The Temeraire Trilogy
Throne of Jade
Black Powder War
The Napoleonic Wars... with dragons. An historical fantasy with bite. The Temeraire Trilogy from Naomi Novik captures the Napoleonic period perfectly and skillfully layers history with imagination by adding a Dragon Air Force to the battle for England. As Napoleon's infantry rampages across Europe and his armada lies in wait for Nelson's smaller fleet, the war does not rage on land and water alone. Squadrons of aviators swarm the skies. Raining fire and acid upon their enemies, they engage in a swift, violent combat with flying tooth and claw…The Dragon Air Corps.
In the first novel of the trilogy Temeraire Captain Laurence has a respectable commission aboard the ship Reliant, a pretty but ambitious fiancée and his life all planned out. But months before the Battle of Trafalgar, on patrol in the Atlantic, the Reliant captures a small French frigate, storm-damaged and possessing a fierce crew unwilling to surrender as easily as they should. On board Laurence finds a dragon egg.
Having spent months on a slow journey from Asia, the egg hatches. Hatchling dragons must be put in a harness immediately otherwise the dragon-young become hard to control – fit only for the breeding colonies. The person chosen to first harness the beast must be an aviator, for the dragon will accept no other. The life of an aviator is not a desirable one; reviled by fashionable society, they live hard, lonely lives bound to duty and they frequently die young. Ignoring the young midshipman Laurence had assigned to the task, the dragon picks Laurence himself, and now his life will be changed forever.
As we move to the second novel of the series Throne of Jade Laurence of the British Air Corps and his dragon, Temeraire, begin their slow voyage to China, fearful that upon landing they will be forced to part by Imperial decree. Temeraire is a Celestial dragon, the most highly-prized of all draconic breeds; famed for their intelligence, agility and most of all for the Divine Wind – their terrible roar capable of shattering the heavy timbers of war ships, shattering woodland and destroying other dragons mid-flight. Temeraire’s egg was captured and claimed by the British at sea, but he was meant to be the companion of the Emperor Napoleon and not captained by a mere officer in the British Air Corps. The Chinese have demanded his return and the British cannot refuse them – they cannot afford to provoke the Asian super-power into allying themselves with the French – even if it costs them the most powerful weapon in their arsenal and inflicts the most unimaginable pain upon Laurence and his dragon.
The final chapter of the trilogy Black Powder War finds Laurence about to prepare his crew for the slow voyage home from China. Before he can complete this task new orders arrive for him and his dragon, Temeraire: they must fly home immediately, stopping only in Istanbul to collect three priceless dragon eggs, purchased by the British government from the Ottoman Empire. But the cross-continental journey is fraught with danger; not only will they have to scale mountains and traverse vast hostile deserts, but a Machiavellian herald precedes them, spreading political menace in her wake. Holding Temeraire responsible for the death of her princely companion, Lien has absconded from China consumed by vengeance. If she can, she will destroy everything and everyone Temeraire loves.
The trilogy has received great acclaim not only from critics but also from other authors such as Stephen King and also Peter Jackson, director of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy:
‘Temeraire is a terrifically entertaining fantasy novel. Is it hard to imagine a cross between Susannah Clarke and the late Patrick O'Brian? Not if you've read this wonderful, arresting novel.'
'A splendid novel. The plot was excellent, extraordinary in that the reader has no idea where it's leading. Let's hope this is the first of many from Naomi Novik.’
‘Just when you think you've seen every variation possible on the dragon story, along comes Naomi Novik to prove you wrong. Her wonderful Temeraire is a dragon for the ages and a fitting companion for the brave, steadfast Will Laurence. Together, they provide fresh insight into the nature of special relationships and lead readers on a memorable reading journey.'
These are beautifully written novels, not only fresh, original and fast-paced, but full of wonderful characters with real heart
'Novik won me over with her first novel. The combination of history, sympathetic characters, and an engaging style makes this series great, intelligent fun.’
‘Plenty of intrigue, swordplay, exotic locations, plausible invention. In short a treat’
‘Novik has stirred the passions with a genre-busting historical fantasy of the first order’
Naomi Novik was born in New York in 1973, a first-generation American, and raised on Polish fairy tales, Baba Yaga, and Tolkien. She studied English Literature at Brown University and Computer Science at Columbia University before leaving to work in the games industry. Over the course of a brief winter sojourn working on a game in Canada, she realized she preferred the writing to the programming, and, on returning to New York, decided to try her hand at novels. Temeraire was her first. Naomi lives in New York City with her husband and six computers. Her website and live journal are at www.temeraire.org