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His Majesty's Dragon [Mass Market Paperback]

Naomi Novik
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 10.99
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Book Description

March 28 2006 Temeraire (Book 1)
Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors rise to Britain’s defense by taking to the skies . . . not aboard aircraft but atop the mighty backs of fighting dragons.

When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes its precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Capt. Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future–and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature. Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle. For as France’s own dragon-borne forces rally to breach British soil in Bonaparte’s boldest gambit, Laurence and Temeraire must soar into their own baptism of fire.

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His Majesty's Dragon + Throne of Jade + Black Powder War
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Product Description

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 Booklist

*Starred Review* This is the first book in a superbly written, character-driven series, Temeraire, which conjures the Napoleonic-era military replete with aerial corps of fighting dragons and their handlers. When Captain Laurence of HMS Reliant takes a French frigate as a prize, the cargo includes a dragon egg due to hatch before the Reliant can reach a British aviators' base. When the hatchling chooses the captain to be his handler, Laurence's naval career comes to an end. He is now an aviator and a member of a service more tolerated than admired. Within very short order, he finds himself bonded with Temeraire, a most elegant and intelligent dragon, more closely than he has ever been bonded with anyone before, and that includes the lady he had thought he would marry. Novik fully integrates dragons into late-eighteenth-century military tactics and develops a convincing armed-service social milieu that includes the dragon corps. But what keeps one turning the pages is the urge to find out what happens next to Captain Laurence and Temeraire, characters who win one's heart from the beginning. Bravos for a most promising new author! Frieda Murray
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grand April 25 2006
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I, too, finished it in what was essentially one long sitting. Novik expertly weaves the historical with the fantastic and creates a world I am desperate to visit again. I haven't read a lot of fantasy, but much of what I have seems too enamoured with its clever premise to create emotionally involving characters. Not so here. The relationship between Temeraire and Laurence reads almost like a love story. Action is well drawn - you'd think in a story where dragons are treated like airships complete with working crews, you might get lost in the details. Novik keeps it simple, clear and vivid.
Not particularly complex in any of its elements, but entirely engaging, readable and fun. Definitely worth your time. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth a read June 1 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback
With an amazingly well rounded story, Naomi Novik combines two of my all time favorite genres: fantasy and history. What more could one ask for than to have a war torn Europe from the Napoleonic era complimented with fantasy's most beloved of all creatures; the Dragon.

Naval, aerial and ground battles surrounded by acid/fire spitting dragons. What more could you ask for?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining Jan. 17 2007
By jydez
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I would say it is unfair to compare this book to something written by G.R.R. Martin or others like him. This is an alternate historical fantasy, not what you might call hard fantasy. I like Martin's books for their epic nature, this is not the same style of book. Two completely different genres, like comparing Victorian mystery stories to something by Patterson or Sandford. Each are good in their own ways and need to be judged on their own merits.

For the style and setting of His Majesty's Dragon it is written very well, one of the most engaging books I've read in a long time. As others reviewed, very much like some of the sea-faring stories, just with a fantasy twist.

You might be inclined to dismiss it based on the pulpy fantasy title (although it is fitting considering the storyline), I for one am glad I gave it a chance. I picked it up from the library but will be buying it along with the sequels, and hope to see more from this author soon. Also glad to hear Peter Jackson has already picked up the movie rights, would love to see a good film adaptation of this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful adventure fantasy book March 28 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback
How much do I love this book? Does the fact that it only took half a day to get thru a hint. I haven't read any fantasy novel in a long time. Temeraire strikes a very good balance between the historical part (British - French wars Napoleon and Nelson) and the fantasy part : the dragons, the flying, the Corps.
The family that's being created with Temeraire and his Navy Captain is wonderful to watch. The main character is an outsider being thrown in a world he doesn't know makes it easy for the reader to care, whoop, cry and cheer at the many twists and turns the story takes. Can't wait for book 2 and 3 to come out this spring.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dragons, Napoleon and Plots, Oh My! Oct. 3 2009
By Bart Breen TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
There are a few book series in my life that have caught my imagination to where it's not a question as to whether I'll read the rest of the series but rather a question of how fast I can get my hands on them and to be honest, it's been a long time since a book had that effect on me. Books in the past that have done that are Hugh Lofting's Dr. Doolittle, Tolkien's Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, and Frank Herbert's Dune. Set aside against those high standards have been countless clunkers and many books that we're decent enough but didn't quite rise to that level.

When I was younger, I couldn't explain to you what the qualities were that made a book great and now that I am older and better read, I can do so but it doesn't suffice to explain how a book can grip you.

Imagine my delight to find that this was such a book. What are the qualities that make it work? This is a historical novel that has been very well researched with an intriguing twist. What would the Napoleonic wars have been like with air power? What if that Air Power were dragons instead of machines? Add to that a very strong character development and themes that reflect the struggles of that day, many of which are still being wrestled with today and you have a multi-faceted novel with several hooks well-set and ready to catch any readers who cross its path.

The dialogue between characters is masterful and captures a quality that very few authors manage to develop. I found myself reminded in places of the dialogue typical of David Eddings' fantasy that captures the natural, easy and affectionate relationship.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Talk about crossover! Sept. 1 2006
By Jeanie
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book, which I stumbled on in a review, is a wonderful blend of Horatio Hornblower and Dragonriders of Pern! The Napoleonic-era descriptions, and the naval descriptions, are right up there with C.S. Forester, and the impressing of a dragon with all the joys and angst that can bring is very much like Anne McCaffrey's great fantasy series. If you can achieve the necessary "willing suspension of disbelief", you'll enjoy this series (there are two after this one).
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