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Friday, October 18, 2013

HIS MAJESTY'S DRAGON (Temeriare #1) by Naomi Novak

Originally published in 2006.

Way back when when I got my Kindle 2 in 2009 this was one of the first books that I got - it was part of a free promotion and somehow I never read it. I guess I was afraid that it would be too cheesy.

Boy, was I wrong.

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821)
The premise of this book is a mashup of How to Train Your Dragon with Master and Commander. It is the middle of the Napoleonic Wars and Napoleon is planning to invade England. All that stands between England and Napoleon's massive army is their far superior navy and a small contingent of dragons. Yes, dragons. It turns out that in this alternate world dragons occur naturally in the wild and have been trained to fight in war, much like horses and dogs occur naturally in the wild and have been trained to fight in war.

Dragons, however, are smart and are able to talk with people. In fact, dragons bond with a human and they become a team. Dragons come in different sizes and jobs, much like an air force's planes or a navy ships. Some are quick and small, some are like giant air-borne battleships. Some spray acid, some just have nasty claws and teeth and can drop big rocks on fortifications, ships, etc,

Captain Will Laurence's ship captures a weaker French ship that puts up a surprisingly tough fight, Once aboard, the English discover why they fought so hard - they have a dragon's egg in their hold! The English immediately move it to their ship, thrilled that their country will get a much-needed dragon (being severely outnumbered by the France's dragons).

But, the egg starts to hatch and when it does the dragon picks Captain Laurence as the person it will bond with. The Captain steps aside as the Captain of his ship and tries to learn as much as he can about dragons, which is not a lot (think about a fighter pilot becoming a tank commander in our modern armed forces and you get the idea). Together, the reader and Laurence learn about dragon behavior and training and even eventually go into battle against Napoleon's forces.

This book is written in period style and pays careful attention to the attitudes and mores of the time period, making it all the more authentic feeling. The bond between the dragon Temeriare and Will Laurence is as natural as that ideal bond between a K-9 officer and his dog - they are different but they are also partners, roommates and loyal friends. If that police dog could talk, the bond would be even stronger. 

This was a fantastic read. I am sorry that I waited more than four years to finally get it off of my to-be-read list.

I rate this book 5 stars out of 5 and it can be found on Amazon.com here: HIS MAJESTY'S DRAGON (Temeriare #1) by Naomi Novak.

Reviewed on October 18, 2013.

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