Title: Throne of Jade
Series: Temeraire, #2
Author: Naomi Novik
Publisher: Del Ray
Release Date: April 25th, 2006
Length: 398 pages | 11 hours 46 minutes
Source: Borrowed from my local library
When Britain intercepted a French ship and its precious cargo–an unhatched dragon’s egg–Capt. Will Laurence of HMS Reliant unexpectedly became master and commander of the noble dragon he named Temeraire. As new recruits in Britain’s Aerial Corps, man and dragon soon proved their mettle in daring combat against Bonaparte’s invading forces.
Now China has discovered that its rare gift, intended for Napoleon, has fallen into British hands–and an angry Chinese delegation vows to reclaim the remarkable beast. But Laurence refuses to cooperate. Facing the gallows for his defiance, Laurence has no choice but to accompany Temeraire back to the Far East–a long voyage fraught with peril, intrigue, and the untold terrors of the deep. Yet once the pair reaches the court of the Chinese emperor, even more shocking discoveries and darker dangers await.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again- I should never have ignored Mike the GM’s recommendation about this book series. Rarely is the sequel as good as the first book, but in this case…..well, I shouldn’t be surprised, given how amazing Naomi Novik is. Laurence and Temeraire’s relationship continues, and gets more complicated, both from internal influences (Temeraire entering teenage hood, more or less, and Laurence being under real threat of losing him) and external (China).
I thought the handling of Chinese culture was well done, especially given the British-centric perspective, and how history actually played out with those two world powers. Novik’s cultural differences in how each country treats its dragons continues to delight and intrigue me. And although there are very few full-scale dragon aerial battles in this book, the danger is nearly constant. Actually, the pacing as a whole is pretty constant, although there were moments things seemed to skip from resting action into battle action a bit abruptly.
I listened to this one on audiobook, and I’m going to continue the series that way. The narrator has a beautiful voice, and although his female voices are a bit put-upon, he does accents well and narrates so smoothly. Of course I continue to highly recommend this to fans of fantasy, historical fiction/historical fantasy, dragons, Great Britain in the 1700s, naval/aerial warfare, and interesting friendship dynamics. Just start with book 1.