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 Naomi Novik: Temeraire 
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Post Naomi Novik: Temeraire
I saw this link on another forum: Temeraire

This book is a historical fantasy. I was wondering what you think about it. Are you intrigued enough to buy a copy, even if you aren't a fan of fantasy novels?

I used to read a lot of fantasy books when I was a teenager. I am sort of tempted to buy this one. However, as I wrote in my post on the other forum, I hope the dragons don't breathe fire (for obvious reasons).

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susan


Tue Jan 10, 2006 4:53 pm
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It looks intriguing enough, for sure. I wonder if will make its way to Cambs Libraries; I'd certainly give it a try out of curiosity.

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Tue Jan 10, 2006 6:05 pm
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I have so many other books on my want/wish/need list that one about dragons, though intriguing, is not and will not be in the cards. If I should see it used somewhere, or in a library (if my place is ever annexed) might lead me to look more closely at it, but not till then...
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Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:45 am
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Yes, it's not really a priority and I probably would try to get a used copy as well.

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Thu Jan 12, 2006 11:46 pm
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Okay, I just finished reading this book. I'm still sort of digesting it, but here are my initial impressions (as a fantasy and AoS fic fan).

It was easy to read and paced well. The concept of a dragon corps is interesting, although I have a bit of a problem believing that such powerful and intelligent animals would be so much under human control. I know it's due to loyalty and emotional bonds...but still...

The way that Novik has worked dragons into the historical setting is interesting as well. For example...Did you know that the <i>L'Orient</i> was set on fire during the Battle of the Nile by a dragon? ;)

One point I wasn't clear on (will have to re-read part)...I gather that Nelson didn't die during the Battle of Trafalgar? :shock:

As I mentioned in the movie thread, Novik needs to do a bit more research when it comes to the naval aspect. There were errors, which anyone familiar with the way the RN worked will pick up on. If the reader is approaching this as a fantasy novel, where no rules apply, then it's not an issue.

It may be just me...but the relationship between Captain Laurence and Temeraire struck me as very much like that of Aubrey/Maturin. Maybe it was the use of the "my dear" bit that did it, I don't know.

Another bit that sort of bugged me was the ease in which Laurence transitioned and fit in. I had expected more internal and external conflict, but I suppose Temeraire's friendship and status negated most of that.

Overall, I enjoyed it. It was a nice break from "serious" naval stuff. I will probably read the other books in the series, although not right away.


Sidenote: If this book does make it to a big screen version, I fear it will become fodder for a lot of bad fanfic and slash. <i>Cringes at the thought of human/dragon slash.</i>

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susan


Thu Sep 21, 2006 5:29 pm
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susan wrote:
It was easy to read and paced well. The concept of a dragon corps is interesting, although I have a bit of a problem believing that such powerful and intelligent animals would be so much under human control. I know it's due to loyalty and emotional bonds...but still...

The second book does go into this quite a bit, when the dragon main character gets to sample an existence where dragons are revered and respected rather more than like a cavalry horse... there are some effects that begin cascading, here.

Ron Wanttaja


Fri Sep 22, 2006 5:31 am
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susan wrote:
However, as I wrote in my post on the other forum, I hope the dragons don't breathe fire (for obvious reasons).
Susan, since you have read the first book since this earlier comment, you now know that fire breathing dragons are very rare. For others thinking about reading the series, other than "tooth and claw" weapons, only a few dragons in Novik’s fantasy have "special" weapons. For example, NO British native dragon breed has the ability to breathe fire and only one British breed has the ability to spit poison or acid. The French and Spanish each have a fire breathing breed but dragons worldwide are not numerous and the fire breathing dragons are very few. Domesticated dagons are expensive to feed and maintain (large ground and aerial crews, daily feeding of live beasts), thus limiting their numbers.

