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His Majesty's Dragon (Temeraire, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – March 28, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well written with language and manners accurate of the time period. A true historical fiction and fascinating imagination of what the world would have looked like with dragons in... Read morePublished 13 days ago by R.Dosk
What I Liked:
The writing is excellent.
I love dragons, so I immediately fell in love with Temeraire, an intelligent dragon who speaks to humans. Read more
It took me a long time to get into His Majesty's Dragon. Novik is a slow writer. She does not rely on action, she takes her time to build things up. Read morePublished 23 days ago by clifford
I only recently came aware of this series of books after I read Naomi Novik's Uprooted and I went looking for more of her books. Read morePublished 28 days ago by Tal
Really good read. Love the concept, looking forward to the rest of the series.Published 28 days ago by Tony Eisenhower
I am not normally fond of books centered around war and battles, but I am a fan of fantasy and some sci-fi, so I gave this one a read. It was fascinating from beginning to end! Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jennifer Shelton