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40th Reading List: Tounges of Serpents

books

My 40th year reading list has picked up the pace with a return to the world of Temeraire (were the Napoleonic War is being raged with dragons.) I’m a big fan of this series having read the first book for Dissecting Worlds (which you can listen to here .) The fantasy elements are effective but blended into the Georgian/historic elements seamlessly.

This book moves the action of Laurence and his dragon Temeraire  to Australia following their conviction for treason and the invasion of England in the last book. As someone with an interest in history but very little knowledge of Australian history (outside cricket) I was fascinated by such things as ‘the Rum Corps’, it’s mutiny against Governor William Bligh (yes, that one) and other sundry elements about the early days of British colonisation of Australia.

I understand that this episode in the series is criticised for the prolonged travelogue as the heroes pursue a stolen dragon egg across Australia. I loved it – I hate the idea in a lot of genre fiction that travel is instant or doesn’t involve effort or pain. I also loved the elements of Aboriginal folklore which made it in the plot. As the story develops further issues with how the aerial corps operates and racial/class conditions of Georgian England also feature.

Finally there are some killer geo-political twists in the final third of the book that follow naturally from events in several of the first five books but represent a massive point of divergence from our history – even more than the invasion of England did in the previous ‘Victory of Eagles.’ This is the tour de force of the book as it shifts the whole series and opens infinite possibilities.

Cant wait to get started on book 7: Crucible of Gold !

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