His Majesty’s Dragon

Recently I was laid up with a cold for the day, and so I cowered under the doona with some orange juice and a sleepy black cat for company. I was going to sleep my cold off, but I wanted to read until I fell asleep. His Majesty’s Dragon (alternatively titled Temeraire) kept me awake: it’s a great book.

The main character is a British naval captain in the Napoleonic era. His ship captures a French vessel that is transporting a dragon’s egg.  They are too far from land to get the egg to one of the hatcheries of His Majesty’s Air Corps, and so, by accident the naval officer becomes a dragon rider. The Air Corps are not highly thought of, either by the navy or by society. The book explores how he, and his dragon, make their way as outcasts in a class-focused England, and among the Air Corps, who see his strict naval ways, and old age for a cadet, as affronts to their way of life.

If you’ve ever really enjoyed Patrick O’Brian, or C.S. Forrester, or Julian Stockwin and thought “Actually, this could do with a few extra dragons…” this is the book for you.