Historical Fiction, with Dragons


Recently, I had the pleasure to read His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik.  Published in 2006, Goodreads was kind enough to recommend it to me, and my library was kind enough to lend it to me.  I found it enjoyable enough I didn’t put it down at all, finishing it one blissful Saturday on my couch.

Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors ride mighty fighting dragons, bred for size or speed. When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes the precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Captain Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future – and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature. Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle. For as France’s own dragon-borne forces rally to breach British soil in Bonaparte’s boldest gambit, Laurence and Temeraire must soar into their own baptism of fire. ~ Back Cover

To be honest, I’m not sure I would have picked this up on my own.  I know very little about the Napoleonic Wars, and I might assume that would be important.  It is not.  The historical context is apparently accurate, but once you add dragons, you get a whole different thing and knowledge of history isn’t required.

I fell in love with the dragons in history concept very quickly, as she dragged me right into the action with the frigate capture and dragon egg discovery.  I wanted to know about this dragon before it hatched, and how the dragons would act, and what the humans did.  I was aggravated when it looked like the dragon was going to go to the wrong person, though it clearly states on the back cover which character we’re to follow.

The interaction between the dragons and their humans was fantastic throughout the book, with some of each being good or bad and smart or not so smart.  The personalities were all very different, which made it interesting to meet each one.  I wanted to know what happened to each character, dragon or human.  Finally, dragons are just cool.

My only complaint was there were a few short sections I wasn’t entirely certain what was happening.   The details seemed to be dropped in favor of moving forward, leaving me unable to visualize that specific part of the scene.  These were few and far between, and I didn’t end up caring so long as I found out what happened to the characters I’d grown to love.

I’d recommend this book to people who like dragons or who think dragons in history sounds exciting.  It was a fun read.  At the time of writing this, it was only $2.99 for the Kindle.

Questions for you!
Have you read this book?
Is the rest of the series as interesting?
What book(s) should I read next?

More Information
Naomi Novik’s page
Encyclopædia Britannica’s entry on the Napoleonic Wars
Wikipedia’s entry on Dragons

One Comment on “Historical Fiction, with Dragons

  1. Pingback: Blood, Spies, and Ships | Julie Oldham Writes

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