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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thankfully book seven puts this series back on track.
It has been almost two years since the last book in this series, Tongues of Serpents (Temeraire 6), was released and yet Naomi Novik appears to jump from the last sentence of that book directly to the first sentence of this one. Readers who are unfamiliar with the previous Temeraire novels will probably be quite lost. It would help greatly if a reader were familiar with...
Published on 18 Mar 2012 by J. Lesley

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite Gold...but still worth reading
Review:
As per the last book tongues of Serpents this book lacks something that the early books had, i dont know if there is some missing passion for the character (but i doubt that), is it a lack of knowledge of the local setting of the book or is there some distraction due to the Movie? What ever it is the lack of true passion in the book shows for me in the...
Published on 13 Mar 2012 by Parm


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thankfully book seven puts this series back on track., 18 Mar 2012
By 
J. Lesley "(Judy)" (United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
It has been almost two years since the last book in this series, Tongues of Serpents (Temeraire 6), was released and yet Naomi Novik appears to jump from the last sentence of that book directly to the first sentence of this one. Readers who are unfamiliar with the previous Temeraire novels will probably be quite lost. It would help greatly if a reader were familiar with at least the first novel in the series, Temeraire (Temeraire 1) [a.k.a. His Majesty's Dragon], to understand the culture of a world where dragons not only exist, but are used as a military weapon. However, by reading on into this novel any reader will pick up (although possibly very slowly) the different characteristics each dragon has and the relationship between dragon and man as well as man and governmental agency. It might help to know that the dragons of the English fleet are obtained as eggs and a specific person is designated to be with that egg as it hatches because of the attachment formed by the young dragon to that specific person. The human becomes the dragon's captain and therefore must be an aviator. A dragon can weigh anywhere from 10 to 30 tons. In this telling of the battles with Napoleon dragons on both sides of the conflict play an enormous role.

In this story Will Laurence and Temeraire have settled down and are living and farming in New South Wales, Australia, since Laurence was removed from the service for treason. Instead of hanging, he was transported to Australia. All of those adventures took place in previous novels. Now an emissary has been sent to re-instate Laurence to his original rank of Captain because he, his dragon Temeraire, and two other dragon teams are being sent to Brazil to try to negotiate with that country to keep them from siding with Napoleon in the war which is still raging. Before arriving in South America the group has to endure shipwreck, abandonment on a deserted island, and mutiny.

The writing of this novel is as superb as I think it has been in the previous stories. It is indeed a fascinating concept to think of dragons being able to talk, reason through problems, vote, and fight for their country. I had found that the last several books were not nearly as exciting and interesting to me so I'm glad I took a chance and decided to read this next novel in the series. It looks like author Naomi Novik is right back on track. As usual there is not a finale with this story because it will pick right back up in book number eight, but all the loose ends are tied up quite satisfactorily and there is even a very clever surprise at the end.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite Gold...but still worth reading, 13 Mar 2012
By 
Parm (A bookshop near you) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Review:
As per the last book tongues of Serpents this book lacks something that the early books had, i dont know if there is some missing passion for the character (but i doubt that), is it a lack of knowledge of the local setting of the book or is there some distraction due to the Movie? What ever it is the lack of true passion in the book shows for me in the writing.

Even with that the characters are familiar and well liked, the dragons grow with each book and develop as characters, and the time period is compelling with the ships of the line and the adjusted history of the world teasing the reader with what is new and what is history.

Will i keep reading the series...Yes, i still enjoy Temeraire and his world.

(Parm)

Book description:

Naomi Novik's beloved series returns, with Capt. Will Laurence and his fighting dragon Temeraire once again taking to the air against the broadsides of Napoleon's forces and the friendly - and sometimes not-so-friendly - fire of British soldiers and politicians who continue to suspect them of divided loyalties, if not outright treason.

For Laurence and Temeraire, put out to pasture in Australia, it seems their part in the war has come to an end just when they are needed most. Newly allied with the powerful African empire of the Tswana, the French have occupied Spain and brought revolution and bloodshed to Brazil, threatening Britain's last desperate hope to defeat Napoleon.

So the British government dispatches Arthur Hammond from China to enlist Laurence and Temeraire to negotiate a peace with the angry Tswana, who have besieged the Portuguese royal family in Rio - and as bait, Hammond bears an offer to reinstate Laurence to his former rank and seniority as a captain in the Aerial Corps. Temeraire is delighted by this sudden reversal of fortune, but Laurence is by no means sanguine, knowing from experience that personal honor and duty to one's country do not always run on parallel tracks.

Laurence and Temeraire - joined by the egotistical fire-breather Iskierka and the still-growing Kulingile, who has already surpassed Temeraire in size - embark for Brazil, only to meet with a string of unmitigated disasters that leave the dragons and their human friends forced to make an unexpected landing in the hostile territory of the Inca empire, where they face new unanticipated dangers.

