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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a wonderful read
I got this book, mainly because amazon seemed insistant on recommending it to me constantly. But I am very glad that I did.

Not only is this an incredible story, with some great characters that you cannot help but love from the outset, it is also rather heartwarming. The relationship between Laurance and his dragon, Temeraire, is just so special. The only other...
Published on 9 Aug 2010 by Larewen Evenstar

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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun, but perhaps a little too disposable.
Temeraire is an epic fantasy/alternate history crossbreed novel by Naomi Novik, first published in 2006. Confusingly, it is also the first novel of the Temeraire series, an open-ended series which now encompasses five volumes with several more on the way. In the USA, possibly more sensibly, it is called His Majesty's Dragon.

The Napoleonic Wars are raging...
Published on 16 July 2008 by A. Whitehead


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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a wonderful read, 9 Aug 2010
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This review is from: Temeraire (Temeraire 1) [a.k.a. His Majesty's Dragon] (Paperback)
I got this book, mainly because amazon seemed insistant on recommending it to me constantly. But I am very glad that I did.

Not only is this an incredible story, with some great characters that you cannot help but love from the outset, it is also rather heartwarming. The relationship between Laurance and his dragon, Temeraire, is just so special. The only other relationship I have read like it is that between Fitz and Nighteyes in Robin Hobb's Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies, and that was a perfect relationship, so for Laurance and Temeraire to come close (for me anyway) that is something special.

Each of the dragons and characters have their own personalities as well. In some stories I've read, dragons often get lumped with the same generic persona, but here they have as much personality, if not more, than the humans.

Temeraire himself is just lovely! He is just so pure and true that I couldn't help but love him! Simple things like his excitement over a sparkly trinket or getting a bath are just fantastic little additions to this story.

Laurance, being the main character, is also rather charming. In the first few pages, I wasn't sure about him, but then his personality really began to shine through once Temeraire hatches, and I loved him from then on.

What I also enjoyed was the fact that there is a distinct lack of over-complicated phrases to do with sailing or war, everything is kept to a good, understandable minimum, making it easy to follow, but still very realistic.

I was dubious about 'Temeraire' as I'm not usually a fan of books like this, where the author has taken an event in the past, and changed it for fantasy purposes, in this case putting dragons into the battle against Napoleon. But Novik certainly pulls this off without a hitch!

Another thing I worried about, before reading this book, was the perhaps the opening would be far too long, given the descriptions on the backs of books usually tell you roughly what will happen, but usually turn out to be telling you what happens once you get about a third of the way into the book, I was worried that we would have to wait at least 100 pages before the dragon hatched. But luckily I only had to wait a few pages, as you are thrown right into the story, just after the battle where Laurance's crew manage to get the dragon egg from the French, so no waiting around, which was excellent!

I really look forward to reading the other books in this series, as I have high hopes for them given how much I enjoyed this one! Highly recommended!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Regency dragons - irresistible!, 15 Jan 2006
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As a huge fan of Anne McCaffrey's Pern novels, as well as the much under-rated Georgette Heyer's beautifully observed Regency novels, I found this story charming and absorbing. Temeraire himself is quite delightful, the book is well-written and easy to read and I think fans of C.S. Forester's 'Hornblower' would also be intrigued by this unusual mix of naval battles and dragons. There is plenty of action, but not too much to put off those of us not entirely enthralled by battle scenes. Well worth reading; I can't wait for the sequel!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly, I really liked it!, 18 Jun 2012
This is the story of a somewhat `stiff upper lipped' (but very likable) sea captain in the British navy during the Napoleonic wars who somewhat unwittingly becomes the keeper and `aviator' of a very intelligent Dragon. In his world, there has been a long history (since pre Roman times) of dragon breeding largely for military purposes. Dragons can talk and many are at least as intelligent as their keepers. Temaraire is Captain Laurence's extraordinary dragon and he is equally likable.
I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed this book, which I bought on offer for 99 pence (kindle edition). The author creates a wholly convincing fictional world in which the main characters really come to life. The archaic style of language and the sensitive treatment of both humans and dragons added to the mystique and I had trouble putting the book down. The author showed considerable skill in developing both the characters and the plot and the book has a very satisfying ending - unlike some works such as the Game of Thrones books which never seem to reach a resolution. I rather fancy that this book would make an excellent 3D movie (like Avatar)- Wake Up Hollywood! I will keep my eye out for more works by this author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly imagined and utterly compelling, 3 Jan 2012
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Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
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When Captain Will Laurence seizes a French warship during the Napoleonic Wars he has no idea how his life will change - for the French are carrying a rare dragon's egg out of which hatches Temeraire who will have only Laurence himself for his owner.

