Temeraire (released in the states as His Majestys Dragon – not sure which title I prefer…) first came to my attention when there was talk of Peter Jackson adapting it as his first work post Lord Of The Rings Trilogy and I’ll be honest the concept grabbed me and I’ve since spent my time watching out for the first book to give it ago myself. Temeraire is set in an alternate universe at the time of the Napoleonic wars, the major difference being that the world has captured, trained and bred dragons for many years so each side comes equipped with an airforce as well as the expected Navy/Army. The story starts with an English ship capturing a French ship and recovering a dragons egg close at the point of hatching. This means one of the ships crew has to bond with the dragon to bring it into service – and the man the dragon chooses who just happens to be the ships captain isn’t nessecarily that happy about being picked out for this role. The story then goes on through the dragon (Temeraire) and the captain (Laurence) growing together, learning more about dragons, and the dragon based airforce, before eventually being called in to assist the effort against Napoleon.
When I read this I was very surprised as based on the setting I expected the story to have more big battles than it actually has. However the book takes great care and pains to setup the world the characters inhabit, the fellow dragon riders and the dragons themselves being looked at and all given a real character to them. I really enjoyed the tone of the writing for this and found that it really absorbed me into the story. The only flaw I can gave it is that it appeared to just finish a bit suddenly – however there’s another 4-5 books in the series so far so obviously there’ll be plenty of room for expansion of the characters.
So yeah. If you get the chance to give this a read I’d strongly recommend it – a gripping read with a great eye to detail – I look forward to reading the rest of the series.