Thursday, August 31, 2017

Naomi Novik’s Crucible of Gold: A Book Review

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The seventh installment of Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series, Crucible of Gold, once again puts Laurence and his dragon in the move. This time they embark on a trip to South America in order to forestall an attack by the French ally Tswana on the Portuguese colonies. As Napoleon seemingly spreads his fingers deep into the world, Laurence and his dragon band seem to find ways to meet him at every stop. Restored to his rank, Laurence witnesses the destruction of his dragon transport, the Allegiance, and thus they are thus lost at sea without a hope of survival. After days of flying all hope is lost. Yet, in a well-crafted section, Novik places Temeraire, Kulingile, and Iskierka upon a French transport under a flag of surrender.  After brief travels and being marooned on an island, the band finds their way to the main continent and hell-bent on making their way to Rio to stop the Tswana.

In typical Novik fashion, a series of errors and miscalculations by the dragons places them instead in the heart of the Incan empire with Iskierka as their emissary nonetheless. Incan politics, the power of dragons over men, and the mysterious empire beneath the jungle, are all put on display. With the nuptial fate of Granby in the balance, they seek to stop the potential alliance between the Inca, their strange feathered dragons, and the French.

As always, the road can be bumpy, the journey thrilling, and Novik keeps the pages and fun turning as the series rockets towards its terminus.  

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