THRONE OF JADE (sequel to HER MAJESTY'S DRAGON) by Naomi Novik


I'm delighted to report that I spent an entire weekend happily buried in this book! I do like so much this marvelously imagined series, an alternate history with fantasy elements which takes a look at what the Napoleonic wars might have been like—-with dragons.

A brilliant cross between Jane Austen and Anne McCaffrey, THRONE OF JADE is the continuing epic of British naval captain William Laurence and his extraordinary Chinese Celestial dragon Temeraire. In the first book of the series, HIS MAJESTY’S DRAGON, the pair unexpectedly bonded when Laurence’s ship rescued the dragon’s egg from Napoleon’s clutches on the verge of hatching. In this sequel, the outraged Chinese demand the rare dragon’s return, but Temeraire will only oblige if Laurence is permitted to accompany him to China. During their long ocean voyage and subsequent adventures in Canton and Peking, the machinations of Imperial political factions result in several increasingly bold assassination attempts against Laurence. Temeraire and his beloved companion must find out who wants Laurence dead, and find a way to persuade the Chinese Emperor that this foreign barbarian and his rare Celestial dragon belong together.

While submerging myself in this delightful read, I paid particular attention to the author’s voice–which does indeed have strong overtones of Jane Austen, and it’s marvelous to me that a series written in this style can achieve such broad commercial success. Both main characters are highly appealing, and the affectionate bond between them is powerfully endearing. Once again, the original, well-researched and executed scenes of naval warfare with dragons steal the show. Think what the movie “Master and Commander” would have looked like, if crossed with The Dragons of Pern. There is a great deal to praise in these heartening novels.

I would recommend this series to lovers of Jane Austen, military (particularly naval) history, fans of Anne McCaffrey and other complex, dragon-inhabited fantasy worlds. These books are a completely unique reading experience! In this reader’s humble opinion, you won’t find any other stories out there which are even remotely like them.


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