By Naomi Novik
Del Rey, March 2012
(Fantasy / Alternate History)
I'm a big fan of Novik's Temeraire series, so I pre-ordered the Kindle version and promptly forgot when the release date was. As a result, I was surprised and pleased when it popped up on my Home page on March 6.
This is the seventh book in the series about a marvelous talking dragon and Will Lawrence, an officer in the British Aerial Corp during the Napoleonic Wars. In order, the books are:
His Majesty's Dragon
Throne of Jade
Black Powder War
Empire of Ivory
Victory of Eagles
Tongues of Serpents
Crucible of Fire picks up where Tongues of Serpents left off, with Temeraire and Will still in Australia serving a seven-year sentence of transportation after Will committed treason at the end of Empire of Ivory. The new call to adventure starts when diplomat Arthur Hammond, from Throne of Jade, arrives with an offer to reinstate Will to duty. The catch is he will have to undertake a mission to South America to negotiate with the Tswama (an African tribe encountered in Empire of Ivory) to stop attacking the Portuguese colony in Brazil. After unintended events, Will and Temeraire find themselves attempting to stop Napoleon from forming an alliance with the Incan Empire. (Like I said. alternate history.)
Since Will never refuses to do his duty, and Temeraire never passes up a chance for adventure, they set out on a perilous sea voyage through the southern Pacific. Happily, at least to this reader, they are accompanied by two other dragons, including the unforgettable Isquierka, a Turkish fire-breathing dragon first encountered in Black Powder War. She is my second favorite dragon, after Temeraire, with a fiery temperament to match her fighting abilities. One never knows what Isqierka will do, sometimes with disastrous, sometimes hilarious consequences.
This is another delightful installment of the series. I won't say any more about what happens because I really do recommend this series, but think it should be read in order. There is more background about the series at Wikipedia, including descriptions of the various types of dragons. And the author's website has a video trailer and examples of lovely fan artwork.
And as always, don't forget to check the other monthly book reviews at Barrie's blog.
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