Wednesday, 28 August 2013

HISTORICAL FANTASY: Blood of Tyrants - Naomi Novik

Release Date: 13/08/13
Publisher:  Del Rey


Naomi Novik’s beloved Temeraire series, a brilliant combination of fantasy and history that reimagines the Napoleonic wars as fought with the aid of intelligent dragons, is a twenty-first-century classic. From the first volume, His Majesty’s Dragon, readers have been entranced by the globe-spanning adventures of the resolute Capt. William Laurence and his brave but impulsive dragon, Temeraire. Now, in Blood of Tyrants, the penultimate volume of the series, Novik is at the very height of her powers as she brings her story to its widest, most colorful canvas yet.

Shipwrecked and cast ashore in Japan with no memory of Temeraire or his own experiences as an English aviator, Laurence finds himself tangled in deadly political intrigues that threaten not only his own life but England’s already precarious position in the Far East. Age-old enmities and suspicions have turned the entire region into a powder keg ready to erupt at the slightest spark—a spark that Laurence and Temeraire may unwittingly provide, leaving Britain faced with new enemies just when they most desperately need allies instead.

For to the west, another, wider conflagration looms. Napoleon has turned on his former ally, the emperor Alexander of Russia, and is even now leading the largest army the world has ever seen to add that country to his list of conquests. It is there, outside the gates of Moscow, that a reunited Laurence and Temeraire—along with some unexpected allies and old friends—will face their ultimate challenge . . . and learn whether or not there are stronger ties than memory.


OK, I loved the original books in the series and sadly missed Crucible of Gold, so when I started reading this, it was fairly obvious that I’d missed an epic adventure. This tale however was something that I found sadly lacking. Don’t get me wrong it was great to adventure with Temeraire and Laurence again as well as spending time with their friends but this book felt a little flat, as if it was designed more to be a series of short stories that was suddenly decided to be bound together to make a novel. I felt cheated and a little disjointed as each time I felt I had a handle, the events within seemed to jump partly to a new location finally taking us to Moscow for the main part of the book.

That said, I do love the authors writing style, I love the prose, the pace and the way that the combat is not only handled but delivered to the readers imagination but when its delivered in such a way I had a hard time accepting this as an overall title. I really would suggest that they sell this more as a couple of shorts and a novella rather than one book.

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