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His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik
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His Majesty's Dragon

by Naomi Novik

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Temeraire (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,601296766 (4.08)2 / 538
  1. 245
    Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian (lorax)
    lorax: The Napoleonic Wars, just with no dragons. Better-written than Hornblower and with much stronger characterization.
  2. 112
    Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey (Rozax)
    Rozax: Both Novik and McCaffrey take great care in developing the worlds for their respective series. If you like one, you may very well like the other.
  3. 91
    Mr. Midshipman Hornblower by C. S. Forester (DWWilkin)
    DWWilkin: If you like the time period, no better way to start then with the first popular series about Age of Sail
  4. 61
    Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (PghDragonMan, Caramellunacy)
    Caramellunacy: Both are alternate history/fantasy novels with a distinct nautical flair. His Majesty's Dragon is set during the Napoleonic Wars - just with dragons (obviously) as a sort of Air Navy - complete with crew. Leviathan is set during an alternate WWI between the Darwinists (who have living ships & weapons) and the Clankers (who use machines).… (more)
  5. 52
    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: A Novel by Susanna Clarke (ErlendSkjelten)
    ErlendSkjelten: Much heavier fare than Temeraire, but all the more enjoyable for it. The Napoleonic wars, with magicians instead of dragons.
  6. 30
    Airborn by Kenneth Oppel (elbakerone)
    elbakerone: Another interesting and well written historical fantasy.
  7. 30
    Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman (notemily)
    notemily: DRAGONS!
  8. 30
    The Dragon and the George by Gordon R. Dickson (infiniteletters)
  9. 31
    A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan (TomWaitsTables)
  10. 20
    Dragonhaven by Robin McKinley (infiniteletters)
  11. 10
    Opening Atlantis by Harry Turtledove (PghDragonMan)
  12. 10
    Midshipwizard Halcyon Blithe by James M. Ward (amysisson)
    amysisson: In this case, the dragon *is* the ship, and the main character is younger and less experienced, but otherwise they have a similar feel....
  13. 10
    Lord of the Changing Winds by Rachel Neumeier (noneofthis)
  14. 00
    The Dragon and the Thief by Gillian Bradshaw (TomWaitsTables)
  15. 00
    Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II by Vicki Croke (2wonderY)
    2wonderY: This is a real life story of a man whose all encompassing relationship with elephants, one in particular, echo that between Laurence and Temeraire.
  16. 11
    Sorcery and Cecelia, or, The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede (carlyrose)
    carlyrose: A bit lighter and for perhaps a younger audience, but also an alternate history dealing with the Napoleonic Wars.
  17. 12
    The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey (FFortuna)
  18. 01
    Cast in Shadow by Michelle Sagara (leahsimone)
  19. 01
    Dragon Companion by Don Callander (infiniteletters)
  20. 15
    Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb (KimarieBee)

(see all 21 recommendations)

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English (289)  Finnish (2)  Swedish (2)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  All (295)
Showing 1-5 of 289 (next | show all)
It is the early 1800's. The French Empire, led by Napoleon Bonaparte, is at war with many of Europe's nations. Britain, though small, is leading the resistance. Both side's aerial combatants have taken to the skies to advance the war efforts. There is one twist: instead of aircraft the combatants having taken flight on the backs of dragons.

His Majesty's Dragon is the first in Naomi Novik's Temeraire series. Historical fantasy usually isn't my thing so when my book club picked this one for the monthly read I wasn't excited. Having always loved dragons I decided to give the book a try anyway and I'm so glad I did. The story opens with the HMS Reliant capturing a French ship. Part of her cargo is an unhatched dragon egg. England's Aerial Corps are always in need of more dragons and this is a handsome prize! Much to everyone's surprise the ship's doctor determines that the egg is close to hatching. Captain Will Laurence has all of his officers, himself included, draw lots to see who will be the unfortunate man charged with the task to attempt to harness (bond with) the dragon. If successful that would mean the end of the man's Navy career and he would have to enter the Corps. Little does Laurence realize just how his life is about to change.