I really fell in love with this book: from the moment Temeraire hatched, stood up on his hindlegs and spoke to Laurence with his mix of whimsicality and inquisitiveness I was completely hooked. Novik has created a wonderfully solid world, part Jane Austen and Patrick O'Brien (Laurence reminded me particularly of Captain Wentworth in Austen's Persuasion), and part Tolkein. I particularly liked the way she doesn't bother with loads of backstory or explanation, simply drops us into a world in which speaking dragons as war machines are quite normal, and leaves us to find our feet.
Most of all I love the characterisation in the book: the dragons have personality as much as the humans and I was literally laughing out loud at some of Temeraire's remarks, as well as moved to tears (Levitas).

This is the first of a six book series, and so has a leisurely approach to plot. We see Laurence struggle as he abandons his naval career to become a dragon aviator, his and Temeraire's military training and, most of all, the growth of their relationship. That said, there are some gripping action sequences, and the whole thing is lightened by Novik's wonderful prose and immense imagination. I never struggled to believe anything in the novel's world and was utterly absorbed throughout.

I don't read much fantasy (although this is a difficult book to categorise) but I absolutely loved this - I had to buy the next two books in the series before even finishing this, it's that compelling. So, whatever the genre, this is a brilliant feat of storytelling - highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hornblower with dragons, 14 Nov 2009
This review is from: Temeraire (Temeraire 1) [a.k.a. His Majesty's Dragon] (Paperback)
Set in an alternate history where dragons are a vital weapon in military conflicts, Captain William Laurence's life changes forever after he finds an egg on board a captured French frigate. The egg hatches into a dragon named Temeraire who will only accept Laurence as its rider. Duty compels Laurence to leave the Navy, give up any chance of having a family and join the Aerial Corps where he must adjust to life with an inquisitive, fiercely intelligent dragon and the less formal structure of the Corps, which allows women in its ranks and even has a dragon instructor. As Laurence slowly forms friendships with Captain Roland (a scarred female captain and mother to one of the Corps' cadets) and Hollin (a member of Temeraire's ground crew), England is threatened by the superior numbers of Napoleon's dragon forces and soon Laurence and Temeraire find themselves playing a key role in the country's defence.

There is much to enjoy in this book. The concept of using dragons as aeronautical ships (complete with crews and gunmen latched on with harnesses) is well depicted and Novik's aeronautical battles are vivid and exciting. Also well handled is the relationship between Laurence and Temeraire, the latter having a child-like quality without ever falling into tweeness. In fact the only jarring note is Laurence's constant use of "my dear" when addressing Temeraire, a form of address that doesn't quite ring true.

Unfortunately, the other relationships in the book lack the same depth and there is little real story beyond the relationship between master and dragon. For example, a storyline establishing Laurence's romantic understanding with Edith is dispensed with in a cursory fashion, while the arrival of a French rider called Choiseul plays out in too predictable a manner. The only sub-plot that holds any punch involves Rankin, a captain who deprives his dragon Levitas of love and kindness and who comes into conflict with Laurence as a result.

Novik's writing style apes 19th century literary style and her research creates an authentic period feel. However there's some serious semi-colon abuse in the opening half of the book, which frequently threw me out of the text and at times the descriptions of all the types of dragon was confusing.

The book ends with a set-up for the next in the series, and there's enough enjoyment to be derived from the story for me to read on.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderfully Imaginative Debut, 9 Oct 2006
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C. Green "happily low brow" (Quenington, Glos, UK) - See all my reviews
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Temeraire, the story of the titular dragon and his captain, a former officer in the Royal Navy, fighting for Britain during the Napoleonic Wars in an alternative reality where dragons are commonplace, is a wonderful debut from Naomi Novik.

