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Thus the journey begins. While Laurence fights with Riley over allowing a black missionary aboard their ship, the novel heads down Novik’s familiar paths. There will be a long wait, then a flurry of action. Scenes of despair—they cannot seem to find the right mushroom, and then when they do they discover a dangerous and growing civilization of African dragons hell-bent on punishing the European interlopers for the slave trade. All of this comes to head as Temeraire and Laurence must make a decision on whether the cure is theirs for the taking or something that should fall into the hands of all dragons, both friend and foe.