Saturday, June 24, 2006

His Majesty's Dragon - Naomi Novik [June/06]

I bought this book at a sale at my local bookstore, buy three and get the fourth free. I had been looking at it for a while, but wasn't sure if it was any good. So, I took a chance. I get it home, and then I start noticing that a lot of bloggers have read it and enjoyed it! Even if fantasy is not their normal genre. So, that meant I had to read it and see if I liked it too.

From the back of the book:

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 extrordinary creature. Thrust into the rarefied 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 fate.

The thing about fantasy novels is that they come in two categories: totally made up worlds that only just barely can be related to life on present day Earth or fantasy novels set in a period of Earth's history but with things altered. Novik, who as it says in her bio is a history buff, chose to set her novel in the latter category. His Majesty's Dragon is set during the Napoleonic Wars, so the feelings, the battles, and the lifestyles are historically accurate, just Novik inserts dragons into the mix which gives a different feel to the battles fought.

Capt. Will Laurence has made his life a sea-faring one. He has the control of his men and does everything in his power to benefit the wars, but one ship that they capture changes his life forever. We see a transformation in Laurence when Temeraire, the dragon, takes a liking to him and choses him to be his friend. You would think I would write master, but they have a very close relationship and make decisions together. The dragon keepers really genuinely care for their dragons, they are as closely as you can possible get to one another, and they would both do anything for the safety of the other.

I am very excited to read the sequels to this book, so much so that I went to the store and bought them the other day. Then found out I could have got them from the publisher, but I didn't even think of it with her being a fantasy author. So, I will say that Novik is one of the few fantasy authors not published by TOR or Luna or other large fantasy publications. For some reason, this made her more appealing because you know a book is good when publishers will break out of their normal genres to get her.

For those of you that have read book one, might I point out that there is short story on her site that falls between His Majesty's Dragonand Throne of Jade.

A very wonderful new fantasy series.


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