Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik

When I was a teenager I read and enjoyed Anne McCaffrey's novels about the Dragonriders of Pern. I thought my dragon days were long behind me until a year or so ago when I discovered the books of Naomi Novik. She writes about an alternative world in which dragons are real. They are intelligent creatures who can speak, reason and form very definite opinions. Each dragon has a human captain and a close bond develops between the two. The books are set at the time of the Napoleonic Wars and dragons are used as weapons by both the British and the French.

Victory of Eagles is the fifth in the series. The main characters (in the other books as well) are the dragon Temeraire and his captain Will Laurence. Temeraire is a young dragon, I think he speaks and acts like a precocious ten year old. He is highly intelligent, and also highly prized because he is a Celestial. Celestials come originally from China and Temeraire is the only one in the British forces.

At the beginnning of this book Temeraire and Laurence are in disgrace and have been separated. I won't say why they are in disgrace because it would be a spoiler for the previous book. However the British government is forced to bring them back together as Napoleon's forces threaten invasion - Temeraire is too valuable a weapon to sit on the sidelines, and he will not fight without Laurence.

I think this has been my favourite of the series so far. I've always thought that Laurence has been a bit of a goody-goody but being in disgrace shows him in a new light. He is torn between his duty and what he knows is morally right. And the character of Temeraire changes as he realises that his actions affect the lives of others, and not always in a good way.


  1. Now this has got me really interested because over the past couple of years I've been reading the work of one of our undergrads who has written a fantasy trilogy. It is definitely apprentice work, although it has got better as the series has gone. However, one of my major criticisms has been how derivative her work is (Rowling could almost sue!) and from what you've said about this writer's work (unknown to me) I suspect this is another and a very major source. I shall have to do some reading. Thanks for bringing this to my notice.

  2. Annie - I think the hardest thing about being a writer must be having to be original. What a shame if your undergrad has used this as a source. The first in the series is called Temeraire if you want to start your research there.

  3. Great writer!
    Here's a preview of the new Tenemeire book!
    Crucible of Gold Upcoming4.me