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Crucible of Gold by Naomi Novik
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Crucible of Gold (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Naomi Novik

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7996517,181 (3.76)86
Member:BeckahRah
Title:Crucible of Gold
Authors:Naomi Novik
Info:Del Rey (2012), Hardcover, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Temeraire, Dragons, Fantasy, Adventure

Work details

Crucible of Gold by Naomi Novik (2012)

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Laurence and Temeraire are abruptly brought out of Australia by none other than Hammond, the ambassador to China they had traveled with before. Their new assignment: to go to Brazil, where the Tswana have gone to reclaim their stolen kin, now slaves, and attempt to break up the tentative arrangement they have with Napoleon. Along the way, however, the restored Captain Laurence and his friends Granby and Iskierka are brought on board a French ship where they discover a new plot involving the Inca.

After floundering a bit in the last few books, this plot picked right up with new adventures and references to older ones coming together in a compelling way. The banter and humor that I enjoy is back, and I found myself racing on to find out what would happen next. Perhaps part of my enjoyment was because it was a first read and I didn't know what was coming, but I'm very much looking forward to seeing how Novik wraps up the story in the next two books. ( )
  bell7 | Sep 26, 2018 |
This series of books has almost without fail been compulsively readable, and this book is no exception. The setting is an alternate history where there are dragons on either side of the Napoleonic wars - and, it turns out, everywhere else on the globe as well.

I love how we get different views of the human-dragon relationship throughout the world as Laurence and Temeraire travel the globe; it's especially interesting to see the reversal of "ownership" practiced by the Inca, where instead of the humans owning the dragons, the dragons own humans. Naomi Novik continues to take a character who was, at the start of the series a relatively uptight, rule-following, privileged white male from money, with a strong belief in the rightness of the government and military her serves, and put him in situations that challenge his assumptions, his beliefs in government, and his morality. He's still occasionally overly proud and uptight, but you can see the changes in him, and the love that is shared between him and Temeraire, and it's those two things (along with some amazing prose) that keep me coming back to this series.

Would highly recommend to anyone. ( )
  VLarkinAnderson | Sep 24, 2018 |
Laurence and Temeraire have been living in an isolated part of Australia. It has been a simple and not unpleasant life of agriculture and an odd sort of freedom. But when Hammond arrives from China with a new and unexpected mission for the two they are torn. Laurence is reinstated, but the price is that he travels at once to South America in hopes of reconciling the African dragons Napoleon has shipped over. These angry beasts are in search of their kinsman who have been stolen and shipped overseas to serve as slaves. As a staunch abolitionist, Laurence has strong sympathies with the enemy dragons but he and Temeraire hope to influence a resolution that will see many souls freed.

All seems to have fallen apart when shortly after departure their ship is destroyed by a band of criminal sailors run amok. Stranded in the ocean without hope of reaching land the dragons fly to the point of exhaustion anyway. At the last possible moment they spot a transport and collapse. Alas, it is a French vessel and they are all taken captive. The French as it happens, are also headed to South America but they have a very different diplomatic mission. Deeming the enemy dragons too much of a liability the French maroon them on a desolate island without harness. It is up to the ingenuity of the remaining crew to escape the island and reach the mainland to accomplish their assignment in Rio.

I loved this installment of Temeraire's story and cannot wait to read the next one! ( )
  Juva | Dec 7, 2017 |
This is the seventh book in the Temeraire series. I enjoyed it a lot, on about the same level as the previous books, and definitely more than the sixth one. Unlike the last book, there weren’t as many unlikeable characters and I think that helped. I don’t have too much else to write about -- just a couple comments within the spoiler tags.

I expect that Riley isn’t really dead and will show back up sooner or later. When a fairly significant character dies, it’s usually made more obvious and definite. I won’t be terribly disappointed if I'm mistaken; I don’t much care one way or another except for the sake of the characters who do care. I haven’t cared much for him since his conflicts with Laurence in the earlier books.

