Date Published: July 2010
Publisher: Del Rey
# Of Pages/Listening Time: 274 pages/9 hours and 47 minutes
Goodreads | Audible
Synopsis: A dazzling blend of military history, high-flying fantasy, and edge-of-your-seat adventure, Naomi Novik’s Temeraire novels, set in an alternate Napoleonic era in which intelligent dragons have been harnessed as weapons of war, are more than just perennial bestsellers—they are a worldwide phenomenon. Now, in Tongues of Serpents, Naomi Novik is back, along with the dragon Temeraire and his rider and friend, Capt. Will Laurence.
Convicted of treason despite their heroic defense against Napoleon’s invasion of England, Temeraire and Laurence—stripped of rank and standing—have been transported to the prison colony at New South Wales in distant Australia, where, it is hoped, they cannot further corrupt the British Aerial Corps with their dangerous notions of liberty for dragons. Temeraire and Laurence carry with them three dragon eggs intended to help establish a covert in the colony and destined to be handed over to such second-rate, undesirable officers as have been willing to accept so remote an assignment—including one former acquaintance, Captain Rankin, whose cruelty once cost a dragon its life.
Nor is this the greatest difficulty that confronts the exiled dragon and rider: Instead of leaving behind all the political entanglements and corruptions of the war, Laurence and Temeraire have instead sailed into a hornet’s nest of fresh complications. For the colony at New South Wales has been thrown into turmoil after the overthrow of the military governor, one William Bligh—better known as Captain Bligh, late of HMS Bounty. Bligh wastes no time in attempting to enlist Temeraire and Laurence to restore him to office, while the upstart masters of the colony are equally determined that the new arrivals should not upset a balance of power precariously tipped in their favor.
Eager to escape this political quagmire, Laurence and Temeraire take on a mission to find a way through the forbidding Blue Mountains and into the interior of Australia. But when one of the dragon eggs is stolen from Temeraire, the surveying expedition becomes a desperate race to recover it in time—a race that leads to a shocking discovery and a dangerous new obstacle in the global war between Britain and Napoleon.
.....For being enjoyable and making me want to read more.
My Thoughts: Like with the previous installments, this book improved on the re-read. It still isn't my favorite in the series, but it was still pretty enjoyable, especially the beginning and the ending.
The middle was the slowest bit (but not too slow). The 2-month flight across the continent of Australia didn't have much going for it, in my opinion, although there were some occasional parts that were exciting to read. I also enjoyed reading about the hatching and harnessing of Kulingile; it's one of those triumphant stories about overcoming the odds, which I feel saved the middle section of the book.
Temeraire is still my favorite. It's clear that Naomi Novik is using him to include modern ideas in a historical setting. He's our gateway to understanding what early 19th-century life is like, and he's such a fun character to follow. I'm glad Novik has continued to write parts of the novel from his point of view, and I hope she'll continue to do so (I can't remember, it's been two years since I read the series).
All in all, a fun read in a new place. The culture comparisons continue to be interesting, the action still grabs my interest, and I want to read the rest of the series. So, on to the next one!