An historical fantasy with bite. This deliciously addictive debut novel from Naomi Novik captures the Napoleonic period perfectly and skillfully layers history with imagination by adding a Dragon Air Force to the battle for England. As Napoleon's tenacious infantry rampages across Europe and his armada lies in wait for Nelson's smaller fleet, the ...
An historical fantasy with bite. This deliciously addictive debut novel from Naomi Novik captures the Napoleonic period perfectly and skillfully layers history with imagination by adding a Dragon Air Force to the battle for England. As Napoleon's tenacious infantry rampages across Europe and his armada lies in wait for Nelson's smaller fleet, the war does not rage on land and water alone. Squadrons of aviators swarm the skies - a deadly shield for the cumbersome canon-firing vessels. Raining fire and acid upon their enemies, they engage in a swift, violent combat with flying tooth and claw! For these aviators ride dragons. Captain Laurence is a satisfied man with a respectable commission aboard the ship Reliant. His career is born from a love for the sea and he takes his duty very seriously Months before the battle of Trafalgar, on patrol in the Atlantic, The Reliant takes a small French frigate, storm-damaged and possessing a fierce crew unwilling to surrender as easily as they should. On board Laurence finds a dragon egg - a great prize as England is in sore need. Having spent months on a slow journey from Asia, the egg hatches. A sinewy new-born emerges from the fragmented shell, ignores his harness-bearer, approaches Laurence and changes his life. Hatchling dragons must be put in a harness immediately otherwise the dragon-young become hard to control - fit only for the breeding colonies. The person chosen to first harness the beast must be an aviator, for the dragon will accept no other captain. The life of an aviator is not a desirable one; reviled by fashionable society, they live hard, lonely lives bound to duty and they frequently die young. Laurence must now join them; duty demands it, though his heart is broken. But, more astonishing than the dragonet - named "Temeraire" by Laurence - are the documents found with him, documents addressed to Napoleon from the greatest, most skilled dragon-breeders in the world - the Chinese. The dragon Temeraire was meant for the Emperor Napoleon himself and promises to grow into no ordinary creature.
Publishers Weekly, 2006-01-23 In this delightful first novel, the opening salvo of a trilogy, Novik seamlessly blends fantasy into the history of the Napoleonic wars. Here be dragons, beasts that can speak and reason, bred for strength and speed and used for aerial support in battle. Each nation has its own breeds, but none are so jealously guarded as the mysterious dragons of China. Veteran Capt. Will Laurence of the British Navy is therefore taken aback after his crew captures an egg from a French ship and it hatches a Chinese dragon, which Laurence names Temeraire. When Temeraire bonds with the captain, the two leave the navy to sign on with His Majesty's sadly understaffed Aerial Corps, which takes on the French in sprawling, detailed battles that Novik renders with admirable attention to 19th-century military tactics. Though the dragons they encounter are often more fully fleshed-out than the stereotypical human characters, the author's palpable love for her subject and a story rich with international, interpersonal and internal struggles more than compensate. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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