Temeraire (The Temeraire Series, Book 1) (Temeraire 1) Hardcover – 3 Jan 2006
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'I took a jaundiced view of dragon books until Novik won me over with her first novel. the combination of military history, sympathetic characters, and engaging style makes this series great, intelligent fun.’
‘Plenty of intrigue, swordplay, exotic locations, plausible invention. In short a treat.’
‘These are beautifully written novels, not only fresh, original and fast-paced, but full of wonderful characters with real heart.’
‘Novik has stirred the passions with a genre-busting historical fantasy of the first order.'
'In the best tradition of fantasy, historical fiction and nautical novels.'
From the Back Cover
Captain Will Laurence has been at sea since he was just twelve years old; finding a warmer berth in Nelson's navy than any he enjoyed as the youngest, least important son of Lord Allendale. Rising on merit to captain his own vessel, Laurence has earned himself a beautiful fiancée, society's esteem and a golden future. But the war is not going well. It seems Britain can only wait as Napoleon plans to overrun her shores.
After a skirmish with a French ship, Laurence finds himself in charge of a rare cargo: a dragon egg bound for the Emperor himself. Dragons are much prized: properly trained, they can mount a fearsome attack from the skies. One of Laurence's men must take the beast in hand and join the aviators' cause, thus relinquishing all hope of a normal life.
But when the newly-hatched dragon ignores the young midshipman Laurence chose as its keeper and decides to imprint itself on the horrified captain instead, Laurence's world falls apart. Gone is his golden future: gone his social standing, and soon his beautiful fiancée, as he is consigned to be the constant companion and trainer of the fighting dragon Temeraire…--This text refers to the Paperback edition. See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
If you have read or seen Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (Single Disc Edition) [DVD]  and can remmber Jack Aubrey, the intelligent, cultivated and well-mannered captain then you have already met Captain William Laurence who is just as stiffly devoted to the sea and crew of his ship. But, imagine the very same wrenched away from the sea, and any chance of continuing his long-suffering romance on shore, to be the unwilling and unlucky object of attachment, and responsibility ensuing, that the imprinting of a newly hatched dragon to him ensures. There is no shirking this responsibility, and he doesn't hesitate for a moment, but what he finds as an old hand in a new world is not quite so awful as he first thought.
Lawrence names the somewhat unusual dragon after a famous ship-of-the-line. I thought it quite peculiar that the dragon spoke so soon after being hatched and speaks the King's English at that. Yet, this is an especially intelligent beast that learns in its gestation, within the egg, taking in the language of those around him. So, we have a relationship almost of a thoughtful, indulgent father and passive but keen child. But what a child! These dragons grow very rapidly to enormous sizes so they need to be crewed with maybe 20 men who take different firing positions and have various duties.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved the book so much it drew me in and I have not put it down once...high recommendations from mePublished 14 days ago by not here
What's not to love? A very refreshing take on dragons. I absolutely loved Laurence floundering outside the Navy and polite society, bless him, and then kicking ass when people were... Read morePublished 15 days ago by sashaknits
What a delicious and unusual concoction combining flavours from Jane Austen and fantasy literature. It couldn't be more up my street. Read morePublished 1 month ago by J Porteous
This a nice read. A story of an unlikely friendship developing during the napoleanic war in an alternate history.Published 1 month ago by Jock Sterling
I finally finished this book (only took six months!). The length of time I took to read it is no reflection on it's ability to captivate. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Andrew Guile
What a nice surprise this book turned out to be. I had just read a remarkable novel "Uprooted" by a new author to me Naomi Novak. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Clive Butterfield
I was very intrigued by the premise of this book,widely described as ''hornblower-with-dragons'' Its quite unique,and well-worth a read,don't be put off by how preposterous it... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Elsie FC