Now with the success of the mission balanced on a razor's edge, and failure looking more likely by the minute, the unexpected arrival of an old enemy will tip the scales toward ruin. Yet even in the midst of disaster, opportunity may lurk - for one bold enough to grasp it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Fantastic Tale of Temeraire Courtesy of Naomi Novik, 18 Mar 2012
By 
John Kwok (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
Demonstrating again that she has become one of the best prose stylists in fantasy fiction, Naomi Novik's "Crucible of Gold" is one of the most compelling chapters in her fantasy and alternate history "Temeraire" series. Prior comparisons with Patrick O'Brian are definitely most apt here, in her mesmerizing accounts of Pacific tropical isles and South American rain forests, that rank easily alongside those depicted in O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series. Equally commendable is her extensive description of Incan society and culture, which figure prominently in "Crucible of Gold", the 7th novel in the critically acclaimed, quite popular, "Temeraire" series. Though I admire the late Anne McCaffrey's work, including the "Dragonriders of Pern" series, that fine oeuvre is being surpassed by Naomi Novik's , since she has displayed consistently, a higher literary standard in each of her "Temeraire" novels. Without question, Novik is a writer worthy of comparison not only with McCaffrey, but also, with the likes of Neil Gaiman and Michael Swanwick; her latest novel brilliantly reaffirms that.

Restored unexpectedly to his former rank and seniority in His Britannic Majesty's Aerial Corps, Captain Laurence, Temeraire and their friends - both human and dragon - are compelled to take a hazardous sea voyage to South America, once more escorting diplomat Arthur Hammond, hoping to aid the exiled Portugese royal family in Rio De Janeiro, besieged by both the French and the Southern African Tswana dragonriders (The native people described in "Empire of Ivory", the fourth "Temeraire" novel). Enduring shipwreck, capture by the French, and attacks by savage beasts and enemy military dragons, Laurence and Temeraire find themselves engaged in yet another epic struggle against the French, who are seeking to add South America as yet another large chunk of their vast worldwide empire. Laurence, Hammond and Temeraire will be compelled to have a battle of wits with a vainglorious emperor of the Old World and a mysterious empress of the New, setting the stage for an unexpected return to another great empire, seeking an ally willing to join Great Britain's solitary struggle against the Napoleonic French Empire.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great Temeraire tale with another angle on dragons, 11 Mar 2012
By 
Josie "josiecrimp" (Farnham, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I'm a big Temeraire fan, and was really looking forward to this. Once again, I wasn't disappointed - it's a great yarn, and the plot is again different to the previous books, forcing Laurence to once again challenge his expectations and assumptions about dragons. The only reason I'm giving it 4 stars is that I thought the ending was a little bit sudden. Still a great book though!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another disappointment. . ., 13 Aug 2012
By 
Patrick St-Denis "editor of Pat's Fantasy Hot... (Laval, Quebec Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
With Tongues of Serpents turning out to be a major disappointment for me, I wasn't sure whether or not I wanted to give Crucible of Gold a shot or not. Yet as the first volume of the three-book cycle that should bring the Temeraire series to a close, I was curious to see if Naomi Novik could recapture the magic that made the first few installments such original reads.

Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be. This series has been losing steam for a while now, and Crucible of Gold is more of the same.

Here's the blurb:

Naomi Novik's beloved series returns, with Capt. Will Laurence and his fighting dragon Temeraire once again taking to the air against the broadsides of Napoleon's forces and the friendly--and sometimes not-so-friendly--fire of British soldiers and politicians who continue to suspect them of divided loyalties, if not outright treason.

For Laurence and Temeraire, put out to pasture in Australia, it seems their part in the war has come to an end just when they are needed most. Newly allied with the powerful African empire of the Tswana, the French have occupied Spain and brought revolution and bloodshed to Brazil, threatening Britain's last desperate hope to defeat Napoleon.

So the British government dispatches Arthur Hammond from China to enlist Laurence and Temeraire to negotiate a peace with the angry Tswana, who have besieged the Portuguese royal family in Rio--and as bait, Hammond bears an offer to reinstate Laurence to his former rank and seniority as a captain in the Aerial Corps. Temeraire is delighted by this sudden reversal of fortune, but Laurence is by no means sanguine, knowing from experience that personal honor and duty to one's country do not always run on parallel tracks.

Laurence and Temeraire--joined by the egotistical fire-breather Iskierka and the still-growing Kulingile, who has already surpassed Temeraire in size--embark for Brazil, only to meet with a string of unmitigated disasters that leave the dragons and their human friends forced to make an unexpected landing in the hostile territory of the Inca empire, where they face new unanticipated dangers.

Now with the success of the mission balanced on a razor's edge, and failure looking more likely by the minute, the unexpected arrival of an old enemy will tip the scales toward ruin. Yet even in the midst of disaster, opportunity may lurk--for one bold enough to grasp it.

