League of Dragons (Temeraire Series #9)

League of Dragons (Temeraire Series #9)

by Naomi Novik

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345522948
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/14/2016
Series: Temeraire Series , #9
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 21,887
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Naomi Novik is the acclaimed author of the Temeraire series: His Majesty’s Dragon, Throne of Jade, Black Powder War, Empire of Ivory, Victory of Eagles, Tongues of Serpents, Crucible of Gold, Blood of Tyrants, and League of Dragons. She has been nominated for the Hugo Award and has won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, as well as the Locus Award for Best New Writer and the Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel. She is also the author of Uprooted and the graphic novel Will Supervillains Be on the Final?
Fascinated with both history and legends, Novik is a first-generation American raised on Polish fairy tales and stories of Baba Yaga. Her own adventures include pillaging degrees in English literature and computer science from various ivory towers, designing computer games, and helping to build the Archive of Our Own for fanfiction and other fanworks. Novik is a co-founder of the Organization for Transformative Works.
She lives in New York City with her husband, Charles Ardai, the founder of Hard Case Crime, and their daughter, Evidence, surrounded by an excessive number of purring computers.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

The Chevalier was not dead when they found her, but the scavengers had already begun to pick at her body. A cloud of raucous crows lifted when Temeraire’s shadow fell over the clearing, and a stoat slunk away into the underbrush, coat white, muzzle red. As he dismounted, Laurence saw its small hard shining eyes peering patiently out from beneath the bramble. The French dragon’s immense sides were sunken in between her ribs so deeply that each hollow looked like the span of a rope bridge. They swelled out and in with every shallow breath, the movement of her lungs made visible. She did not move her head, but her eye opened a very little. It rolled to look on them, and closed again without any sign of comprehension.

A dead man sat in the snow beside her, leaning against her chest and staring blindly forward, in the ragged remnants of what had once been the proud red uniform of the Old Guard. He wore epaulets and the front of his coat was pockmarked with many punctures where medals had once hung, likely sold to whichever Russian peasants would sell him a pig or a chicken for gold and silver. Flotsam from Napoleon’s disintegrating Grande Armée: the dragon had most likely been driven by hunger to go too far afield, searching for food, and having spent her final strength could not then catch up the remaining body of her corps. She had come down a day ago: the churned ground beneath her was frozen into solid peaks, and her captain’s boots were drifted over with the snow which had fallen yesterday morning.

Laurence looked for the sun, descending and only barely shy of the horizon. Every scant hour of daylight now was precious, even every minute. The last corps of Napoleon’s army were racing west, trying to escape, and Napoleon himself with them. If they did not catch him before the Berezina River, they would not catch him; he had reinforcements and supply on the other side—dragon reinforcements, who would spirit him and his troops safely away. And all this devouring war would have no conclusion, no end. Napoleon would return only a little chastened to the welcoming cradle of France and raise up another army, and in two years there would be another campaign—another slaughter.

Another laboring breath pushed out the Chevalier’s sides; breath steamed out of her nostrils, billowing like cannon-smoke in the frigid air. Temeraire said, “Can we do nothing for her?”

“Let us lay a small fire, Mr. Forthing, if you please,” Laurence said.

But the Chevalier would not take even water, when they melted some snow for her to drink. She was too far gone; if indeed she wished any relief with her captain gone and a living death already upon her.

There was only one kindness left to provide. They could not spare powder, but they still had a few iron tent-poles with sharpened ends. Laurence rested one against the base of the dragon’s skull, and Temeraire set his massive claw upon it and thrust it through with a single stroke. The Chevalier died without a sound. Her sides rose and fell twice more while the final stillness crept slowly along her enormous body, spasms of muscle and sinew visible beneath the skin. A few of the ground crew stamped their boots and blew on their hands. The snow heavy upon the pine-trees standing around them made a muffled silence.

“We had better get along,” Grig said, before the final shudders had left the Chevalier’s tail; a faint note of reproach in his high sparrow-voice. “It is another five miles to the meeting-place for to-night.”

