Title: Crucible of Gold
Series: Temeraire, #7
Author: Naomi Novik
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: March 6th, 2012
Format: Audiobook, narrated by Simon Vance
Length: 325 pages | 9 hours, 58 minutes
Source: Borrowed from my local library
For Laurence and Temeraire, put out to pasture in Australia, it seems their part in the war has come to an end just when they are needed most. But perhaps they are no longer alone in this opinion. Newly allied with the powerful African empire of the Tswana, the French have occupied Spain and brought revolution and bloodshed to Brazil, threatening Britain’s last desperate hope to defeat Napoleon.
And now the government that sidelined them has decided they have the best chance at negotiating a peace with the angry Tswana, who have besieged the Portuguese royal family in Rio—and thus offer to reinstate Laurence to his former rank and seniority as a captain in the Aerial Corps. Temeraire is delighted by this sudden reversal of fortune, but Laurence is by no means sanguine, knowing from experience that personal honor and duty to one’s country do not always run on parallel tracks.
Nonetheless, the pair embark for Brazil, only to meet with a string of unmitigated disasters that force them to make an unexpected landing in the hostile territory of the Incan empire, where they face new unanticipated dangers.
Now with the success of the mission balanced on a razor’s edge, and failure looking more likely by the minute, the unexpected arrival of an old enemy will tip the scales toward ruin. Yet even in the midst of disaster, opportunity may lurk—for one bold enough to grasp it.
Temeraire is back! With higher stakes, more character (and dragon) development, and even a few battles. After the last book, which I found lackluster, I was glad to listen to this one which takes up the mantle of the previous stories.
Sadly, Laurence hasn’t turned privateer yet. But he does get back on the ocean, headed to South America on behalf of England. I found it an interesting leap that Napolean would travel to South America, with the help of the African Tswana, to secure more of the world in his conquest. It’s nice to continue to see more cultures brought into the story, and yet more different dragon cultures. I really liked the dragon culture of the Inca, and the effects of earlier conquests on it.
We also get to see more of Laurence (and Temeraire) being anti-slavery, which is always fun. And even some *ahem* romantic development with Iskierka, which was highly entertaining. The plot was well-paced this time, with the action being a strong driver, right up through the end of the novel, which points Laurence and Temeraire in an unexpected direction.
Overall, I enjoyed it and can’t wait to see what happens next. With only two books left in the series, I can’t see how Napolean will be defeated…although I’m less convinced he *should* be, as my concern is entirely with the cadre of dragons and their captains.
I’m a coffee-fueled, hobby-addicted bibliophage who makes cruelty-free mineral eye shadows (inspired by novels). I’m usually in front of a screen (writing, reading, or gaming), but I’ve been known to emerge for geekery, good food, and dark chocolate.