When special dragon weapons are employed, the dragon's head must be pointing downward, thus making them vulnerable from above. The sonic roar weapon (aka "divine wind") is restricted to one special breed in China and only eight of these dragons exist in all the world.

susan wrote:
One point I wasn't clear on (will have to re-read part)...I gather that Nelson didn't die during the Battle of Trafalgar?
Novik does write that Nelson is not killed but he is burned by some flaming canvas falling to the deck. One of the characters makes an inappropriate joke that Nelson’s medals are now permanently imprinted on his chest (from the flames) so he will always be wearing them. Not really funny as far as I am concerned: arm, eye and now chest. How serious his wounds are is not fully discussed. I’m not sure that I like having him survive Trafalgar, my two cents.

susan wrote:
As I mentioned in the movie thread, Novik needs to do a bit more research when it comes to the naval aspect. There were errors, which anyone familiar with the way the RN worked will pick up on. If the reader is approaching this as a fantasy novel, where no rules apply, then it's not an issue.
I saw what you meant by this, especially in naval promotions, but I was kind of impressed about the method she uses to mirror the navy way of fighting ships in fighting her dragons. In Britain, there appear to be fewer dragons than ships-of-the-line (Napoleon has a larger number but some are involved in land engagements). This keeps naval fleets very important in the grand scheme of things.

Since so few dragons have weapons other than teeth and claws, Novik gives each of the larger dragons an aerial crew that includes riflemen (similar to Royal Marines) that fire upon other dragons. Bombs can be dropped on other dragons as well as ships and these function as the equivalent to cannon... and they don't seem to be any more accurate than cannon fire. A dragon's aerial crew can "board" an enemy dragon to capture an opposing captain thus causing the dragon to surrender to keep his companion from suffering harm. If a dragon wants to attack a ship or land installation, they will have to get close enough to come into range of cannon, harpoons, and long barrel "pepper guns." Dragons have limits on flying times and distances and must regularly be supplied just as ships are. If a dragon must travel a geat distance, it is transported upon special navy transport ships thus putting a dragon's travel at the mercy of wind and tide. Therefore the normal technology of Nelson's era is somewhat maintained even within the fantasy of dragons.

All in all, I felt that Novik put a lot of thought into her fantasy to make it seem reasonably plausible and to keep dragons from becoming some sort of ultimate weapon. I’m looking forward to finishing the trilogy.

Don


Sun Oct 01, 2006 9:44 am
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Well, further to my recent post, I collected this book from the library but must admit temporary defeat. I opened my mind to dragons and their pilots set 200 years ago alongside wooden warships, and did indeed see the dragons as cavalry horses (as I see Don mentioned) but decided it wasn't for me when the dragons started to speak. :lol:

However, it is a not a book I have dismissed entirely. I think the concept is very ingenious, and I hope it goes ahead into a film. I'd certainly plan on seeing it.

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Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:36 pm
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Mil Goose wrote:
but decided it wasn't for me when the dragons started to speak. :lol:
I know exactly what you mean... but the most shocking talking dragon in my experience was in Dragonheart. When Draco opened his mouth and James Bond spoke, I nearly dropped my popcorn. That was one movie, while enjoyable to watch, that was really, really difficult to "get into." The fantasy disappeared and I popped back into my theater seat every time Sean Connery spoke.

The concept by Novik of having dragons actually talk (rather than being like animals or communicating telepathically as in the Pern novels) really made them seem more like people and added to her theme of exploring the equality "rights" of dragons, especially starting in the second book of the series.

Don


Fri Oct 27, 2006 4:24 pm
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I thought I should note that the fourth book in the Temeraire series, titled "Empire of Ivory," is available next month (September 25, 2007) according to Amazon.com.

Click Here for some information.

Don


Fri Aug 10, 2007 8:18 am
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Post Naomi Novik: Empire of Ivory
"Empire of Ivory" by Naomi Novik

Spoilers below:

I just finished the fourth book in the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik titled "Empire of Ivory." Dragons in the UK have succumbed to an epidemic with symptoms similar to influenza, leaving the nation vulnerable to attack by Napoleon. Will Laurence and Temeraire are sent to Africa to find a cure.

Human slavery, Catholic emancipation, and Dragon’s rights are interesting sub-plots in this historical fantasy. In the first novel, readers were introduced to the status of dragons within the British society. Dragons are respected in the UK but this respect is more like that of a good racing horse or, in this case, a good warship. This same attitude is repeated in French society and, in the third novel, in the Turkish nation. In the second novel, the Chinese nation has accepted dragons as full members of its society, even venerating the intellect and refinement of dragon accomplishments. In this novel, we are introduced to another, different, human and dragon relationship… that of an African nation who consider Dragons actually related to humans. The King of this nation is a dragon, his "son" is human. Dragons are village elders to the natives. Novik seems to relish exploring such relationships while displaying the actual British Parliamentary discussions about slavery and Catholic issues from that period.

