Temeraire is set during the Napoleaonic wars. Nelson is battling against the French and he’s got Villeneuve and his fleet on the run. The Battle of Trafalgar has not yet been fought. Against this background we meet Captain Laurence who’s ship has just captured a French “prize”. On board is a large egg which he also takes ownership of. All very Patrick O’Brien so far. Well I say that – the closest I’ve got to Patrick O’Brien is seeing him dominating the ‘O’ section of a bookshop and having seen Master and Commander at the cinema.
There is one small difference in this book. There are dragons.
Dragons are used by both sides as an aerial force. And the prize that Laurence captures is a particularly rare dragon’s egg. He takes on the dragon, and so we get a swashbuckling epic tale of ships, soldiers and dragons. Oh, and as everyone knows, dragons talk.
I haven’t really read a fantasy book for months – possibly years. Indeed, I suspect it would have been a re-reading of Lord of the Rings around the time of the first of the trilogy. And that’s a worthwhile point to make, because my interest in this book was piqued when I learnt that Peter Jackson has bought the film rights to this book (and possibly the series).
I did thoroughly immerse myself in the novel, and enjoyed the page turning appeal that it had. But I did think that it was just a little too set-up for future installments. I was perhaps expecting a bigger climax to the novel. But that’s all to the good, since come January, I will be getting the second book in the series (already available in hardback).