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Victory of Eagles [Mass Market Paperback]

Naomi Novik
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 19 2009 Temeraire (Book 5)
For Britain, conditions are grim: Napoleon’s resurgent forces have breached the Channel and successfully invaded English soil. Napoleon’s prime objective is the occupation of London. Unfortunately, the dragon Temeraire has been removed from military service–and his captain, Will Laurence, has been condemned to death for treason. Separated by their own government and threatened at every turn by Napoleon’s forces, Laurence and Temeraire must struggle to find each other amid the turmoil of war. If only they can be reunited, master and dragon might rally Britain’s scattered resistance forces and take the fight to the enemy as never before–for king and country, and for their own liberty.

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Victory of Eagles + Tongues of Serpents: A Novel of Temeraire + Empire of Ivory
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Review

“Invigorating . . . filled with spectacle . . . Naomi Novik has not sounded a wrong note yet in this sweeping, lustrous saga. . . . [This is] a glorious series whose future status as a genre classic is now assured.”—SF Reviews

“Engrossing . . . sheer page-turning excitement.”—Booklist

Dragonslayer meets Master and Commander.”—Entertainment Weekly

About the Author

Naomi Novik is the acclaimed author of His Majesty’s Dragon, Throne of Jade, Black Powder War, and Empire of Ivory, the first four volumes of the Temeraire series, recently optioned by Peter Jackson, the Academy Award—winning director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. A history buff with a particular interest in the Napoleonic era, Novik studied English literature at Brown University, then did graduate work in computer science at Columbia University before leaving to participate in the design and development of the computer game Neverwinter Nights: Shadows of Undrentide. Novik lives in New York City with her husband and six computers.

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Fans will like it in my opinion Dec 8 2011
By euxneks
Format:Hardcover
I'm a fan of the series, I was able to finish the book in about 2 days or so, I enjoyed it that much :)

This book starts to explore the relationship between the rider and dragon - which should lead to some interesting dynamics in the future, and Temeraire is finally starting to mature - I thought some of the "honor" stuff was a bit tedious, but beyond that, the rest of the book had some interesting stuff happening.
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5.0 out of 5 stars love, love, LOVE this series May 5 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've been a fan of the series for a while now (gulped it down in pretty much a period of months) and love the alternate history of it all. The way that Naomi doesn't shy away from the consequences of dragons in every day life. It's going to affect politics, war, EVERYTHING and the farther she gets into the series, the more this happens and it's AMAZING.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  112 reviews
42 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting POV, plenty of action July 12 2008
By Rebecca Huston - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
One of the best historical fantasy series to show up in recent years has been Naomi Novik's Temeraire. Full of historical details in a world that is very close to our own, set in a world where dragons are quite real, and captained by crews of humans, serve as part of aerial corps, fighting in wars.

The setting is unusual as well -- the Napoleonic Wars, and with the fifth novel and its ominous title, Victory of Eagles things are not looking too good for the British. In an appalling display of stupidity by the Admiralty, Temeraire and Laurence, his captain, have been separated after the events of the previous novel. Laurence is aboard a ship, locked up in a brig, and the threat of execution follows him everywhere. He knows that if he cooperates, that Temeraire will not be harmed, and so does his best.

And his beloved Temeraire? The Celestial dragon is off in the remote mountains of Wales, condemned to the breeding grounds while a perfectly good war is raging on. Instead he's stuck in a remote valley, with nothing but a pokey cave to live in, no books, and even though there's plenty to eat, all that there is to do is sleep and ahem, make an egg with a willing dragon.

Needless to say, Temeraire is less than pleased about the situation. And his new neighbors are not that interesting either, especially a Regal Copper that has decided that Temeraire's cave would make a very nice home for himself. And there's Gentius an ancient Longwing who is pleased to talk to Temeraire. Most of all, there are Temeraire's own thoughts, and a chance to look at the world through the dragon's eyes.

When word comes that Laurence's ship has been sunk by the French, Temeraire decides that the time has come to break free of all of the stuffy rules. After all, the British have broken their word, and he feels that there's nothing to hold him back. So in a daring maneuver, he rounds up the dragons in the breeding ground, and he will lead them into battle against Napoleon.

And Napoleon? The French emperor is on the march again, this time crossing the Channel and setting his sights on capturing London...

I won't reveal much more here, as so not to reveal any spoilers, except that there are several new characters here, as well as quite a few of the earlier ones make a return. Most interesting is the Iron Duke himself, Wellington, and even a glimpse of poor King George III. Iskierka and Granby have a prominent role, and we see the rather harried Jane Roland having to cope with military men who have not a clue about how dragons can be used in battle. The action is breakneck, along with the pacing -- very rarely does the story slow down.

