Crucible of Gold by Naomi Novik
Random House LLC
Former Aerial Corps captain Will Laurence and his faithful dragon, Temeraire, have been put out to pasture in Australia—and it seems their part in the war has ended just when they are needed most. The French have invaded Spain, forged an alliance with Africa’s powerful Tswana empire, and brought revolution to Brazil. With Britain’s last desperate hope of defeating Napoleon in peril, the government that sidelined Laurence swiftly offers to reinstate him, convinced that he’s the best man to enter the fray and negotiate peace. So the pair embark for Brazil, only to meet with a string of unmitigated disasters that forces them to make an unexpected landing in the hostile territory of the Incan empire. With the success of the mission balanced on a razor’s edge, an old enemy appears and threatens to tip the scales toward ruin. Yet even in the midst of disaster, opportunity may lurk—for one bold enough to grasp it.
Once again, this series has been a bit blah. The story was okay, but nothing to get me excited about this series again.
In the previous book Lawrence is removed from the Aerial Corps. Almost right away in this story, he is being asked back into the Corps. Now we are back at it with Temeraire being a bit childish, and not understanding a lot of how us humans do things. Specifically, he doesn’t understand some of the politics going on.
There are also some young dragons in the group and one in particular who doesn’t want to contribute. Her rider is a bit beside himself with how to control her and make her see the error of her ways. Lawrence and Temeraire do what they can to help.
There should have been a bit of excitement when the ship Lawrence and Temeraire and some others are on goes down. Lawrence looses a friend on the ship when it goes down. Many lives are lost as the dragons take on as many as they can but can only safely hold so many, and they are forced to leave many men still struggling in the water. However, when you suspect the ship may go down the way it did, it’s just another “yep, it happened” moment.
The only surprise this story held, was how quickly Lawrence was asked to return to the Corps. After such disappointment from the 6th and now 7th books, I’m not sure I will read the 8th, Blood of Tyrants. I already own the book so I may end up reading it at some point in time; it’s just not likely to be very soon. It just dropped a few places with the books I own and am now prioritizing over it.