Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tongues of Serpents

Tongues of Serpents
by Naomi Novik

This, the sixth in the popular Temeraire series, by Novik, was probably my least favorite so far. However, I'd still rather read an "average" Temeraire novel than one from almost any other series. The Temeraire books, equal parts historical adventure and fantasy, are styled after the Horatio Hornblower novels of C.S. Forester, but with intelligent (and often quite cultured) dragons as the "sailing vessels". Former British naval officer Will Laurence, convicted of treason in the previous volume of the series for his actions in battle against Napoleon's forces, is sentenced, with his free-thinking dragon Temeraire, to an 8-month journey by sea to the British penal colony of Australia. Once there, in order to try to remain outside the political fray of a rebellion in the colony, Laurance, Temeraire and their fellow dragons and aviators take on the task of tracking smugglers in the interior of the Australian continent. Though this volume in the series has almost no outright "action" and "adventure" it is filled with character development and changes in the political landscape that forms the backdrop of this Napoleonic-era plot. I've seen it mentioned in other reviews, and I'd have to agree -- in the complicated gameboard of Temeraire's world, Tongues of Serpents felt like Novik moving the playing pieces into place for their next big encounter, but never quite getting to that encounter. A tasty treat, but a bit too much of a tease for the next volume. -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[ official fan-created Wiki for the world of Temeraire ] | [ official Naomi Novik web site ]

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