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His Majesty's Dragon [Mass Market Paperback]

Naomi Novik
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
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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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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 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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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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Format:Mass Market Paperback
What if dragons and their riders formed their own corps of soldiers adjacent to the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars? You get Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series, the first novel of which, His Majesty’s Dragon, I have just finished reading on my Kobo.

William Laurence, a Royal Navy captain engaged in the Napoleonic Wars, captures a French ship bearing unusual cargo: a dragon’s egg. When it hatches, the creature accepts Laurence as his master, changing the captain’s life forever. Laurence names the dragon Temeraire, thinking of the name of a British ship. ‘Temeraire’ means ‘bold,’ ‘reckless,’ ‘dauntless,’ and is the sort of name a navy man without experience in the Aerial Corps would bestow.

Here you see the real originality of Novik’s world: Temeraire is named after a ship, hinting that dragons take the place of ships in this alternate nineteenth-century universe. Lawrence does not become the sole, independent rider of a dragon but the captain of a dragonback crew. Temeraire truly becomes one of His Majesty’s dragons, flying alongside His Majesty’s ships, which are trying to prevent the transports for Napoleon’s army from crossing the Channel.

Laurence initially loathes the idea of becoming a member of the Aerial Corps. However, he sees that he has no choice but to join, given his profound sense of duty. It means he must forsake his promising Navy career. He will also never be able to enjoy social functions, since those in the Corps live in isolation due to the nature of their duty and are even looked upon as social outcasts. Lawrence must furthermore lose the hand of a woman he has never formally courted.

But as Temeraire grows in size from a hatchling, so does Laurence’s bond with him.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A man and his dragon June 5 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Imagine if the Napoleonic wars had been fought using an air force... of dragons.

That idea is the root of Naomi Novik's Temeraire series -- an alternate-history fantasy that explores the idea of a Horatio Hornbloweresque navy officer who suddenly finds a dragon uprooting his life. The plot is a bit thin in the first book of the series, "His Majesty's Dragon," but Novik makes up for this with her richly-realized alternate world and adorable friendship between man and dragon.

Captain William Laurence's Reliant has captured a French ship -- which turns out to have a dragon egg in its hold. And when the baby dragon hatches, it decides it wants Laurence and no other to be its rider. Unfortunately, accepting the dragon (now named Temeraire) means giving up his Navy commission and joining the Air Corps -- especially since Temeraire violently rejects the idea of accepting another rider.

But both rider and dragon have a lot of learning to do, especially since Laurence has some very unusual ideas about how to treat his dragon. And Laurence discovers that not all riders treat their dragons with such love, and that life among the Corps is very different from 19th-century England's. But as the bond between them grows and Temeraire grows rapidly to maturity, the Napoleonic Wars are raging -- and Temeraire's true power hasn't yet been shown.

The Temeraire series is what Christopher Paolini's books SHOULD have been -- a richly-drawn, intelligent series about the bond between a young man and his dragon.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars entertaining book
This was recommended by a friend and I found the story quite delightful, and thoroughly enjoyed the book. Read the entire thing in a day or two, and was eager for the next one.
Published 4 months ago by M. Kleiber
5.0 out of 5 stars Napoleonic Wars with dragons
An excellent book. Novik's protagonist is a fully-rounded character who (against his will) becomes the Captain of a dragon (essentially aerial troops). Read more
Published on June 1 2008 by Susannah
5.0 out of 5 stars Eragon for grown ups - and so much more
A wonderful alternate history of the Napoleonic war where dragons provide the aerial support for both sides of the conflict. Read more
Published on Sept. 24 2007 by Perschon
5.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining
I would say it is unfair to compare this book to something written by G.R.R. Martin or others like him. Read more
Published on Jan. 17 2007 by jydez
3.0 out of 5 stars Suitable for younger readers
I was disappointed in this book. After reading series by George Martin and Scott Bakker, this novel was superficial. Characters were fairly flat and the plotting was pretty simple. Read more
Published on Sept. 17 2006 by Niall
5.0 out of 5 stars Talk about crossover!
This book, which I stumbled on in a review, is a wonderful blend of Horatio Hornblower and Dragonriders of Pern! Read more
Published on Sept. 1 2006 by Jeanie
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful adventure fantasy book
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. Read more
Published on March 28 2006 by C. Paquin
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