I thought Granby was better developed in this book. I enjoyed learning more about him and seeing him play a slightly more prominent role in the story. I also was very happy to see him finally put his foot down with Iskierka. I hope he doesn’t back down in the remaining books.


Even though it took me 9 days to read this, it was only a reflection of my work schedule and not of my enjoyment of the book. I was on a business trip for a little over a week, with many 16-18 hour work days. I read most of this book within three days; the rest of the days involved reading the same paragraphs over and over with my eyes while my brain thought about work until I gave up the attempt. :) ( )
  YouKneeK | Jul 16, 2017 |
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Arthur Hammond prided himself on a certain degree of insensibility in the cause of duty - an indifference to physical discomfort and even to social awkwardness - a squelching of the natural repugnances, when these should interfere with the progress of a diplomatic mission.
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Book description
Naomi Novik’s beloved series returns, with Capt. Will Laurence and his fighting dragon Temeraire once again taking to the air against the broadsides of Napoleon’s forces and the friendly—and sometimes not-so-friendly—fire of British soldiers and politicians who continue to suspect them of divided loyalties, if not outright treason.  For Laurence and Temeraire, put out to pasture in Australia, it seems their part in the war has come to an end just when they are needed most. Newly allied with the powerful African empire of the Tswana, the French have occupied Spain and brought revolution and bloodshed to Brazil, threatening Britain’s last desperate hope to defeat Napoleon.So the British government dispatches Arthur Hammond from China to enlist Laurence and Temeraire to negotiate a peace with the angry Tswana, who have besieged the Portuguese royal family in Rio—and as bait, Hammond bears an offer to reinstate Laurence to his former rank and seniority as a captain in the Aerial Corps. Temeraire is delighted by this sudden reversal of fortune, but Laurence is by no means sanguine, knowing from experience that personal honor and duty to one’s country do not always run on parallel tracks.Laurence and Temeraire—joined by the egotistical fire-breather Iskierka and the still-growing Kulingile, who has already surpassed Temeraire in size—embark for Brazil, only to meet with a string of unmitigated disasters that leave the dragons and their human friends forced to make an unexpected landing in the hostile territory of the Inca empire, where they face new unanticipated dangers.Now with the success of the mission balanced on a razor’s edge, and failure looking more likely by the minute, the unexpected arrival of an old enemy will tip the scales toward ruin. Yet even in the midst of disaster, opportunity may lurk—for one bold enough to grasp it.
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"Naomi Novik's beloved series returns, with Capt. Will Laurence and his fighting dragon Temeraire once again taking to the air against the broadsides of Napoleon's forces and the friendly--and sometimes not-so-friendly--fire of British soldiers and politicians who continue to suspect them of divided loyalties, if not outright treason. For Laurence and Temeraire, put out to pasture in Australia, it seems their part in the war has come to an end just when they are needed most. Newly allied with the powerful African empire of the Tswana, the French have occupied Spain and brought revolution and bloodshed to Brazil, threatening Britain's last desperate hope to defeat Napoleon. So the British government dispatches Arthur Hammond from China to enlist Laurence and Temeraire to negotiate a peace with the angry Tswana, who have besieged the Portuguese royal family in Rio--and as bait, Hammond bears an offer to reinstate Laurence to his former rank and seniority as a captain in the Aerial Corps. Temeraire is delighted by this sudden reversal of fortune, but Laurence is by no means sanguine, knowing from experience that personal honor and duty to one's country do not always run on parallel tracks. Laurence and Temeraire--joined by the egotistical fire-breather Iskierka and the still-growing Kulingile, who has already surpassed Temeraire in size--embark for Brazil, only to meet with a string of unmitigated disasters that leave the dragons and their human friends forced to make an unexpected landing in the hostile territory of the Inca empire, where they face new unanticipated dangers. Now with the success of the mission balanced on a razor's edge, and failure looking more likely by the minute, the unexpected arrival of an old enemy will tip the scales toward ruin. Yet even in the midst of disaster, opportunity may lurk--for one bold enough to grasp it"--… (more)

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