Naomi Novik's beloved series returns, with Capt. Will Laurence and his fighting dragon Temeraire once again taking to the air against the broadsides of Napoleon's forces and the friendly—and sometimes not-so-friendly—fire of British soldiers and politicians who continue to suspect them of divided loyalties, if not outright treason.
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. 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.
So the British government dispatches Arthur Hammond from China to enlist Laurence and Temeraire to negotiate a peace with the angry Tswana, who have besieged the Portuguese royal family in Rio—and as bait, Hammond bears an 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.
Laurence and Temeraire—joined by the egotistical fire-breather Iskierka and the still-growing Kulingile, who has already surpassed Temeraire in size—embark for Brazil, only to meet with a string of unmitigated disasters that leave the dragons and their human friends forced to make an unexpected landing in the hostile territory of the Inca 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.
A dazzling blend of military history, high-flying fantasy, and edge-of-your-seat adventure, Naomi Novik's Temeraire novels, set in an alternate Napoleonic era in which intelligent dragons have been harnessed as weapons of war, are more than just perennial bestsellers — they are a worldwide phenomenon. Now, in Tongues of Serpents Naomi Novik is back, along with the dragon Temeraire and his rider and friend, Capt. Will Laurence.
Convicted of treason despite their heroic defense against Napoleon's invasion of England, Temeraire and Laurence — stripped of rank and standing — have been transported to the prison colony at New South Wales in distant Australia, where, it is hoped, they cannot further corrupt the British Aerial Corps with their dangerous notions of liberty for dragons. Temeraire and Laurence carry with them three dragon eggs intended to help establish a covert in the colony and destined to be handed over to such second-rate, undesirable officers as have been willing to accept so remote an assignment — including one former acquaintance, Captain Rankin, whose cruelty once cost a dragon its life.
Nor is this the greatest difficulty that confronts the exiled dragon and rider: Instead of leaving behind all the political entanglements and corruptions of the war, Laurence and Temeraire have instead sailed into a hornet's nest of fresh complications. For the colony at New South Wales has been thrown into turmoil after the overthrow of the military governor, one William Bligh — better known as Captain Bligh, late of HMS Bounty. Bligh wastes no time in attempting to enlist Temeraire and Laurence to restore him to office, while the upstart masters of the colony are equally determined that the new arrivals should not upset a balance of power precariously tipped in their favor.
Eager to escape this political quagmire, Laurence and Temeraire take on a mission to find a way through the forbidding Blue Mountains and into the interior of Australia. But when one of the dragon eggs is stolen from Temeraire, the surveying expedition becomes a desperate race to recover it in time — a race that leads to a shocking discovery and a dangerous new obstacle in the global war between Britain and Napoleon.
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.
Tragedy has struck His Majesty's Aerial Corps, whose magnificent fleet of fighting dragons and their human captains valiantly defend England's shores against the encroaching armies of Napoleon Bonaparte. An epidemic of unknown origin and no known cure is decimating the noble dragons' ranks - forcing the hopelessly stricken into quarantine. Now only Temeraire and a pack of newly recruited dragons remain uninfected - and stand as the only means of an airborne defense against France's ever bolder sorties.
Bonaparte's dragons are already harrowing Britain's ships at sea. Only one recourse remains: Temeraire and his captain, Will Laurence, must take wing to Africa, whose shores may hold the cure to the mysterious and deadly contagion. On this mission there is no time to waste, and no telling what lies in store beyond the horizon or for those left behind to wait, hope, and hold the line.
As Napoleon's tenacious infantry rampages across Europe and his armada lies in wait for Nelson's smaller fleet, the war does not rage on land and water alone. Squadrons of aviators swarm the skies - a deadly shield for the cumbersome canon-firing vessels. Raining fire and acid upon their enemies, they engage in a swift, violent combat with flying tooth and claw... for these aviators ride dragons.
Captain Laurence is a satisfied man with a respectable commission aboard the ship Reliant. His career is born from a love for the sea and he takes his duty very seriously
Months before the battle of Trafalgar, on patrol in the Atlantic, The Reliant takes a small French frigate, storm-damaged and possessing a fierce crew unwilling to surrender as easily as they should. On board Laurence finds a dragon egg - a great prize as England is in sore need.
Having spent months on a slow journey from Asia, the egg hatches. A sinewy new-born emerges from the fragmented shell, ignores his harness-bearer, approaches Laurence and changes his life.
Hatchling dragons must be put in a harness immediately otherwise the dragon-young become hard to control - fit only for the breeding colonies. The person chosen to first harness the beast must be an aviator, for the dragon will accept no other captain. The life of an aviator is not a desirable one; reviled by fashionable society, they live hard, lonely lives bound to duty and they frequently die young. Laurence must now join them; duty demands it, though his heart is broken.
But, more astonishing than the dragonet - named Temeraire by Laurence - are the documents found with him, documents addressed to Napoleon from the greatest, most skilled dragon-breeders in the world - the Chinese.
The dragon Temeraire was meant for the Emperor Napoleon himself and promises to grow into no ordinary creature.
The fifth adventure of Captain William Laurence and his extraordinary fighting dragon, Temeraire, as they travel from the shores of Britain to China and Africa.
Laurence and Temeraire have betrayed the British. They have foiled their attempts to inflict death upon the French dragons by sharing the cure they found in Africa with their enemy. But following their conscience has a price. Laurence feels he must return to face the consequences, and as soon as they land they are taken into custody. Laurence is condemned to the gallows and Temeraire faces a life of captivity in the breeding grounds. None of their friends or allies can come to their aid, for every hand is needed elsewhere. Britain is completely unprepared for Bonaparte invasion and the advanced tactics of his own celestial dragon -- Temeraire's mortal enemy -- Lien.
After their fateful adventure in China, Capt. Will Laurence of His Majesty’s Aerial Corps and his extraordinary dragon, Temeraire, are waylaid by a mysterious envoy bearing urgent new orders from Britain. Three valuable dragon eggs have been purchased from the Ottoman Empire, and Laurence and Temeraire must detour to Istanbul to escort the precious cargo back to England. Time is of the essence if the eggs are to be borne home before hatching.
Yet disaster threatens the mission at every turn — thanks to the diabolical machinations of the Chinese dragon Lien, who blames Temeraire for her master’s death and vows to ally herself with Napoleon and take vengeance. Then, faced with shattering betrayal in an unexpected place, Laurence, Temeraire, and their squad must launch a daring offensive. But what chance do they have against the massed forces of Bonaparte’s implacable army?
Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.
Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.
The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows— knows — that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.
But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.