From Publishers Weekly
The somber sixth installment (after 2008's Victory of Eagles) of the Napoleonic era adventures of Capt. Will Laurence and Chinese-British dragon Temeraire opens with the pair exiled to New South Wales for saving French dragons from a plague while England and France were at war. The government of the colony is hotly disputed, and both the deposed royal governor and the insurrectionists hope to ally with Laurence and his draconic companions. When a dragon egg is kidnapped, an expedition over the Blue Mountains turns into a frantic hunt for the culprits. Novik fans will be glad to see their old favorite characters growing and changing yet still very much themselves, but the lack of significant interaction with native Australian humans or dragons leaves a certain emptiness at the heart of the story, exacerbated by long stretches of travel through physical and emotional desolation.
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The sixth installment of Novik's fantastic series introduces Temeraire and former captain Laurence to New South Wales. Laurence, technically a transported prisoner, is escorting three eggs to form a covert in the colony there. The eggs are destined for such second-rate officers willing to make the long trip to the remote colony, including Captain Rankin, whose cruelty killed his former dragon. On arrival, the ship is met by former governor William Bligh, deposed through mutiny by the New South Wales Corps. Bligh wants the dragons to reinstate him in his post; the mutineers are determined to retain the upper hand. Discipline is lax and quarrels are the order of the day, including those between Temeraire and Iskerria, a snobbish beast. To escape all this, Laurence and Temeraire take a mission to find a way through the Blue Mountains and explore the interior of the continent. But one of the dragon eggs is stolen, and the exploration turns into a desperate rescue mission. Temeraire fans have waited two years for this book but should find themselves richly rewarded. The characters are as riveting as ever, the setting is new but convincing, and the plot, with its first-class balancing of Laurence's and Temeraire's internal and external struggles, shows Novik's continued excellence as a novelist. --Frieda Murray