Buy this book at
To Past Reviews Index
Back to Last Page


Naomi Novik

Average Review Rating Average Rating 9/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Voyager

Published : 2006

Copyright : Naomi Novik 2006

ISBN-10 : HB 0-007-21909-1
ISBN-13 : HB 978-0-007-21909-4

Publisher's Write-Up

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.

Column Ends


Reader Reviews

Why not Submit a Review your own Review for this book?

Review by Chrissi (100206) Rating (9/10)

Review by Chrissi
Rating 9/10
What can I say? I loved it - I'm a bit of a sucker for sentient beings, and a talking dragon is a fabulous one. Captain Laurence does not plan to become an aviator, he is a naval man, but when his ship overcomes a french frigate which is carrying a dragon egg, and the dragon takes to him, he is given no choice. Dragons are a rare and important part of the arsenal preventing Napoleon from invading England although the life of those who fly with them lacks the distinction of his present position of a naval captain.

He names the dragonet Temeraire after a distinguished ship and after dealing with his resentment at the choice he has had to make, he and Temeraire become close. Temeraire's lineage is unknown but it is known that the Chinese Dragon breeders value intelligence over weapon-like attributes, and this becomes obvious when Temeraire and Laurence spend time together reading books on all sorts of subjects. It is these moments, with the two sitting quietly that are really quite special – initially Laurence feels isolated from his naval companions until he and Temeraire develop their relationship.

Upon arriving in England, on his way with Temeraire to the Training School, he visits his family home at Woollaton Park. I could visualise this scene - it is strange when you come across a place that you know, and (us both being from Nottinghamshire) we know Woollaton, having been there on class outings and family walks. It is a lovely place, whether Naomi Novik has visited it I don't know but it added a certain something for me.

Once Laurence and Temeraire arrive at the Training place in Scotland, he enters a new and different society, with people who feel that it is improper that he should have come by Temeraire without any training or experience. It is a difficult time for Laurence and Temeraire who find it hard to settle to flying drills and tests after their previous freedoms at sea.

It is the flying scenes that have left an impression - as we see the relationship developing, there are moments when you are so happy for the two of them. When they first fly together, and Laurence, initially so morose, whoops with ungentlemanly fervour, or when Temeraire shows his true capabilities, it is written so well that you just want to carry on reading.

I finished this very quickly because I didn't want to put it down, and when I finished I felt bereft. I can't wait for the next instalment of their adventures. I sincerely hope that there will be many more.
Chrissi (10th February 2006)

Back to Top of Page
Column Ends