Image of Blood of Tyrants (Temeraire)


Image of Blood of Tyrants (Temeraire)

The eighth in Novik’s series, this work leaves the reader suspecting the series has lingered a few books too long. It may be that the series is sabotaged by the conflict between the massive change Novik has wrought in history — a long history of domesticated dragons — and her desire not to have history altered out of all recognition. The changes she does make — in particular rewriting Chinese history to shift blame for one particularly ugly episode in British-Chinese relations from the British to the Chinese — are suspiciously conciliatory to modern and, in particular, western sensibilities. Temeraire has had a good run; it might be time for Novik to use what she learned writing the series in a new, fresher project.

An amnesiac Laurence, washed overboard during a storm, is trapped in the hermit kingdom of Japan and facing summary execution. Later reunited with his dragon, Termeraire, Laurence is dragged into Chinese internal politics. From there, it’s on to self-sabotaging Russia, whose autocratic regime views draconic suffrage as disapprovingly as they do the French hordes even now marching toward Moscow. (DEL REY, Aug., 448 pp., $26.00)
Reviewed by: 
James Davis Nicoll