Obdormio.com Unwasted Hours

12 April, 2012

The Fighting Temeraire

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Obdormio @ 00:00

His Majesty’s Dragon, the first book in the Temeraire series, opens with a British ship capturing a French one in 1805, and finding a dragon egg in its hold. This is not extraordinary – in the alternate history of this series, dragons have been domesticated in Europe since the Romans – but it is a great good fortune, as England has a dearth of dragons compared to other European powers, and France especially. Unfortunately, the egg is ready to hatch. The ship, naturally, carries no trained aviators, so it falls to the crew of sailors to attempt to harness the dragon, lest it become feral and of no use. The problem is that a dragon bonds with a rider for life, and the man who succeeds with the harnessing will be forced to leave the relatively respectable Navy for a life in the much more maligned Aerial Corps.

I have greatly enjoyed the Temeraire books since I first discovered them about a year ago. They are a delightful mix of ¬†Hornblower-esque military fiction and fantasy. All of the stories are enjoyable – the lifelong sailor adapting to life as an aviator, the ongoing war with Napoleon and the sacrifices needed to win it, the continual discovery of the full extent of the dragon Temeraire’s abilities, Temeraire’s slow, slow campaign for dragon rights, and best of all the friendship that develops between the dragon and the rider. It’s a thing of beauty, I tells ya!

I also really like the world the books are set in. The presence of dragons all over the world – except in Australia, obviously, ’cause Australia’s always got to be different, hasn’t it, with its freaking koalas and platypuses and poison everythings – has resulted in a pretty different history from our own, at least outside Europe. Luckily, the author seems eager to show it off, and several of the books involve long journeys to various corners of the globe, giving us a good view of it. I haven’t read the most recent book yet, but I understand it involves a visit to the Inca empire, which with dragons was able to withstand Spanish incursion, and I’m greatly looking forwards to it.

As with the Dresden files, I have primarily listened to these as audiobooks, which I can heartily recommend. Simon Vance has a great voice for this sort of period piece, and he manages to make all the characters sound different enough that there is no problem following along.

The books aren’t very long, nor too heavy reading, so I have found them perfect for quick and very enjoyable reads in between larger projects. And come on, it’s the Napoleonic wars¬†with dragons! How can you not love that?

9 Comments »

  1. I already love them, and I haven’t even started – me want! Can you find it in your heart to lend me the audiobooks (i.e. let me steal them)? I have put the Dresden Files on my reading list as well, so if you do not help me get a hold of these books I blame you for never reaching the end of that list…

    Comment by Mari — 12 April, 2012 @ 13:45

  2. I’ll gladly lend them to you, though the DRM might make difficulties.

    Comment by Obdormio — 12 April, 2012 @ 14:03

  3. And what’s with the language, Mari? “Borrow me”? Seriously… I want an edit button for these comments while you’re at it.

    Comment by Mari — 12 April, 2012 @ 13:46

  4. Seconding the need for the edit button.

    Also seconding the desire to read these books! Sigh, I need to buy an extra couple of centuries of life expectancy from the next travelling magus I stumble over.

    Comment by Loki — 13 April, 2012 @ 09:51

  5. All right, you two, I’ve found a plugin that lets you edit your comments for ten minutes after they’re made. If you’re a registered and logged in user you can edit indefinitely. I guess that means I should open for registration and stuff.

    Comment by Obdormio — 13 April, 2012 @ 11:06

  6. Remember that when I logged in I still could only edit comments on posts I made myself…?

    Comment by Loki — 13 April, 2012 @ 12:18

  7. Yeah. Remember how I just said I’d installed a new plugin to allow editing?

    Comment by Obdormio — 13 April, 2012 @ 12:48

  8. Thank you! An English teacher needs her edit button…

    Comment by Mari — 13 April, 2012 @ 23:34

  9. Hm, yes, but I didn’t realise the two sentences were supposed to be connected like that. I thought you said “the plugin would do this, but then from before we could do like this.” My bad, I suppose. :

    Edit: WOHOO IT WORKS.

    Comment by Loki — 13 April, 2012 @ 15:09

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