Crucible of Gold is the latest book in the fantastic Temeraire series by Naomi Novik.
The series is a historical account of the Napoleonic war with a nice fantasy twist: dragons exist. What follows is an epic story around Temeraire and his Captain, Will Laurence, as they combat Napoleon and travel around the world seeking allies. Part of the concept is that dragons exist, can speak human languages, and form a special bond with specific humans. Britian’s Aerial Corps assign a captain to each dragon, who stays with them for life. Laurence, as a Naval Captain, discovers a dragon egg on a captured ship and when it hatches, the new dragon Temeraire picks Laurence as his Captain.
Naomi Novik’s beloved series returns, with Capt. Will Laurence and his fighting dragon Temeraire once again taking to the air against the broadsides of Napoleon’s forces and the friendly—and sometimes not-so-friendly—fire of British soldiers and politicians who continue to suspect them of divided loyalties, if not outright treason.
For Laurence and Temeraire, put out to pasture in Australia, it seems their part in the war has come to an end just when they are needed most. Newly allied with the powerful African empire of the Tswana, the French have occupied Spain and brought revolution and bloodshed to Brazil, threatening Britain’s last desperate hope to defeat Napoleon.
The book starts with a summons from an old friend, Arthur Hammond, reinstating Laurence as a proper Captain and sending them to Rio to help with the war and prevent Napoleon from gaining more allies. As per usual, their plans go wrong, they lose a number of friends, and discover things are a lot worse than they can imagine. The story takes a number of twists and turns that you don’t see coming, and keeps you wanting more right to the end.
I first found Temeraire in a bookshop down the coast when I was after a new book to read. Since I love stories about dragons, it quickly became a favourite and I’ve loved the series ever since. It brings a new twist to the dragon story, and the personality each of the dragons has is unique and entertaining.
I highly recommend anyone who enjoys fantasy, dragons, or even (Napoleonic) history, to read this series. You won’t be disappointed!