One aspect that I have enjoyed very much is watching Temeraire?s evolution in the series, as he matures and grows in his abilities to both deal with people, and his own sense of justice and morality. There are times when you can feel his frustration with dealing with humans, or the confusion of why don?t they get it? It?s one aspect of Novik?s creation that she is able to breathe in new life to the rather hackneyed use of dragons. Here they are personalities, and sentient beings, with ambitions, thoughts, and emotions of their own, and sometimes they don?t always mesh neatly with those of humans.

As with the previous novels, this is definitely part of a series. For someone who wants to start reading here, I recommend that you don't -- there is so much in here that relies on the earlier novels, that it would be nearly impossible to understand the current story without going back and reading the first four books.

One thing that I wish the series had was some kind of directory to keep all of the various types of dragons straight. While the first book had some drawings and a few details, there's very little here to help visualize many of the creatures, and create a mental picture of the action and details. It's one oversight that I hope will be taken care of either in a separate volume or in future books. This is the only real disgruntlement that I've had with the series so far.

A warning however -- don't try to read this one late at night. The odds will be that you'll be up still at dawn turning pages and eagerly seeing what happens next. The ending, as with before, is a bit of a cliffhanger, and I hope is a sign that there will be more to come.

Four and a half stars, rounded up to five. Recommended.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Victory Of Eagles; positive but mixed, needs some happy (Spoiler) May 6 2009
By W.J.R - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I came late to the Temeraire series, downloading the free - Her Majesty's Dragon a little over a week ago and reading the entire series as if one big book in the last 7 days.

First the positive: I love most of the ideals of the series, freedom, respect, self determination, honor dignity, responsibility and loyalty regardless of race, creed, color or in this case species. I actually cried when Levitas looked up at his captain the heartless Rankin and said with his dying breath, "you came". I tear up thinking about that moment, as I write this review. I love the different perspective the series presents again and again, seeing issues from the "other side" forces me to think outside my own paradigms. I enjoy that rather than a stereotypic presentation of Napoleon, the author instead chooses to focus on his need to influence, strategic decision making and subtle stabs ie: knowing that by sparing Lord Allendale's home he pushes Laurence further away from the Lordship and military leaders of England. I enjoyed the introduction of Percitia who refused to fight and instead used her intellect despite the fear of being labeled a coward. I enjoyed the idea that the Dragons would finally recognize their right to free will.

Now to what ultimately left me unfulfilled.

1. As amazed as I am to say this, I'm getting tired, no bored of William Laurence. Laurence takes great pride in his honor and resulting self sacrifice, but again and again is willing to potentially put Temeraire in a position of a century(s) of misery only to serve his now ridiculous sense of honor (there is no honor or duty in genocide). First by returning to England after providing a cure to the Dragon Plague, and then again at the end of this book by accepting a life sentence of hard labor for both of them instead of offending his sense of honor and defending his right to freedom based on the promise provided during the invasion. While he obviously has good intent, but if he truly believed Dragons to be equal creatures then he should feel less guilty for preventing genocide. He should be more willing to argue his case, "honorable" or not. Strangely, if Laurence were to die the prime emotional kick in the gut would be how it would effect Temeraire, a bad sign. Laurence should be able to stand on his own as a character and if he's going to, he needs to stop being so dark, always.

2. They are never happy. I'm finding that the lack of ebb and flow in their happiness is inoculating me when things go bad, things are always going bad. At some point Temeraire/Laurence need to be happy so when that happiness is disturbed it actually feels like a loss.

3. Little incongruities in ideals mentioned above in the positives. The author goes to great lengths to present the idea that Percitia (who is slow, small and will not fight) still has great value to the war cause and dragons in general. Percitia comes up with a idea that likley saves the day, yet without much thought their pay scale is set on the size of each Dragon, reducing them again to livestock, and they agree?? The whole idea of having a smallish dragon attend the negotiations was to ensure equal payment/treatment, then they agree to a livestock weight/pay agreement?

4. Lien/Temeraire - I don't mind that they don't meet in battle, I just wish the author would allow Temeraire to grow a little and be more strategic, not continually outwitted by Lien. Its the dragon version of the Laurence problem. If Lien is never (2 books), disappointed and always ahead, it's no surprise when she again outsmarts Temeraire and his group. Even in this book, the trap was fallen into not by Lien but by Napoleon. The repeated Lien escapes would be more rewarding if there was ever even the smallest sense of risk for her.

