Book #32: Blood of Tyrants, by Naomi Novik. Unabridged audio.
I love the way this novel opens. Captain Will Laurence has suffered a head injury in the intervening time period since the last novel (reviewed here). He finds that he has lost nearly a decade of memories. He has no recollection of the time before he joined the air corps. He knows nothing of the action that has occurred during the prior seven novels in the series, all of which I have enjoyed.
It is a premise that has been done before, but that’s because it offers such good narrative possibilities. All of the characters, and all of the readers, have much more knowledge that our main character does.
And to top off the bad news for Laurence, he has fallen into enemy hands. Though his Japanese captors treat him politely, they want to know how he managed to enter their airspace. And he doesn’t have an answer. Back at the English Air Corps, his dragon Temeraire is agitating to continue the search for Laurence, which the higher-ups in the service are ready to abandon.
He manages an escape and is rescued, and is eventually reunited with his Corps and his dragon, but nobody knows quite what to do with Laurence. It is heartbreaking to think that the wonderful relationship between Laurence and Temeraire is gone, perhaps forever. The re-establishment of their relationship is a mix of sweet and melancholy. The bulk of the novel tackles this character arc, while also pushing forward Naomi Novik’s alternate history take on the Napoleonic Wars.
The ending of the story was nicely ominous, laying clear groundwork for the next novel, which I eagerly anticipate.
Source: local library