It is both exciting and emotional, with the characters, both human and draconian, good and bad, given real personalities so that you come to care about them and their respective fates. Novik also makes a good stab at writing in a style that feels simultaneously contemporary and right for the period she is writing about. She doesn't always pull it off but comes close and deserves plaudits for the attempt.

She also makes the wise decision not to mess with history too much. Despite this being a world where dragons roam the skies events do not differ to greatly from our own reality. Trafalgar still happens and Napoleon still rules much of Europe. Some might complain that this seems a little unlikely in a world where powerful dragons fight on both sides, but Novik clearly shows how the presence of these huge beasts, whilst important, isn't so decisive that it can change history entirely.

She also works hard to build a developed canon of dragon lore, revealing their place in history and how they and those who fly them fit into both military and civilian society without disturbing the plot with huge chunks of background information. The army of English dragons, named the Royal Air Service, also has a sense of reality to it, despite its fantastical nature, Novik having cleverly drawn upon the experiences of early RAF pilots and the negative attitudes of the other armed services to them during the early 20th Century to lend her world a sense of versimlitude.

If there are flaws to the book they are minor. Sometimes the pace goes slightly off the boil, with the plot jumping from episode to episode whils truncating substantial periods of time. The final confrontation between the air armadas of France and England also feels somewhat rushed despite its significance and its magnitude.

Overall however, this is a confident, well crafted debut. I am not surprised that Peter Jackson, director of the Lord of the Rings films, has chosen to option the rights to it. It would make a spectacular film but also has the necessary depth of character not to be yet another empty fantasy epic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Temeraire is a Star!, 14 Aug 2014
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I have wanted to read this for a while as I have heard a lot of good things about the series. It is my first book by Naomi Novik. What a great combination of fantasy, historical fiction and alternate history! With dragons!

I have only read one book before which was military based and I didn't like it that much but it was set in more modern times. But this book, set during the Napoleonic wars, I found really interesting. During these wars (in reality), no country had aerial squadrons which left battles to be fought at sea and on the ground but having dragons as part of the armed forces in this book gave the war a very different dynamic and obviously changed the course of the battles.

The story focuses on Laurence, a Captain in the British Navy who upon “winning” a French battleship in a fight, took possession of not only the ship but also what was on it including a dragon egg. So it hatches out and they need to put a harness on it as quickly as possible to “tame” it. After drawing lots as to who would do this, they wait for the dragon to hatch. And just like a cat, the dragon chooses who it wants to be as his rider/owner rather than the guy who was chosen by lots.

So from esteemed Navy Captain to Dragon Corp Captain, Laurence names his dragon Temeraire. Oh and I forgot to say that Temeraire is a talking dragon! Which I love! He is the true star of this book for so many reasons. Obviously, not being born to the Corp and Temeraire not being a native breed to England, both face difficulties trying to integrate themselves in to life in the Corp.

The book is set during the Napoleonic War and Naomi Novik sure seems to know her stuff on this time period and does a great job at setting the scene and showing us what it would have been like at sea and at home during those battles. I loved the aerial battle scenes as well as the training drills for the dragons and their crews.

I have to say that I loved every minute of this book and I have added it to my Favourites shelf. I am very eager to continue on with the series and I can’t wait to hear more from Temeraire.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brief and Unimportant spoilers about a brilliant book, 18 July 2014
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I love this book! Mainly because I am a fan of: Georgette Heyer (novels set in the 18th century that have a very polite and proper style of conversation/prose); of history; and of fantasy novels, particularly ones with dragons. Therefore this book perfectly combines these three elements.

Temeraire is set in the Napoleonic wars in Britain (which as far as I can tell this book is fairly historically accurate) with an added twist: Britain and France had dragons to fight with as well for an aerial corps.

A naval officer, Laurence, finds an egg on a captured french ship right at the very beginning which hatches and begins the beautiful loving friendship between the intelligent and a rare breed of dragon, Temeraire, and him.

