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Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik
Cover Artist: Dominic Harman
Review by Paul Haggerty
Del Rey Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345496898
Date: 13 July 2010 List Price $25.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Article /

Capt. Will Laurence, formerly a hero of the British Aerial Corps, is now a convicted traitor. Spared from execution for his service in saving the British Empire from Napoleon's invasion, he and his dragon, Temeraire have instead been sentenced to transportation and a life of hard labor in the Australian penal colony. But try explaining that to a multi-ton dragon that can shatter solid rock with a single roar, and has a simple philosophy that doing the right thing is always the right thing ... regardless of what your so-called superiors might think. Dispatched to Australia they may have been, but Temeraire sees no reason why they should continue to be punished. There's a continent to unlock, secrets to discover, and enemies both foreign and domestic that are unwilling to blindly accept British domination of an entire continent. What's a dragon to do first?

From official release/information:

Product Description: 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.

(Source: Del Rey)

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