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Temeraire / His Majesty's Dragon
Naomi Novik
Harper Collins Voyager, 330 pages / Del Rey, 384 pages

His Majesty's Dragon
Naomi Novik
Naomi Novik was born in New York in 1973. A first-generation American, she was raised on Polish fairy tales, Baba Yaga, and Tolkien. She studied English Literature at Brown University and did graduate work in Computer Science at Columbia University before leaving to participate in the design and development of the computer game Neverwinter Nights: Shadows of Undrentide. She decided to try her hand at novels. Temeraire is her first.

Naomi Novik Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Alma A. Hromic

I cannot seem to begin this review without gushing -- I've tried it a half-dozen different ways, and it always comes down to this: Naomi Novik is one of those authors whose books, on the strength of Temeraire, I will be buying on sight from now on as soon as I see a new one in the shops.

It really is that good.

There is something of Jane Austen and Patrick O'Brian and the early beloved Anne McCaffrey in here, and yet as many comparisons as come to mind fall away as quickly as they arise because this book is none of those things, and all of them, and a wholly original entity unto itself. It is remarkable for the quality of Englishness that it exudes, especially given the author's background -- that Naomi Novik has nailed England and English mores and society and language so well is an achievement as and of itself, quite apart from the extraordinary world building and the beautiful and apparently effortless melding of history and fantasy. And we won't even talk about the story -- full of humour and pathos and treachery and high drama -- or the characters, starting with Temeraire himself, a dragon quite unlike any other. I have ever "met." Suffice it to say that it was with a feeling of what was almost jealousy that I heard Temeraire tell his Captain, Will Laurence, "I should rather have you than a heap of gold." There something in that quiet statement that speaks volumes to me.

I now want my own dragon.

I confess to probably being a little unable to fully visualise Novik's vision of dragons in battle -- the concept of a single dragon carrying a crew of gunners and a first lieutenant and a ground crew in a gondola dangling from the dragon's belly. Perhaps I'm a little too well schooled in McCaffrey's vision -- one man (or woman) to a dragon, and none of these boarding maneuvers in mid-air. I can't quite imagine a self-respecting dragon being able to fly while being infested with a dozen human beings crawling about on its back like vermin -- but if Temeraire does it, it has to be all right. Anything Temeraire does is okay by me. I won't really go into any details here because I honestly don't want to spoil anyone's reading experience where this book is concerned. All I can say is, pick this one up -- beg, borrow or (preferably) go out and buy a copy. You will treasure the time you are going to spend in the company of Temeraire and Laurence.

This is a brilliant debut by a writer whose next work I am already eagerly anticipating.

Copyright © 2006 Alma A. Hromic

Alma A. Hromic, addicted (in random order) to coffee, chocolate and books, has a constant and chronic problem of "too many books, not enough bookshelves." When not collecting more books and avidly reading them (with a cup of coffee at hand), she keeps busy writing her own. Her international success, The Secrets of Jin Shei, has been translated into ten languages worldwide, and its follow-up, Embers of Heaven, is coming out in 2006. She is also the author of the fantasy duology The Hidden Queen and Changer of Days, and is currently working on a new YA trilogy to be released in the winter of 2006.

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