Since the setting is Africa, abolition is again considered with William Wilberforce making an appearance. A loose parallel could be made to the lack of rights of slaves, Irish Catholics, and the need for expanded rights for dragons.

In another thread, I asked a question concerning the views of Nelson on slavery(Click Here). Novik seems to have done her homework and the fictional Nelson in her book has similar views to the real Nelson. Of course, in this novel, Nelson survives Talfalgar and has been raised to Duke. He then speaks in the House of Lords against the abolitionist cause.

Another recent discussion was about the Royal Navy practising a more civilized warfare than France, at least when it came to using red-hot shot in ship-to-ship battles (Click Here). I'm afraid that the British are somewhat maligned in this novel when an infected dragon is deliberately returned to France in hopes of spreading the epidemic there (and killing Napoleon's dragons) while keeping the cure within England.

Historical differences in this fantasy include the lack of success in European colonization of both Africa and the Inca civilization. All brought about by the fact that the native populations have their own dragons to draw upon when foreign armies and navies appear. Novik has put a lot of thought into the possibilities raised by the presence of dragons worldwide, rather than just dealing with the AoS warfare issues between England and France.

The only thing I dislike is the cliff hanger ending. I really hate to wait a year to find out the conclusion of an event that takes place in the current novel. Oh, well, not the first time in a series! (Luke, I am your father.)

BTW, the fifth book in the series tentatively titled "Victory of Eagles" is due out in 2008 and, according to some info on-line deals with Napoleon invading England.

Don


Tue Oct 23, 2007 1:47 am
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I just realized that the fifth book in Naomi Novik's series titled "Victory of Eagles" has been released just last month. I am going to pick it up today if available. I wonder if anyone has read it yet?

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timoneer wrote:
I just realized that the fifth book in Naomi Novik's series titled "Victory of Eagles" has been released just last month. I am going to pick it up today if available. I wonder if anyone has read it yet?

I saw it at Borders the other day. Hardcover. I think I'll pass until it comes out in paperback.

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susan


Tue Jul 29, 2008 6:22 pm
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timoneer wrote:
I just realized that the fifth book in Naomi Novik's series titled "Victory of Eagles" has been released just last month. I am going to pick it up today if available. I wonder if anyone has read it yet?


Spoilers Below!
Spoilers Below!


I just finished this book and didn't find it as satisfying as the previous ones for some reason that I cannot put my finger on. Maybe it is because Novik has allowed her fantasy to catch up with Nelson's real life. While she had him survive Trafalgar, he meets his demise in this book.

The main elements in this book are the "unsatisfactory" (to me) resolution of the cliffhanger ending to the 4th book (i.e. the "treason" of Will Laurence) and the invasion of Britain by Napoleon.

In the first, I wanted Laurence to be forgiven for his previous act and become the hero of the battle against Napoleon and be restored to his former status. No luck there.

The second element is the successful crossing of the channel by Napoleon's forces and the resulting clash on English soil. Novik seems to have put a lot of thought into this fantasy event.

Novik has added some new weapons to the dragon forces (harpoons fired by dragons, flaming missiles, unmanned dragon forces, typhoon waves) so her imagination is still alive and well.

BTW, the continuing saga of the emancipation of dragons in Britain continues as an interesting sub-plot.

Has any one an opinion about Laurence's next "assignment." There were no battles there that I remember. Will the next book be a book of "discovery"?

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Thu Oct 16, 2008 3:23 pm
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I have only read the first book but I found it disappointing.

Ms. Novik doesn't understand ships. At one point she has her ship's captain/dragonrider standing looking forward on the bow of a cutter running before the wind, with a wind blowing on his face. Oops. The book has lots of minor mistakes and glitches that became distracting.

The human/dragon relationships never quite worked for me. The dragons seemed like huge super-intelligent talking puppy dogs whereas the human characters seemed more Regency clichés than people.

I recall being a big fan of Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern several decades ago. In those books the dragons were telepathic and I don't recall them being so cute. I was also in my teens when I read them which may have made a difference as well.

I recently posted a review of His Majesty's Dragon on my blog if anyone is interested.

His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik - A Review

Rick Spilman
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Fri Mar 20, 2009 4:09 pm
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