He alone of their company was little affected by the scene, but then the Russian dragons had cause enough to be inured to cruelty and hunger, having lived with both all their days. And there was no real justification for ignoring him; they had done what little good there was to be done. “See the men back aboard, Mr. Forthing,” Laurence said, and walked to Temeraire’s lowered head. The breath had frozen in a rim around Temeraire’s nostrils while they flew. Laurence warmed the ice crust with his hands and broke it carefully away from the scales. He asked, “Are you ready to continue onwards?”

Temeraire did not immediately answer. He had lost more flesh than Laurence liked these last two weeks, from bitter cold, hard flying, and too little food. Together these could waste the frame of a heavy-weight dragon with terrifying speed, and the Chevalier made a grim object lesson to that end. Laurence could not but take it to heart.

He once more bitterly regretted Shen Shi, and the rest of their supply-train. Laurence had already known to value the Chinese legions highly, but never so much as when they were gone, and all the concerns of ensuring their supply had fallen into his own hands. The Russian aviators had only the most outdated notions of supply for their beasts, and Temeraire, with all the will in the world, had too much spirit to believe that he could not fly around the world on three chickens and a sack of groats if doing so would put him in striking distance of Napoleon again.

“I am so very sorry Shen Shi and the others had to go back to China,” Temeraire said finally, in an echo of Laurence’s thoughts. “If we were only traveling in company, perhaps . . .”

He trailed off. Even the most relentless optimism could not have imagined a rescue for the poor Chevalier: three heavy-weights together would have had difficulty in carrying her. “At least we might have given her some hot porridge,” Temeraire said.

“If it is any consolation to you,” Laurence said, “remember she came into this country as a conqueror, and willingly.”

“Oh! What would the dragons of France not do for Napoleon?” Temeraire said. “When you know how much he has given them, and how he has changed their lot: built them pavilions and roads through all Europe, and given them their rights? You cannot blame her, Laurence; you cannot blame any of them.”

“Then at least you may blame him,” Laurence said, “for trading so far on that loyalty to bring her and her fellows into this country in a vain and unjustified attempt at conquest. It was never in your power to prevent her coming, or to rescue her. Only her master might have done so.”

“I do,” Temeraire said. “I do blame him, and Laurence, it would be beyond everything, if he should escape us now.” He heaved a deep breath, and raised his head again. “I am ready to go.”

The men were already aboard; Temeraire lifted Laurence to his place at the base of his neck, and with a spring not as energetic as Laurence would have liked, they were aloft again. Beneath them, the stoat crept out of its hiding-place and went back to its feasting.

The ferocious wind managed to come as a surprise again, even after so short a break in their flying. The last warmth of autumn had lingered late into November, but the Russian winter had come with a true vengeance now, more than justifying all the dire warnings which Laurence had heard before its advent, and to-day the temperature had fallen further still. He was used to biting cold upon the deck of a racing frigate or aloft upon a dragon’s back in winter, but no experience had prepared him to endure this chill. Leather and wool and fur could not keep it out. Frost gathered thickly on his eyelashes and brows before he could even put his flying-goggles back on; when at last he secured them, the ice melted and ran down the insides of the green glass, leaving trails across his sight like rain.

The ground crew traveling in the belly-netting, shielded better from the wind, might huddle together and make a shared warmth; he had given his scant handful of officers permission to sit together in twos and threes. He could permit himself no such comfort. Tharkay had left them two weeks before, on his way to answer an urgent call to Istanbul; there was no-one else whom Laurence might sit with, without awkwardness—Ferris could not be asked without reflection on Forthing, and equally the reverse; and he could not ask them both, when they might at any moment be attacked. They had to be spread wider than that across Temeraire’s back.

He endured the cold as best he could beneath wrappings of oilcloth and a patchwork fur made of rabbit- and weasel-skins, keeping his fingers tucked beneath his arm-pits and his legs folded. Still the chill crept inexorably throughout his limbs, and when his fingers reached a dangerous numbness and ceased to give him pain, he forced himself to stand up in his straps. He carefully unlatched one carabiner, working slowly with thick gloves and numbed hands, and hooked it to a further ring; he then undid the second, and made his way along the harness hand-over-hand to the limits of the first strap before latching back on.