Laurence is a proper gentlemen and could easily have been lifted straight out of Pride and Prejudice with his formal attire, mode of speech and sense of duty and propriety. Temeraire absolutely stole my heart. He is highly intelligent, charming, funny and sees the world with a child's wonder. He is full of exuberance and the desire to learn. Their growing friendship and bond is the best part of the book. The relationship between dragon and aviator is all consuming and it is great to see what lengths a good aviator will go to in order to care for his dragon. Or her dragon, as there are also female aviators, though they are not as common. It's the small details, such as Laurence spending an evening reading to Temeraire, that has me completely sold on the camaraderie and affection between the two.

The Aerial Corps are also quite unique. The dragons have an entire crew that joins them in battle by using a complex system of hooks and harnesses to stay on board during flight. The crew includes gunners, spotters, bombers, etc., similar to what you'd find on a ship. They all train together to form one cohesive team. I liked the concept a lot.

The story is not without its faults. The plot is straight forward, following Laurence and Temeraire's training in the Corps and on to their first couple battles. There are no plot twists so it was fairly easy to see where things were going and several of the supporting characters have a stereotypical feel to them. These were not enough to ruin my enjoyment of the book.

And I really enjoyed this book. I ended up reading it between meetings at work it was that hard for me to put down. It's a short, light and satisfying read, a great start to a series. I look forward to reading more of Temeraire in the future. ( )
  Narilka | Feb 8, 2017 |
Delightful alternate history with dragons - Temeraire is a joy from his first appearance on the page, but the real delight here is in the bromance he develops with straight-laced Captain Will Laurence. Although it's relatively slow going, Novik is a fine hand at inciting emotional attachment and evoking the social intricacies of the times. Don't expect too much warfare (I consider this a plus, but those seeking more action-driven military pseudo-history may be disappointed).

Full review. ( )
1 vote imyril | Dec 18, 2016 |
The bromance is under fire when China sends a Prince to London to demand Temeraire's return.

I loved this second instalment even more than the first, possibly because of its single minded focus on relationships rather than military interludes. I’m delighted to say I couldn’t guess all the plot twists, and if the knowledge that there’s numerous books left in the series undercut the tension to a certain extent, it didn’t reduce my enjoyment in the slightest.

My only criticism is that this second novel is incredibly male-dominated; I very much missed Jane Roland once the boys set sail, and was sad that the lady dragons of China stayed largely off the page for all their influence. I hope for a more balanced community in the next book.

Full review. ( )
  imyril | Dec 18, 2016 |
This series takes the Napoleonic Wars and adds dragons to the weaponry. But what was so unexpected about this first entry is the character of Will Laurence, an experienced Navy captain, who accepts the responsibility of a dragon that hatches after they capture a French ship. He knows nothing about being a dragon master except that it will require him to abandon his Naval post and join the Aerial Corps - not something he had intended to do! The dragon, whom Laurence names Temeraire, is quite remarkable. He speaks English fluently, right out of the egg, and proves to be an intellectual challenge to Laurence. Simon Vance gives perfect voice to Temeraire, sophisticated and knowing yet naive and sometimes vulnerable. The relationship that develops between dragon and master is heartwarming, amusing, and admirable. The naval battles will appeal to some readers but even those who do not appreciate military strategy will find much to love in this unlikely and compelling story. Though this is only the beginning of a lengthy series and some will want to know the fate of Laurence and Temeraire, the resolution is satisfactory enough for the book to stand alone. ( )
  bookappeal | Dec 12, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 289 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Naomi Novikprimary authorall editionscalculated
Harman, DominicCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marquez, GayleIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Valkonen, TeroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
For Charles, sine qua non
First words
The deck of the French ship was slippery with blood, heaving in the choppy sea; a stroke might as easily bring down the man making it as the intended target.
Quotations
“I should rather have you than a heap of gold, even if it were very comfortable to sleep on.”
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Published as "His Majesty's Dragon" in the United States and "Temeraire" in the United Kingdom.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345481283, Mass Market Paperback)

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 extraordinary creature. Thrust into the rarified 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 fire.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:41 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

When the HMS Reliant captures a French ship and its priceless cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, Captain Will Laurence is swept into an unexpected kinship with an extraordinary creature and joins the elite Aerial Corps as a master of the dragon Temaraire, in which role he must match wits with the powerful dragon-borne forces of Napoleon Bonaparte.… (more)

» see all 7 descriptions

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