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Temeraire (The Temeraire Series, Book 1) (Temeraire 1) Hardcover – 3 Jan 2006

4.3 out of 5 stars 122 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 3 Jan 2006
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager; 1st Edition edition (3 Jan. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007219091
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007219094
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 3 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 109,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'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.’
The Times

‘Plenty of intrigue, swordplay, exotic locations, plausible invention. In short a treat.’
The Telegraph

‘These are beautifully written novels, not only fresh, original and fast-paced, but full of wonderful characters with real heart.’
Peter Jackson

‘Novik has stirred the passions with a genre-busting historical fantasy of the first order.'
Sunday Sport

'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.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Temeraire takes an interesting concept and launches it into a multi-book series (there are nine planned) which has attracted attention from Peter Jackson (of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fame) who has said that it might make a good TV series. To be honest, the attention that he brought to the book attracted me.
If you have read or seen Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (Single Disc Edition) [DVD] [2003] 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.
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Format: 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.
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