I’m slightly annoyed that Novik left the introduction of one of her greatest characters to the last book in the series–I’m talking about Temeraire and Izkierka’s egg, Ning, who has some, I must say, very sensible ideas about war.
“Certainly the war must be halted,” Temeraire said. “That is precisely why we mean to defeat Napoleon.”
“That would stop this war,” the dragonet said. “But I am quite certain that it would not end all war. I dare say you and your allies would all quarrel among yourselves straightaway, and start a new one.”…
“I would be very happy to see war come to an end, myself, although a neat little skirmish now and then, with a prize after, no-one could really object to, I think,” Temeraire said. “But I should like to know a great deal how you suppose anyone should accomplish that.”
“Well, I don’t know, yet,” the dragonet said, “but I mean to find a way: just because the business will be difficult is no excuse for not making the attempt.”
Certainly not. And Novik figured out a way to tether Napoleon that Metternich himself would have envied–the restoration of the Bourbons was never going to end well–although Novik makes you fully understand Laurence’s mixed emotions for that solution.
And then what? The war is over, and Laurence and Temeraire’s partnership was entirely predicated on war. Ah, but Novik’s got an answer for that, too.
A satisfying albeit slightly melancholy ending to a truly wonderfully written series about the Napoleonic War, with dragons. I can’t recommend it enough, and l’ll be first in line for Novik’s next book, whatever it is about.
Author and founder of Storyknife.org.