Captain Will Laurence has spent his life in the Navy, and expects it to continue that way. However, being currently embroiled in the Napoleonic Wars, that life soon comes to an end – but not through death. Instead, having captured a French ship, Captain Laurence’s ship takes its cargo as a prize…a large dragon’s egg, whose inhabitant decides upon hatching that Captain Laurence will do nicely for a handler.
In this alternate history, dragons that aren’t paired with handlers tend to go feral, therefore losing whichever country that claims it as their own a very valuable asset in the aerial wing of its armed forces. Which is why Captain Laurence is forced to give up his naval career, and join the aerial corps.
Temeraire, both the book and its titular dragon (at least, in the UK it’s titular. Apparently elsewhere this goes by the title of His Majesty’s Dragon) are utterly, utterly charming from start to finish. From the tender bond that grows between Laurence and Temeraire and their tribulations as they train, to the thrilling aerial battles as opposing dragons seek to either protect or destroy the naval forces (and each other), every page was an utter delight, whether it left me cheering or crying (the mistreated and neglected Levitas left me wth large lumps in my throat every time he appeared).
This is the second book from Novik that I’ve enjoyed, as well as apparently being just one of a long line of books in a series starring these characters. I imagine I’ll be back to spend more time with them soon.