Naomi Novik,
Black Powder War
(Del Rey, 2006)

Now that the troubles with China have been mostly resolved, Will Laurence and the dragon Temeraire will get to go home. However, before they are able to leave, orders arrive that they must retrieve three eggs purchased from the Ottoman Empire. With their ship disabled, they have no choice but to take the more dangerous overland route, as time is of the essence.

Deserts, marauders and war are but a few of the things our intrepid heroes must face on their way to their goal. Not only is their path filled with peril, but they find that one of their enemies, the albino dragon Lien, has followed them from China and thrown her lot in with Napoleon. Things grow worse when they reach Istanbul, and they are told the eggs will be denied them as payment was never made. As if things weren't complicated enough, Laurence is still dealing with Temeraire's enthusiasm to find ways to liberate British dragons from servitude and makings things more like they found them in China -- a feat Laurence believes to be doomed to failure.

Once again, Naomi Novik has created a fun work with intrigue, excitement and woven history. Several cultures make the scene and we're made to feel the agony of encountering the onslaught of Napoleon's ever advancing army.

review by
Gloria Oliver

3 May 2008

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