His Majesty's Dragon

By Naomi Novik,

Book cover of His Majesty's Dragon

Book description

Naomi Novik's stunning series of novels follow the adventures of Captain William Laurence and his fighting dragon Temeraire as they are thrown together to fight for Britain during the turbulent time of the Napoleonic Wars.

As Napoleon's tenacious infantry rampages across Europe and his armada lies in wait for Nelson's…

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Why read it?

10 authors picked His Majesty's Dragon as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Have you ever wished you knew what your pet was thinking? That you could communicate with them with words or even with the power of your mind? I know I have.

This book is basically a chronicle of the Napoleonic Wars…but with dragons! When British naval Captain Will Laurence forms a bond with the dragon Temeraire, it changes both of their lives. The two are pressed into service, fighting against Napoleon’s own squad of dragon-riders.

The air battle scenes are thrilling, but the real heart of the book is the bond between Will and Temeraire. It is a daring adventure…

Though I don’t ordinarily read military-focused fantasy, the alternate history concept and the unfolding relationship between the dragon Temeraire and his rider Laurence drew me into this tale.

The growing bond between dragon and rider and the exploration of what rights sentient creatures like dragons might be entitled to, along with the complexities of their interactions with humans, made for an intriguing read. Though it’s been years since I read the book, it still remains vivid in my mind!

Tolstoy gave us a saga of love and parties in the shadow of the Napoleonic Wars, but did he think to give people pet dragons, that come in different colors, each of which have different capabilities and temperaments?

That alters how wars are fought and the delicate balance of the Great Powers in this alternate version of history? No. No, he did not. Go get it. Pure indulgence.

From Austin's list on set in alternate histories.

His Magesty’s Dragon is a rare treat. You won’t find mechsuits in this maelstrom. But Napoleonic Wars and Dragons? Yes, yes, yes! and more. Alternate history meets memorable arial duals, razor-sharp claws and prose, and wickedly smart dragons. The characters fly off the page, fight for King and country, and make boredom fade. And, if you like to binge, there are eight more after it. Enjoy! 

Temeraire is one of my most favorite and most memorable dragons. Naomi Novik does such an excellent job in bringing his character alive, and I often see glimpses of His Majesty’s Dragon shine through in the character of my own creation: Galirras. They both possess tremendous curiosity and wonder of the world, and both have command over the wind (though in very different ways). Temeraire’s absolute loyalty (and protectiveness) toward his human, Captain William Laurence, is one of the repeating drives throughout the series’ storyline and their debates on the rights of dragons gives one stuff to think about on…

Another take on the Napoleonic wars, Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series (named for the dragon first hatched in His Majesty’s Dragon) imagines how history might have unfolded if the fabled, talking creatures known as dragons had been real—and enlisted to fight for the nations at war. While Clarke’s fantastic insertion of magic into this period of history is perhaps more subtle, Ms. Novik’s is more thought through. The reader becomes familiar with a whole new department of the English armed forces, complete with its own uniforms, culture, and mores. I found that the level of detail Ms. Novik invested—coupled with…

I first met the dragon Temeraire in audiobook form. I was a busy stay-at-home mother wrangling two non-neurotypical children with conflicting needs. It was not the world I had prepared for, and I had my hands too full to do much reading—but I could still listen. Temeraire was living in his own alternate-history world. While still in his egg, he had been sent as a gift from China to Emperor Napoleon, but his ship was captured en route. When he hatched, he found himself bonded to an Englishman and placed in service in the British Aerial Corps during the Napoleonic…

I think that like most fans of fantasy, dragons remain one of the quintessential elements of that genre and the idea of a version of Earth where they were naturally integrated into society was too good of an idea to resist. The world that Naomi creates, and how just having dragons there has changed it from the world that is written in our history books, was fascinating. I loved seeing the path that she laid out from cultures that we are familiar with in the current day, to ones that had long since disappeared.

This is the first in a series of seven books set during the Napoleonic wars – with dragons (yeah, I know I said I wasn’t going to cover any series that go on too long – but the book does stand alone). The book covers the Napoleonic War very closely and its history is very solid – with the one exception being that both sides have dragons that they use in their battles. The story follows one British officer Captain Will Laurence, and his individual dragon, Temeraire, found as an egg on a captured French ship. And I mean, just…

If you haven't delved into the Temeraire series yet, pick up book one! Temeraire's tale begins in His Majesty's Dragon when he hatches on a ship and chooses his future rider and captain, Will Laurence. Temeraire grows and trains, becoming one of the largest and most intelligent fighters in the British army's Aerial Corps.

The most unique thing about this book is that it's historical fiction. The series takes place during the Napoleonic Wars, and shows what warfare would look like if massive dragons partook in the battles. However, the fantasy aspect of the book outweighs the historical aspect. There…

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