An excerpt from “Temeraire” by Naomi Novik
His mouth was dry and cracked, his tongue swollen. His hands were clotted with sand. The wind bit sharply through the sodden wool of his coat, stained black with water, and he was barefoot. Slowly, he unfastened the remnants of a leather harness from around his waist: buckles and clasps of good steel, still bright, but heavily waterlogged; he let it fall to the sand. The sword-belt he kept. The blade when he drew it was bright Damascus steel, the hilt wrapped in black ray-skin, the collar the golden head of a dragon. He stared down at it, without recognition.
Temeraire? Oh, my! Naomi Novik has cobbled together this fantasy/alternative history combination of a British Naval Officer and an orphaned dragon who find each other on the high seas while England is in a fierce conflict with Napoleon. There are ten books in the series, and I’ve read them all twice! Here’s the kick. Talking, flying dragons! How cool is that? Temeraire (our leading dragon – yes, there are others) and
Capt. Will Laurence develop a bond of love and friendship that takes them far from home and tests the limits of society’s understanding of equality and freedom in a surprising fashion. The dialogue is exquisite! I can hear Temeraire’s voice as he chastises the other dragons for their selfishness and insensitivity. Probably the best series I’ve ever read in that genre. Thank you, Ms. Novik!