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Damn Napoleon's Eyes! The war against Napoleon will be won by...........DRAGONS!!!!!!!!!!
on 14 December 2014
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]  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.
As other reviewers have commented, there could have been more editing to speed the story along. I am no teenager but I still found the story dragged around issues of rigging and training the beasts. But, the fact that there is a series ahead somehow gives me confidence that these issues will drop away if we persevere.
Which I think I will.