Title: Victory of Eagles
Series: Temeraire, #5
Author: Naomi Novik
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: January 1st, 2008
Length: 352 pages | 10 hours, 29 minutes
Source: Borrowed from my local library
For Britain, conditions are grim: Napoleon’s resurgent forces have breached the Channel and successfully invaded English soil. Napoleon’s prime objective is the occupation of London. Unfortunately, the dragon Temeraire has been removed from military service–and his captain, Will Laurence, has been condemned to death for treason. Separated by their own government and threatened at every turn by Napoleon’s forces, Laurence and Temeraire must struggle to find each other amid the turmoil of war. If only they can be reunited, master and dragon might rally Britain’s scattered resistance forces and take the fight to the enemy as never before–for king and country, and for their own liberty.
Here’s another lovely installment in the Temeraire series! Following on the themes of books 3 and 4, Temeraire’s awareness of social justice and civic responsibility grows. Things start dire and remain rather grim, with an entire emotional arc for Lawrence that is implied more than explored. Still, it works. There’s fewer aerial battles in this book than in previous ones, and more political intrigue. I’m loving seeing Temeraire become an inadvertent (and reluctant) spokesperson for dragon rights.
I still maintain that Tharkay is the true hero of this story. Although he’s so wonderful, he is in danger of becoming a plot device more than an autonomous character in his own right. Iskierka is beyond annoying, as she’s meant to be. So the ending of this story leads me to believe I will both love and hate the next book. Which takes places in….Australia! That should be interesting, and I’m curious to see how Novik handles Australian dragons- I’ve loved her multi-dragon-cultural approach so far.
In all, Lawrence is a man adrift by the end of the book. He’s had a brush with piracy (sanctioned) in a way, and he’s banished from England and the service. That means no more Jane Roland, and no more of the dragons we’ve come to love, both the ones in the Aerial Corps and the rogue/retired/feral ones that Temeraire has inspired and educated. I’m also looking forward to a new enemy, as the threat of Napolean and the (pretty darn awesome) power of Lien is a bit cold now.
As always, I recommend this series for fans of fantasy and historic fiction…but start with book 1!