First up on my reading list was Naomi Novik’s 5th novel in the Tremeraire series. These are a great series of books in a world where the Napoleonic wars are raging but Dragons have been used in warfare since Roman times.
I’ll keep this as spoiler free as possible. Prior events in the series have left our heroes in disgrace. An invasion of England leads them to serve their country again. The Dragon Tremeraire winning a command position and his condemned Captain Laurence to fight in the air and in behind the lines operations.
The whole plot hangs together naturally. In previous entries in the series I have always enjoyed the realistic feel to how society, the technology of warfare and tactics have developed to reflect the use of Dragons. In this entry innovations are made which fit perfectly with what we’ve seen earlier in the series and don’t been rushed or contrived. It does help with this if one of your main antagonists is Napoleon (usually off camera.)
The feel of England (and it is England) under occupation works well. The historical characters used ring true. So does the characterisation of the established cast. There are obviously analogues in Our Time Lines (OTL) Napoleonic Wars for the British strategy and even the battle at the end of the book, but that’s no bad thing. Sections which mirror the hard decisions which face Britain in 1940 are also not out of place.
There are a few tiny areas I baulked at (Scots Greys in kilts? on horses? I think not – but if I’m wrong how cool is that and where do I get some miniatures?) but overall a thoroughly enjoyable read,
This book encompasses regret, romance, the notions of sapience and human rights, clashes of nations, horse and musket battles, vicious air-land guerrilla warfare, a daring behind the lines rescue, issues of race class and gender, ships of the line and DRAGONS!
Cracking read, well recommended. If your interested in more on the series we discussed it on dissecting worlds here.