I should preface this review with a brief introduction: this is the first book in the Temeraire Series, which presents an altered history of the human race. In this world, much is still the same, with the notable exception that sentient dragons share the world with humans. During the Napoleonic Wars, it is impossible to find a dragon that has not been conscripted for military use. Dragons are bred and hatched to serve their country.
The year is 1804, and William Laurence English Captain of the HMS Reliant has just captured the French frigate, Amitie. In the inventory of the spoils, Laurence discovers an unhatched egg the size of a large dog, and within its shell lies a dragon. Because the egg is about to hatch, Laurence must ensure that the dragon imprints on one of his crew, otherwise it could fly off, and they would lose a valuable asset. Shockingly, when hatched, the dragons imprints on Laurence himself. With the young dragon so enamored with him, the only option for Laurence is to leave his naval career and begin anew in England’s aerial corp.
This series is pure adventure: it is fast paced and exciting, and a thoroughly enjoying thrill. It offers the thrills of a war story, the elegance of the Napoleonic Era, and sentient dragon protagonists. At its heart is the growing relationship between Laurence and his dragon friend, Temeraire. Their first meeting and their blossoming friendship is a joy to read. In addition to this, there are a multitude of interesting and charming characters, both human and draconic. The book begins in Europe, but the series extends world-wide, and never dulls. It provides a truly fascinating and well-planned altered history.