The first four volumes of this series more or less revitalized the genre, offering us dragons with a different and quite original twist. I'm not sure if it's because Crucible of Gold is the seventh installment, but it appears that the magic is truly gone. Novik seems to have grown complacent, happy to offer simple, formulaic, and episodic works in style and tone. Indeed, the last few books have done very little to further the overall plot and feel like interludes while everything else occurs "off stage."

As was the case with its predecessor, Crucible of Gold is mostly filler material. Weighing in at a very short 288 pages, one would think that it would mostly be important material that moves the plot forward. Not much actually takes place, however, which makes me wonder just what the author has in store for us in the last two volumes. I was expecting to see storylines coming together and revealing or at least hinting at the finale to come. But no. . .

In the past, I've always loved the author's depiction of the various locales the characters visited. With an historian's eye for details, Novik's depiction of Australia, the Inca Empire, and Brazil made for an evocative narrative. She has always excelled at that, and this book is no different. Unfortunately, what is also no different is that the better part of the novel turns out to be an uninspired travelogue chronicling Laurence and Temeraire's journey from Australia to South America.

The characterization is decidedly subpar. I used to find the relationship between Laurence and Temeraire and the rest of the dragons to be engaging, yet I fear that somehow it got old a few books back. The interaction between Temeraire, Iskierka and Kulingile, especially, has become quite annoying at times. Consider the fact that a lackluster supporting cast brings very little to the story and you end up with a characterization that leaves a lot to be desired.

Mind you, there is some good stuff in there. There are a number of revelations and plot twists that are indeed satisfying. Trouble is, they are few and far between in this travelogue. The endgame is rushed for no reason I could fathom, bringing this novel to an end in a manner that will likely fail to please readers. The ending is interesting, though, promising a few unanticipated surprises for the forthcoming installments to come.

I used to be a big fan of Naomi Novik's Temeraire saga, and that from before the first volume even hit the shelves of bookstores everywhere. And yet, the proliferation of sequels whose pertinence seems questionable sort of killed it for me. There are so many existing storylines to build on to bring back what made the novels so entertaining in the first place. It is now evident that the decision to split this series into nine volumes when there was material for maybe five or six has hurt the overall quality of the books. Which is too bad, for the Temeraire series was a winner.

Although it gets better toward the end, Crucible of Gold can be nothing but another disappointment. . .

Check out Pat's Fantasy Hotlist
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 7 May 2013
By 
Chantal Lyons (Kent, England) - See all my reviews
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The first book in this series remains the best; not merely because it was a brilliant book, but because the others since have largely been awfully boring. This one is no different. Continuing with the episodic travelogue style, this time the story of Laurence and Temeraire takes us to South America (undoubtedly the final book will end in North America, as it is the only continent apart from the Poles not yet visited). Cue artful but endless descriptions of the local geography as the characters travel, with frequent stop-overs where Laurence and Temeraire have to sit and wait in the custody of various rulers, engaging in unforgivably boring diplomatic dialogue. It is the politicking and the diplomacy that are the worst parts of the Temeraire series - while I'm sure much of historic warfare was spent in discussions rather than on the battlefield, I wish Novik could spare us most of the details. Instead we are treated to filler material, as has been the case more and more with the Temeraire series.

I will finish the series, because Temeraire and the other dragons are still such wonderful creations, and the preview of 'Blood Of Tyrants' provided at the end of this book seems to show the next plot will be refreshingly different (if no less light on the travel writing). But with so much filler, this series ought to be half the length it actually is.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 23 May 2012
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Another roaring adventure through exotic locations. The previous book was a little slow but this one really gets the series back on track, and I enjoyed every minute of it. There's a real warmth that comes through in Naomi Novik's writing, and her action sequences are superb, particularly the naval ones. Her detailed knowledge really shines through and adds such an air of believability that I sometimes get her version of the Napoleonic wars confused with the real one!

I have nothing but praise for this series, my only complaint is that the book ended where it did. I just hope it isn't too long until the next one.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Crucible of Gold (The Temeraire Series, Book 7), 9 July 2014
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Very disappointed with this book. Was so boring I nearly gave up. Compared with the rest of the series, I think Ms Novik was struggling with the latter part of the last book and all of this one.
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3.0 out of 5 stars ok, running out of steam, 3 July 2014
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ok bit thin not as good as the previous ones
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5.0 out of 5 stars More lovely dragons, 22 Jun 2014
By 
Froglady (North Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Crucible of Gold (The Temeraire Series, Book 7) (Paperback)
Always good. You forget that the dragons are not actually human! Love Temeraire.The twist in history is good to imagine
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Crucible of Gold (The Temeraire Series, Book 7)
Crucible of Gold (The Temeraire Series, Book 7) by Naomi Novik (Paperback - 10 April 2014)
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