captain William Laurence, Lieutenant Granby, Lung Lien, Iskierka
Main Elements Dragons
Website temeraire.org




Click to read the summaryHis Majesty's Dragon

Click to read the summaryThrone of Jade

Click to read the summaryBlack Powder War

Click to read the summaryEmpire of Ivory

Click to read the summaryVictory of Eagles

Click to read the summaryTongues of Serpents




Saw the books covers in the store and knew I had to have them, even if the stories were terrible I could at least put the books on display. But I had to admit, an alternate history involving dragons sounded fascinating, as indeed it was.

The setting is unique, like no other dragon tale I've read before. I either expected the battle dragons to be simple beast of burden, or to be something along the lines of Anne McCaffrey's Pern. Pern is the best comparison, but though the dragons bond to their captains when hatched, they still have freedom of will, can take new captains when their previous one dies (which does occur since some dragons live hundreds of years), and could potentially reject their captain if they so choose. Dragons also vary in intelligence, from those who can learn higher mathematics, to those who can do little more than vocalize their desire for cow. But across the board, they are all fiercely loyal to their captains and crew, and they to them. Yes crew. Unlike Pern, with one dragon, one rider, these dragons are so big they carry an entire crew and equipment attached to a harness. The crews board each other, drop bombs, shoot rifles, like aerial warships with fangs and talons.

Two of the characters stand out, while the others except for Granby fade into the background. I love Temeraire. Even if you don't like anything else in the book you have to love a creature big enough to carry 300 men strapped to his back while still maintaining a childlike naivete. On the other hand he is highly intelligent, picking up languages with astounding skill. One must remember that by the end of the third book, Temeraire is barely a year old, he has a lot to learn before becoming wise. His Captain Laurence is the definition of a Victorian seaman. Honour and propriety take up a lot of his worries, often concerned that his clothes weren't clean enough to be presentable. But he's not vain, he's just...Victorian, of a good family.

The Aerial Corps was considered an undesirable job. Much better to become a sailor, at least you can still come to shore from time to time, have a family, and stay home when there is no war. But once you've got a dragon, you can't exactly keep him in the backyard. And he needs daily care and maintenance, no "shore leave" allowed. Thus Laurence was quite appalled at having to be the one to sacrifice his future, and even his name, for the sake of bonding with this dragon and help defend his country.

But he has a lot to learn about dragons. As did we.

And that is just the first book. Now I'm not sure every part of every book was exactly plausible, and I will admit to my ignorance about the details of the Napoleonic Wars, so can't comment on how well Novik weaved dragons into the actual historical events. Lots of battles to keep the action going, though I for one enjoy the time Laurence and Temeraire spend together. The black dragon's curiosity knows no bounds.

On occassion, the story can get a bit hectic, with Temeraire flying halfway around the world in a matter of weeks. Makes you tired just thinking of it. Fortunately those parts were generally interspersed with more relaxing moments so one can catch their breath.

These are some of the best books I read this year. I'm looking forward to the movie that is in the works (by the makers of The Lord of the Rings no less, so definitely has potential) as well as the other two books I haven't acquired as yet. Do you like dragons and love historical novels? Then you simply HAVE to read this series.


August 2011
I've now read the two most recent books and I've changed my mind a little about this series. While I previously gave rave reviews, I find I'm losing interest. I actually read Victory of Eagles a while ago, and now that I'm update this page, I discovered I couldn't remember a thing that happened int it. I could recall the events of the previous book, Empire of Ivory, but nothing of this one except how it ended...if it weren't for that I would have assumed I hadn't even read it. Not a good sign. On the other hand, while Tongues of Serpents had a slow start, I found that by the end of it I was kind of looking forward to the next book to see what would happen. Hopefully that is a sign that Crucible of Gold, which will come out next year, will continue to improve again so I can once more rave about this series.




Posted: December 2008

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