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League of Dragons 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sad to see this end.
The-Broke-Book-Bank More than 1 year ago
I wasn't ready for this series to end in 2016 and honestly, I wasn't ready for it to end now either. But the audiobook was available from my library and I wanted closure. I did read the wiki for the previous book to quickly refresh my memory since it'd been so long. Everything I wanted and expected. I LOVE Temeraire so, so very much. He the social justice warrior of my heart. I wanted to shout "DRAG HIM" when he takes down imperialist BS. My notes are basically shouting about the dragons with lots of exclamation points. But here's the 0ther notes I made between all that: --Aw, Tem with PTSD. Poor baby :( ---JANE!!! --The sex scene was adorable TBH. --Really devastated and sad for it to end, but it was concluded perfectly, brilliantly. --Jumps between Part 2 & 3, and Part 3 and 4 were discombobulating, especially when I was so used to this series describing each step of the way. --Dragonling threw me for a loop. Part of me liked her better as an egg, but she's intelligent, cunning, and a good spice up. It's too bad Tem is outshined in the manipulation and maneuvering by the female relatives of his, lol. --Good job stepping up Lawerance! He's making moves. --OMG, Tem trying to clean - lol!. --Tem's rivalry with Lien basically evaporates and was really disappointing. --If ONE thing changed towards the end, I would've turned coat for Napoleon as well TBH. --Aww Tharkey.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She should quit fooling around and write another book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great ending!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read the entire enjoyable series. I will miss Laurence & Tremeraire and secretly hope that Novik will reconsider & bring the characters & their cohorts back sometime in the near future.
reececo331 More than 1 year ago
League of Dragons (Temeraire, #9) by Naomi Novik The War has ravaged the world as Napoleon has bled the continent of men and dragons, his failed attempt at taking Britain, his conquest of Europe has lead to a retreat into Russia. Napoleon has turned the feral dragons into a force of confusion and desolation and Temeraire and Laurence have much to do to repair the damage. This is a difficult time in their world, in their friendship and in their mission. Their opinion of the treatment of the dragons in Europe will make their alliances stronger. The greatest challenge is in the birth of Temeraire’s egg. This is a great step in the series that will make the world change on the turn of a dragon’s wing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The series really captures the imagination. This was an excellent end to the series. It felt true to the characters and to the fictional history as well. We are introduced to a few new characters that add realism to this fantastic tale. It was a wonderful read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The only reason I am not giving it 5 stars is simply because I am so disappointed to see it end. She ends it without us knowing what precisely lays in store for our main characters, which although still a well rounded ending was also slightly lackluster. I still love the series and with a heart full of hope will wait for future books with Laurence and temeraire
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This series was a delight to read. Each character terms was well done, dragons included. Many of the dragons had egos larger than Napoleon...and even The Donald. I hope Ms Novik contest to write novels as interesting as those on this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best series ever for lovers of history and fantasy!
Sailon More than 1 year ago
It is with much sadness and reluctance that I read the last book in Novik’s Temeraire series, League of Dragons. We’ve laughed, cried and been touched by the dragon and his captain and their adventures will surely be missed. The final push to eliminate Napoleon has lead our heroes to perilous place. They must recover Temeraire’s egg and defeat Napoleon once and for all. Novik’s writing is vibrant, this dragon filled world jumps off the pages. I can’t help but find myself absorbed into plot. That being said, I was hoping for more… After all these years of following these adventures there wasn’t the closure I needed to put this story to rest. And, in an effort to avoid spoiler, I’m going to have to leave it at that. All in all, this has been a grand adventure that I’m thrilled I took it. I highly recommend this series and League of Dragons to any historical fantasy fan. I received this ARC copy of League of Dragons from Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine - Del Rey in exchange for a honest review.
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The end to a great series.