CRUCIBLE OF GOLD
This is a well-paced and cleanly plotted installment of Novik’s Temeraire series, where Laurence and Temeraire continue their trip around the world (this reviewer is waiting for the book set in Antarctica). The relationship between Laurence and his dragon is — as always — beautifully written, but equally compelling are the relationships between the dragons of South America and the Inca and how different they are from the European and Asian societies seen in previous volumes.
Exiled to Australia, Laurence and Temeraire are reasonably content when they are once again disrupted by the British military. Ambassador Arthur Hammond has been sent with an urgent message: if Laurence and Temeraire agree to go to Rio de Janeiro to sway the Portuguese away from Napoleon, Laurence may have his commission back and his record wiped clean of the treason conviction. When Laurence, Temeraire and crew make unexpected landfall in Peru, they find that they must first deal with the Inca — who are also being courted by Napoleon. The balance of the war may pivot on these negotiations. (DEL REY, Mar., 288 pp., $25.00)