It is a grim time for the dragon Temeraire. On the heels of his mission to Africa, seeking the cure for a deadly contagion, he has been removed from military service - and his captain, Will Laurence, has been condemned to death for treason. For Britain, conditions are grimmer still: Napoleon's resurgent forces have breached the Channel and successfully invaded English soil. Napoleon's prime objective: the occupation of London.
Separated by their own government and threatened at every turn by Napoleon's forces, Laurence and Temeraire must struggle to find each other amid the turmoil of war and to aid the resistance against the invasion before Napoleon's foothold on England's shores can become a stranglehold.
If only they can be reunited, master and dragon might rally Britain's scattered forces and take the fight to the enemy as never before - for king and country, and for their own liberty. But can the French aggressors be well and truly routed, or will a treacherous alliance deliver Britain into the hands of her would-be conquerors?
Dragon tales: don't miss the rest of the Temeraire series.
©2008 Naomi Novik; (P)2008 Random House, Inc.
Fantasy and Romance Author
Excellent installment in Novik's alterate-history account of the Napoleonic Wars if dragons had existed and been used by the European and British military forces, as well as a fascinating development of the dragon suffrage and abolitionist themes hinted at in earlier volumes.
The narration is very good, but the end of each audio part was slightly truncated, so that the last sentence was cut off. Luckily, I had a hard copy of the book, and could read the bits I missed, but the gaps were very disappointing in an audiobook.
On Audible since the late 1990s, mostly science fiction, fantasy, history & science. I rarely review 1-2 star books that I can't get through
This book, the fifth of the series, marks an improvement over the rather confused action of the last novel. The story returns to Britain, and to a Napoleonic invasion that must be fought off with the help of the disgraced main character. Where it retains the "Patrick O'Brien meets Jane Austin meets Tolkein" style, this is a more conventional narrative focused much more on warfare, with only brief (and not too convincing) diversions on the politics of England and the nature of honor. Fortunately, the battle scenes are fascinating, and occasionally wrenching, and there is plenty of action to go around.
But even as the action swells, the main drivers of the series, the characters of Temeraire and his captain, Will Laurence, become less dynamic. Will, especially, spends much of the book moping over his "treason" of the previous novel, and generally being cut off from friends and compatriots that have driven the relationships in previous novels.
If you liked the previous novels, this one is also a good read. But, in the end, this book continues the strangely unsatisfying approach the author has adopted - it ends on a cliffhanger, with few of the major issues resolved, and the series promising that the next novel will again take us to another, seemingly randomly decided-upon, far away land in the alternate universe of Temeraire, and thus further from whatever resolution Ms. Novik eventually hopes to achieve.
It's an entertaining story, more so than the previous book. I got hooked on the Temeraire character in the first book so I want to know what happens to him and his captain.
After more or less marathoning these audiobooks you notice when the voice actor has been off doing other things and forgets how to voice a character after he gets back. Many of the voices were different and I had to get used to that. Worse, a couple of voices changed within this novel, and one officer had Angry Temeraire voice. :/
It's still a good story. I will keep listening. If the voices annoy me again, I'll just read the book.
I love the Temeraire series and the performance of narrator Simon Vance. I look forward to more from Naomi Novik.
My favorite in the series. Naomi begins to shift point-of-view to Temeraire occasionally, and that is delightful. His mind is clearly a dragon's and works slightly differently, yet easy to understand and identify and sympathise with. The battles and strategies are great, some of the best I've read and I'm pretty picky about such things. I really don't have anything bad to say.... Yeah, no, I really don't. If you haven't started Temeraire's series yet, start it now, it's worth it.
Fabulous narration by Simon Vance. I've heard the whole series. Was worried this book would be too depressing. Not so. Liked it more than expected. Profound at times, as Laurence deals with ostracism from folks he'd once called friend — or family. But despite the deep injustice and sadness, I often felt good while reading this one. It's heartwarming and mildly amusing in several scenes, offset by desperate bloody battle.
"Colonel Temeraire" of the 81st division steals the show, along with Perscitia the brainiac beast (a mathematically inclined female dragon who plans transportation and battle strategies, despite her personal aversion to warfare). Loved the idea of all these dragons — considered useless — leaving the breeding grounds (old folks home) to serve under Temeraire's command.
I liked the scenes with Lady Allendale and was pleased to see Gong Su again. The fat Lords of the Admiralty were as obtuse and hateful as ever, especially Mulgrave. Wellesley / Wellington seemed fairly realistic. Admiral Jane Roland was in high form throughout the book, too. Her teenage daughter Emily -- always a favorite of mine -- did not disappoint, nor did young Demane and Sipho. Granby and his fire-breathing dragon Iskierka play key roles, as does Tenzin Tharkay. Hoorah for Tharkay!
There are a few battle scenes, most notably the final confrontation with Napoleon, who managed to invade England (a departure from history). The battle formations (squares) felt authentic, despite the surprise (!) in the center, and Wellington's precise timing did not fail. Admiral Lord Nelson plays a key role in the battle, too.
I could have done without the chapter involving Edith and her husband.
The ending is poignant, set during the voyage to New South Wales. Laurence finds peace of mind about his just act of treason and feels nearly overcome with emotion in finding himself surrounded by a few true-blue friends.
This book reminds me of Lord Thomas Cochrane, the historic figure in naval history. The whole series does, in fact.
Now, we wait for the final book. Book 9. League of Dragons, or bust!
Yes. If I listen to the series again, I don't skip books.
Temeraire. This book lets us into his head, and Naomi Novik does an incredible job of making his thought process notably not human. He's almost childlike at points, but never unintelligent.
This book can be difficult. Lawrence is punished for doing the right thing, and he spends this entire book suffering the consequences. While realistic, it can be unsettling to see this, especially when there's no indication that this burden will ever be removed from him.
Following the Penny
I am greatly taken with the characters, especially with the prickly young dragon who is a genius at math and strategy. As in the previous books, the language is eloquent and stirring, ably wielded by an excellent narrator.
The moment when the dragons, led by Temerare, all set off from the breeding grounds to fight against Napoleon as their own unit was particularly stirring.
Perhaps my favorite scene is the one in which Lawrence realizes that Temerare has, in fact, set up his own camp, although the one in which Lizh Huan (sp.???) raises that enormous wave also shines brilliantly for me.
A Dragon's honor knows no compromise.
awesome, awesomer, and awesomest!
This was finally the story I had been hoping for! Novik does a great job of exploring the world of 19th century with dragons in it in all of her books, but this was the book that I stayed up until 3 am to finish! Dragons fighting to save England!
I thought this book did a great job of both bringing together the "dragon's rights" struggles that had begun to simmer in the past books with the struggle to save England for Napoleon's forces as they knocked on the very doorsteps of the country.
Great book, well-written and well read!
University administrator. Commuter cyclist. Dad, husband. Loves books of course. Aspiring Jedi Knight and Warder.
Am really enjoying this series. Novik is an exceptional writer and develops many wonderful characters. Regarding this particular installment, there was lots of aerial action, new interesting characters were added in, there was a compelling storyline and I really like how she treated Captain Lawrence in the story. It deepened this character another degree, which serves to strengthen the overall series.
Everything about this series is very cool - the historical aspect, the intelligent dragons, the human characters, the storyline, the writing and the narration. It's top notch in everyway and this particular story was my fav thus far. Highly recommended.
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