Victory of Eagles (The Temeraire Series, Book 5) Paperback – 5 Feb 2009
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‘These are beautifully written novels, not only fresh, original and fast-paced, but full of wonderful characters with real heart.’
‘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.’
‘In the best tradition of fantasy, historical fiction and nautical novels.’
About the Author
Naomi Novik was born in New York in 1973, a first-generation American, and raised on Polish fairy tales, Baba Yaga, and Tolkien. She studied English Literature at Brown University and Computer Science at Columbia University before leaving to work in the games industry. Over the course of a brief winter sojourn working on a game in Canada, she realized she preferred the writing to the programming, and, on returning to New York, decided to try her hand at novels. Temeraire is her first.
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Top customer reviews
I adore this series and just can't get enough of these books. Unlike some of the other reviewers here, I thought this was one of the best to date: it allows our two protagonists to develop separately, and melds character and exciting plot in a seamless way.
Temeraire's politicisation and increasingly radical stance is wonderful, and I laughed out loud at some of his naive-but-true remarks. This was offset by the emotional depth of some of the scenes and I have to admit I cried when Temeraire finally realised that Laurence wasn't dead.
Novik keeps all her plot strands clear and tight, and I liked the way our characters have changed as a result of circumstances - Laurence's crisis of conscience, for example, felt absolutely right to me.
So I can't praise these books enough - highly recommended.
Real shame as I love the series otherwise and have still purchased the next, just hoping it's put together more professionally.
Will Laurence has never been a light-hearted character, always constrained by his notions of etiquette, duty and honour, and now he is completely weighed down by the consequences of his actions at the end of the previous book. I haven't quite worked out why I so enjoyed reading about a character who is often such morose company, but I did.
Again, some of the characters are far from rounded - Laurence's former fiancee and her husband seem to be present solely as a plot device - but these are notable as exceptions rather than the rule. And also on the negative side, I was made a more than a little dizzy by the speed with which various characters sped around the British Isles. But these points were outweighed by far by what I really liked, in particular the characterisation of the dragons, including those found in the breeding ground; the development of the characters of the aviators (looking back to the first book); the characterisations of Wellington, Napoleon and Nelson in particular as men from history interwoven into Novik's fictional world; and finally the plot itself. Yes, there are some weaknesses, but there is also much originality and many clever touches.
I don't know if a further book is planned. There is a more complete ending to this than to the previous books, I think. I would like to read of their further adventures in ... (that would be telling!), but if there is no more to come, then there is enough in the existing books to warrant re-reading, and I can find the elusive Throne of Jade, which I have to read out of sequence as I couldn't get hold of it and was too impatient to wait for it before going on with the rest of the series!
As the story rolls over almost without a break from the previous books, I recommend that you read them all before embarking on this latest volume, which will be a joy if you haven't yet encountered this very popular series.
While not as high-flown or wordy, Novik does nod in the direction of the more effusive manner of the 18th century style of writing. I am aware that this has hampered the enjoyment of at least one would-be fan, but I personally find the style eminently in keeping with atmosphere Novik has engendered.
In amongst the swash-buckling action, Novik has some interesting themes running through her work. Temeraire, as a Celestial dragon, is highly intelligent and capable of fluently speaking a number of languages, reading and writing. However, he is officially regarded as a piece of military equipment by the English authorities, who are much slower than Napoleon or the Chinese to give their dragons any kind of special consideration. Novik interweaves this strand with the anti-slavery arguments of the day - with Temeraire discussing the issue with Wilberforce.
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