The book is exceedingly well written, engaging, doesn't drag on, has lovely characters and relationships between them all and even has unexpectedly deep and meaningful social and philosophical commentary on things in the time period and the human nature as a whole.

Highly recommend this book, even though there is no romance to speak of (which would normally bother me), but this book was so good it didn't need it and the only relationship it needed was the wonderful companionship it had between Temeraire and Laurence.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Horatio Hornblower with added dragons., 29 Mar 2006
This is an intelligent historical fantasy with heart. It's undoubtedly the most original dragon book I've had the pleasure to read, and one of the very finest historical fantasies around. Novik's prose is clean, accessible and evocative, and she effortlessly evokes a world which is both strange and familiar; her period details are consistent and convincing and will delight readers of historical fiction (or viewers, for that matter - 'Hornblower', 'Master and Commander' etc), and so it's all the more startling and delightful to find dragons, that stalwart of fantasy fiction, smack bang in the centre of the novel. Novik blends the genres masterfully; she takes this glorious, outrageous 'what if' and runs with it, and all the nuances of her universe are so convincing that one's disbelief is very swiftly suspended, and one gets lost in the triumphs and tribulations of the characters (one of whom just happens to be large and scaley).
Temeraire himself is entirely charming and disarming, and Novik delineates the characters of the other dragons (of varying skills and intellects) beautifully. The story of how he and his rider ajust to their new existence is thoroughly engaging in and of itself (yes, at one point I did have to resort to tissues in an effort to salvage my mascara), but it still leaves one looking forward to the next book.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun, but perhaps a little too disposable., 16 July 2008
By 
A. Whitehead "Werthead" (Colchester, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Temeraire (Temeraire 1) [a.k.a. His Majesty's Dragon] (Paperback)
Temeraire is an epic fantasy/alternate history crossbreed novel by Naomi Novik, first published in 2006. Confusingly, it is also the first novel of the Temeraire series, an open-ended series which now encompasses five volumes with several more on the way. In the USA, possibly more sensibly, it is called His Majesty's Dragon.

The Napoleonic Wars are raging across Europe, but this is not the history we are familiar with. Dragons exist in this world and most nations have harnessed them to be used as weapons of war. Captain Will Laurence of the Royal Navy wins a great coup for Britain when he captures a French vessel transporting a rare Chinese dragon egg to Napoleon. The egg hatches and the newborn dragon immediately bonds with Will, to his consternation. Once a dragon has chosen its rider, the bond cannot be severed and Will has to give up his career in the navy to train as a dragon-rider.

The rest of the novel follows Will as he learns the basics of serving in Britain's aerial corps and bonds with the young Temeraire, who rapidly grows to maturity, before taking part in a series of engagements with Napoleon's forces culminating in the Battle of Trafalgar and a French aerial assault on the British coast.

Temeraire is a fun read. It's light but enjoyable. Novik paints her characters with a light touch, and after numerous recent dark and gritty fantasies it's something of a relief to read something that is enjoyable and amusing without being drenched in blood every five pages. Conversely, this makes the book something of a popcorn read: a somewhat disposable product. There's some fairly broad characterisation going on and some of the background doesn't make sense (it's still unclear to me why aviators are considered the scum of the earth compared to soldiers and naval crew), not to mention some fairly wince-inducing, Eddings-esque dialogue between the aviators and their dragons. However, that tends to get forgotten when the muskets start blazing and French and British warships are pounding away at one another with giant lizards battling one another far above, which is all splendidly exciting and well-realised. Given Novik's background in computer programming, it's appropriate to describe the Temeraire concept as an obvious 'killer app', and it's no surprise it was rapidly snapped up for a movie adaption by Peter Jackson (it would be interesting if Smaug in the upcoming Hobbit movie adaption turns out to be a prototype for the dragons in the Temeraire move to follow).

Temeraire (***) may be fluff, but it's fun and easy to read, and I really need to get around to reading the sequels, but as I said with so many other, meatier books around it's easy to forget about this series.
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Temeraire (Temeraire 1) [a.k.a. His Majesty's Dragon]
Temeraire (Temeraire 1) [a.k.a. His Majesty's Dragon] by Naomi Novik (Paperback - 6 Aug 2007)
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