Books I like: The Temeraire series by Naomi Novik May 22, 2007Posted by Jeff in Books I like, Zook.
As I reported in a previous non-post, I spent a couple of hours on the evening of May 8 inside the It’s A Grind coffeehouse on Vermont, reading a book while the Griffith Park fire raged about a mile from my apartment.
The work that was sufficiently engrossing to distract me from that rather spectacular event was Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik, one of a series that has become my favorite read over the last month.
In this alternate universe, with Europe in the grip of the Napoleonic wars, dragons exist as companions to humans and serve as fighting airships. Captain Will Lawrence of the British Royal Navy captures a French frigate carrying a dragon egg, which hatches a rare and unusual beast that Lawrence names Temeraire after the ship made famous in Turner’s paintings (above).
The first book in the series, His Majesty’s Dragon, is my favorite of the three published to date; it traces Lawrence and Temeraire’s difficult adjustment to the ranks of the Aerial Corps. Throne of Jade sends the dragon, his captain and crew on a long journey in search of answers about his heritage; and Black Powder War tracks their difficult trek home.
Novik’s dragons share Anne McCaffrey’s impression of mystery and the deep bonding with their human captains, and her battle scenes reflect Patrick O’Brien’s sense of history and moment. And she shares with both authors a sly sense of humor, especially as regards the singular role that women play in the Aerial Corps.
No less than Peter Jackson, of Lord Of The Rings fame, has optioned the books, which could make for glorious movies. The fourth book, Empire of Ivory, is due out in September; here’s hoping Novik keeps up the pace. I recommend these without reservation. Thanks for the Christmas presents, Marcus!