Monday, June 9, 2008

His Majesty’s Dragon (Book 1 – Temeraire Series) by Naomi Novik

Ms. Novik started this series back in 2006, and is still going strong with book five, coming out in July 2008. The book is set during the Napoleonic wars, and it is alternative history/fantasy, because in this universe the history is given a new twist – with dragons existing and even being used in warfare by England and other European nations. Will Laurence is a Captain in the British Navy, but his station changes when his ship captures a French ship carrying a dragon’s egg. Dragons are matched at birth with their “trainers” and the fledging dragon chooses Laurence. Now he’s forced to become a member of the British Aerial Corp, but he finds his new status more than acceptable once he realizes what it’s like to be a dragon trainer, an “aviator”. Although the flying is exciting, Laurence’s principal gain is finding out how creative and endearing dragons actually are, and soon he can’t imagine being without Temeraire, as he has named him. Novik does a wonderful job of sustaining our interest both in Temeraire’s development and in the plot, which is predictable only in its unpredictability. I am hooked on the series, having started on Book 3, and am now reading them in order. Novik is enamored of history, particularly this period, and has woven the details of dragon warfare to mesh skillfully with the actual mechanics of war at that time. I’d love to hear from others regarding your reaction to the series.

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