His Majesty's Dragon

His Majesty's Dragon

Book - 2006
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"Just when you think you've seen every variation possible on the dragon story, along comes Naomi Novik. . . . Her wonderful Temeraire is a dragon for the ages."--Terry Brooks

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.

"Terrifically entertaining."--Stephen King
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, c2006.
ISBN: 9780345481283
Branch Call Number: FIC NOVIK
Characteristics: 356 p. : ill. ; 18 cm.


From the critics

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FPL_Amy Nov 22, 2019

Imagine if Wellington and Napoleon fought each other with dragons! Seriously, it’s an alternate universe in which the Napoleonic Wars are fought using dragons. It’s everything I didn’t know I wanted in a book, until I started reading it.

Aug 06, 2019

Give me Napoleonic wars and dragons any day. I loved this book and can't wait to read more of the series.

Jul 02, 2019

Must read

alburke47 Jun 13, 2019

So I’ve had this on my TBR for quite some time, but picked up the audiobook from my local library. The story is basically the Napoleonic Wars with the fun addition of dragons (which make everything better). A ship’s captain, Will Laurence, captures a French ship,and on board is a dragon egg. When the egg hatches and the dragon bonds with Laurence, he must leave his beloved navy and join the very different aviators, where his life undergoes significant change. Here’s my thoughts on the much-loved novel:
As already mentioned, I listened to the audio version, and the narrator (Simon Vance) does a stellar job breathing life into Laurence, the dragon Temeraire, and all the other various military-type characters in the story
The relationship between a man and his dragon is easily the highlight of the book. Laurence’s struggles as his life changes - a change in career, being disowned by his family and becoming a surrogate father - are mirrored by Temeraire’s struggles to adapt to the strangeness of human nature
The pace is kind of slow. It’s certainly not boring, but there’s not a lot of non-verbal action. That being said the battle at the end of the book is pretty darn exciting, but otherwise it’s mostly conversation driven
Of course, the author writes all this chit-chat really well, but I’m not sure I’d have enjoyed the reading experience as much as the listening one
Temeraire is easily the finest character in the book, not just because he’s a dragon, but Novik’s portrayal of him. There’s a definite feline vibe to his character, and he made me laugh a bunch of times with his wry observations Laurence is also a blast, offering some equally witty critique, and often has his stiff upper lip and gentleman’s sensibilities been cast into doubt by his dragon on occasion.

I’ll give the audiobook an entertaining 4 out of 5 stars. Not sure I would have sprung for that if I’d read it though.

IndyPL_SteveB Apr 17, 2019

The first book of the “Temeraire” fantasy series, a combination of C.F. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower and Anne McCaffrey’s Pern, but with its own originality. The series takes place in the Napoleonic Wars, but with both sides having intelligent dragons as combatants. The dragons are like battleships, large enough for a captain and a crew of 20 or more. Dragons, when hatched, each choose a human to be their captain.

Main character Will Laurence is a ship captain in the Royal Navy who is chosen by a newly-hatched Chinese dragon, immediately ending his career in the Navy and beginning his career in the Aerial Corps. The book is very entertaining and a good intro to the series, since both captain and dragon have a lot to learn about each other and about warfare in the air.

madamimadam Jan 24, 2019

Dragons instead of navies in the Napoleonic wars — that’s the short version. It’s paced well, has an extensive cast of characters and makes you believe in a dragon-y world of “what if...?”

Book 1 of the Temeraire series. This book is great for fantasy fans and fans of alternate histories. I’m actually not a big fan of either, but I still LOVE this series. I found the premise very intriguing – what if dragons had existed during the Napoleonic Wars and the British and French used them as an Air Corps? When Captain Will Laurence’s ship captures a French frigate with a dragon egg on board, Laurence finds himself swept out of his orderly seafaring life when he is chosen by the hatchling to be its captain. Laurence names the dragon Temeraire and the two bond instantly. And it’s this bond that makes the series so special. Laurence has to fight against people treating dragons and their captains like second-class citizens in the armed forces – people are still afraid of dragons and the people who ride them are thought of as odd ducks. My verdict? High-flying adventures abound in this tale of a man and his dragon! (submitted by GH)

Jan 22, 2018

I liked this book but I honestly felt that not much happened.

BostonPL_LauraB Jun 15, 2017

This was fun, and although a military historical fantasy novel, it was still lighthearted at times! I wouldn't rush into the next one, but I would definitely read more set in this world. I want to get to know some of the other captains and their dragons.

LPL_MeredithW Feb 13, 2017

I'm not much of a fantasy reader in general, but I absolutely LOVED this book, the first in a 9-book series that reimagines the Napoleonic wars as fought by talking dragons and their human handlers! I'm a sucker for books that nail the style and tone of another era, and Naomi Novik weaves her story with beautiful, period-appropriate language. I can't wait to read the rest of the series!

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Jan 15, 2016

LauraSteinert thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

JMP7 Nov 25, 2015

JMP7 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

vv1 Mar 12, 2015

vv1 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

May 05, 2014

GirlWhoLived thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

lucky Mar 12, 2009

lucky thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over


Add a Summary
May 05, 2014

William Laurence, prestigious naval captain, captures a French vessel in 1804 which is carrying a rare dragon egg. The creature hatches and bonds to Laurence, who hesitantly names him Temeraire and resigns himself to the sacrifice of life in the Aerial Corps (who are considered to be rowdy and undisciplined). However, even as he is shocked by the female captains and loose formality of the Corps, Laurence comes to form a deep bond with Temeraire, and the inseparable pair and their new friends serve Britain through the war. Daring adventure and fascinating characters abound.

lucky Mar 12, 2009

A captain who is part of the Queen's Navy discovers a dragon egg aboard a french ship. The egg hatches and the dragon, amazingly, attaches to the captain, who must now become an aviary.


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