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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it's still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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His Majesty's Dragon (Temeraire, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – March 28, 2006

4.4 out of 5 stars 566 customer reviews
Book 1 of 8 in the Temeraire Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this delightful first novel, the opening salvo of a trilogy, Novik seamlessly blends fantasy into the history of the Napoleonic wars. Here be dragons, beasts that can speak and reason, bred for strength and speed and used for aerial support in battle. Each nation has its own breeds, but none are so jealously guarded as the mysterious dragons of China. Veteran Capt. Will Laurence of the British Navy is therefore taken aback after his crew captures an egg from a French ship and it hatches a Chinese dragon, which Laurence names Temeraire. When Temeraire bonds with the captain, the two leave the navy to sign on with His Majesty's sadly understaffed Aerial Corps, which takes on the French in sprawling, detailed battles that Novik renders with admirable attention to 19th-century military tactics. Though the dragons they encounter are often more fully fleshed-out than the stereotypical human characters, the author's palpable love for her subject and a story rich with international, interpersonal and internal struggles more than compensate. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Published as Temeraire in the U.K., His Majesty’s Dragon is the first of a planned trilogy (The Throne of Jade and Black Powder War will appear in 2006). Amply praised by SF writers, this original alternate-reality historical SF novel stands fully on its own. Against the convincing backdrop of the Napoleonic wars, Novik limns fantastical battle scenes, creates emotionally astute and appealing characters (dragon included), and provides unique insight into dragons, their abilities, and their breeding combinations. At center stage lies Temeraire’s and Laurence’s strong bond, one critics hope Novik will explore in future novels. His Majesty’s Dragon, notes Fantasy Bookspot, is more than a "worthy choice for those looking for a new series to indulge yourself in for the new year." But you’ll have to wait: it won’t be released until the end of March.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; Reissue edition (March 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345481283
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345481283
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (566 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,203 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Author, coder, fangirl, geek. Come talk to me @naominovik on twitter or ask me questions at goodreads or at naominovik.com!

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
"I understand you're a huge fan of Patrick O'Brian's books about the British Navy, and that you're desperately looking for something to replace them," said the shrewd, well-meaning editor who sent me an advance copy of Naomi Novik's first novel. "Give this one a few pages: I was instantly hooked, even though I've never been a reader of fantasy."

Neither have I - at least since I was 16 and discovered the dangers and delights of mysteries and thrillers. But this gent does put out some fine crime stuff, so I put "His Majesty's Dragon" on my to-be-read shelf. And guess what: I too was immediately hooked by the writing, the research and the sheer courage of the whole enterprise.

First of all, fantasy isn't the right category for this - although I can understand the publisher's desire to use that to tap into the Harry Potter explosion. Alternative history is better: I remember vividly Harry Turtledove's "The Guns of the South" about what might have happened at Gettysburg if the Confederate Army had automatic rifles. Novik's imagination is wider and deeper: she has added to Nelson's Navy a squad of dragons who can attack from above and bring down fire and poison on Napoleon's fleet as it tries to conquer England.

It's not just a mechanical gimmick, either: the dragons are intelligent creatures, loyal to their human trainers, vastly touching in their desires to prove themselves and be approved of by people and fellow dragons. When a young British sea captain, Will Laurence of the Reliant, captures a French frigate carrying a dragon's egg about to hatch a few months before the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, he makes a friend for life in the form of a startlingly beautiful and highly intelligent jet black creature he names Temeraire after a ship captured from the French.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I should preface this with the warning that I'm going to gush -- frankly, I haven't been this madly fond of a book in the longest time (hm, when did Connie Willis last publish something?), and I'm at the stage where I want the whole world to know how great this book is. I bought it Wednesday afternoon, read 200 pages of it that night, then went out the next day and all I kept thinking about was going home and finishing it, which I did, staying up very late (past my bedtime) and finding the ending very bittersweet. Bittersweet because the conclusion happily justifies all the promise of the beginning chapters, and yet I'm sad because I'm through with the book and will have to wait weeks (till April 25) for the sequel. I know that's nothing compared to the wait with most fantasy trilogies, the gap between books is usually at least a year, but I want the sequel right NOW in my hot little hands.

The novel takes place in England during the Napoleonic Wars, only with the added twist of dragons (which must be admitted, improve every scenario). In this alternate universe, dragons are tamed by most nations of the world as a fighting force, bonding to a handler at hatching, and trained in the Aerial Corps in the pursuit of warfare. So when Will Laurence, a British Naval captain experienced in battle, captures a French frigate with a dragon's egg that is very quickly going to hatch, he has no choice but to put himself and the crew up to bonding with the creature because even though England has France outgunned in the way of ships (think Admiral Nelson and the superiority of the British Navy), France is outgunning England 2-1 in the way of fighting dragons.
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There's a reason the publishing world is buzzing over Naomi Novik: this first book is worth the hype. In "His Majesty's Dragon" she shows tremendous talent for worldbuilding, drawing us easily into a version of our own history in which the Napoleonic wars were augmented by an air force piloting (not only sentient but highly intelligent) living craft. Just as Susannah Clarke (in "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell") depicted an alternate England in which magic was real, Novik shows us an alterate England (and China, and France) where there be dragons, and the results are dazzling.

What I like best in this book is the way the main characters develop over time. Temeraire, the dragon whose egg is discovered in the early pages of chapter one, is a compelling protagonist -- as is Will Laurence, the Naval captain who becomes responsible for him and who sacrifices his naval career to join the mysterious Air Force. Laurence changes dramatically over the course of the book, but he does so in a subtle and organic way.

This book made me laugh, made me think, and once or twice made me a little bit sniffly, too. I can't wait to read books two and three. Don't miss this one -- it's a pleasure.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I can't give a bad review to any story handled with such competence, but I can't give a good review to the same story if the characters are this one-dimensional and naive. The historical context & research coupled with the dragons themselves carry the book. Ms Novik is a talented writer in terms of structure and pace, but the human characters are shallow afterthoughts compared to their dragon counterparts. I would suggest this for younger readers looking for a straightforward story with happy endings and predictable plot lines.
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