Publication Date: March 2006
Short Synopsis (Goodreads): 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.
My Review: I am so happy I stumbled across this book. It's been out for a few years and I'm not sure why it didn't come to my attention sooner, but I am SO glad that it finally did (probably reading a review on a blog, so thank you)!
Looking at this just on a library shelf, I probably wouldn't pick it up (sad, but true, I judge covers sometimes unless someone has told me about it or I have read the description. This unobtrusive cover, however, is hiding all kinds of awesome! Basically this has Master and Commander, Jane Austen, and Eragon, all wrapped up into one, it's fantastic! You get the old timey feel of proper speaking and manners mixed with naval battles and talking dragons and their handlers!
That being said, there were times where things were a bit slow, and someone would take a slight to a comment that would pass a bit over my head, but for the most part, I was able to imagine things exactly. The writing was superb and the story telling and story line are very original. I just can't say enough of how much I appreciate this book.
Ms. Novik's universe sounds so entirely plausible that I'm a little put out that I haven't been called to be a Long-Wing captain myself! I'm also pretty happy that I came upon this series when I did since the 7th (is it the last? Not sure) just recently came out so I can read through this as quickly as I am able (I hate waiting).
Definitely worth a read for fantasy buffs but for those with a historical fiction bent as well. Truly, awesome work!