5. This is my final criticism. I'm going to buy the next book and the first thing I'm going to do is turn to the back page. If Laurence or Temerarie are *again* in chains, arrested, injured and dying, or otherwise in dire straights it will be the last, of a series I love. There are far better ways to provide a bridge to the next book than to have every book end with some unresolved bad situation, that starts to feel like a comic book after awhile.

So how did I give this book 4 stars?

The author has an excellent ability to get you to understand the characters and their motivations. The stories are interesting and have enough history embedded so you almost feel compelled to review the historical subject matter after the fact.

And most important, Temeraire is the kind of companion anyone would love to have by their side, whatever species.
30 of 38 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars ***Sigh*** Aug. 13 2008
By WesternWilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
First, and out of kindness to Ms. Novik, I am a great fan of this series, in particular books one and two. She has successfully married "Master and Commander" to "Dragonriders of Pern", an act that must have taken considerable courage. And in the main has produced an enjoyable read.

Unfortunately, that read is not to be found in this fifth installment in the series. After settling in comfortably with Captain Laurence and his dear Temeraire, it dawned on me that nothing, nothing at all, was really happening in this book. Laurence broods throughout the novel, embracing his identity as a convicted traitor doomed to hang. Temeraire begins sowing socialist, or are those capitalist?, notions amongst his fellow exiles on the dragon breeding grounds. And then Napoleon invades England, requiring the nation to reunite our two heroes and unleash their considerable military prowess.

Novik is kind enough to reintroduce many of our favourite characters, but with the exception of Laurence's mother, Lady Allendale, they fail to rise above cookie-cutterdom. I became downright annoyed at her portrait of the testy and impatient Duke of Wellington, whose constant sneering made me wonder....how could this man ever have inspired a nation?

With the thinnest of plots, a minimum of character development, and a large quotient of deus ex machina thundering in the background, it strikes me that Ms. Novik is rushing her deadlines and coasting on her laurels, perhaps indulged by her publishers and the moonstruck fan quotient as well. The book chugs along comfortably enjoying its own formula. Not good enough, Naomi, not good enough by half.

As we move to Book 6, and its very interesting locale, I hope the author slows down and makes a sincere attempt to give her characters and plotlines some well deserved depth and richness. There is so much to work with here, and such wonderful personalities to explore and explicate, things most writers would sell their souls for. I wonder if Ms. Novik's history in, and enthusiasm for, fan-fic is blinding her to the possibilities, and responsibilities, that present themselves in an original work.

As Temeraire would say, "Don't drop the egg."
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice, but not great Sept. 5 2008
By Meneldir - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've enjoyed all of Novik's Temeraire novels, but I think she's fallen int a trap of her own making. By creating a period piece set in a fantasy universe version of the Penninsular War, she's inviting comparison to books like Cornwell's Sharpe series, Forester's Hornblower, and O'Brian's Aubrey, among others.

These books take real, historical situations and inject fictional characters and events. They also tell fairly action-oriented stories that, while self-contained, lead us through the history of the time.

Novik's trap is that she isn't willing to tell a self-contained story. Oh, each book, including War of Eagles, does tell a story, but she appears to be posing more questions for future books than answering them within this one. I found Victory of Eagles enjoyable, but ultimately unsatisfying. I want to find out more about the characters of Novik's world, and what's going on there, and I want to anticipate enjoying the next book in the series BECAUSE of these characters and situations, not because the author has left me hanging.

Yes, I would recommend this book, and the entire series, to anyone who asks, but I would like to see Novik more confidently tell stories knowing she doesn't have to hold back to keep her audience for the next novel.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dont like the ending April 10 2009
By Mid Mich Readaholic - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This being the fifth book of fiction in the series I was really disappointed in the ending. Shipping them off to a remote colony as prisoners to a life of hard work and leaving it ending as they are on the ship under guard reading a book with no real closure disappointed me to no end. It made me wish I had never read the series. The author totally disregarded her own writing where the dragon and his handler were promised a pardon if the other dragons fought which they did. Yes I know it was Temeraire not Laurence that who got them to fight but they were offered a pardon in exchange for the fighting and what does the author do? Totally forgets and has them put aboard a prison ship as prisoners under guard. I really really hated that ending and was hoping they could return to China since he was officially a prince - another issue how could the British imprison him for life of hard work without issues with China? The author totally missed excellent opportunities for a better resolution of the story line. I dont care about history comparisons this is pure fiction and even though it loosely parallels some parts of history it is a work of fiction and that is how I and many other I am sure read the stories.
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