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Tongues of Serpents
Cover of Tongues of Serpents
Tongues of Serpents
Temeraire Series, Book 6
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Convicted of treason despite their heroic defense against Napoleon's invasion of England, Temeraire and Capt. Will Laurence have been transported to a prison colony in distant Australia--and into a...
Convicted of treason despite their heroic defense against Napoleon's invasion of England, Temeraire and Capt. Will Laurence have been transported to a prison colony in distant Australia--and into a...
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  • Convicted of treason despite their heroic defense against Napoleon's invasion of England, Temeraire and Capt. Will Laurence have been transported to a prison colony in distant Australia--and into a hornet's nest of fresh complications. The colony is in turmoil after the overthrow of military governor William Bligh--aka Captain Bligh, late of HMS Bounty. And when Bligh tries to enlist them in his bid to regain office, the dragon and his captain are caught in the middle of a political power struggle. Their only chance to escape the fray is accepting a mission to blaze a route through the forbidding Blue Mountains and into the interior of Australia. But the theft of a precious dragon egg turns their expedition into a desperate recovery operation--leading to a shocking discovery and a dangerous new complication in the global war between Britain and Napoleon.

    BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Naomi Novik's Crucible of Gold.

Excerpts-

  • Chapter One Chapter One


    There were few streets in the main port of Sydney which deserved the name, besides the one main thoroughfare, and even that bare packed dirt, lined only with a handful of small and wretched buildings that formed all the permanence of the colony. Tharkay turned off from this and led the way down a cramped, irregularly arranged alley-way between two wooden-slat buildings to a courtyard full of men drinking, in surly attitudes, under no roof but a tarpaulin.

    Along one side of the courtyard, the further from the kitchens, the convicts sat in their drab and faded duck trousers, dusty from the fields and quarries and weighted down with fatigue; along the other, small parties of men from the New South Wales Corps watched with candidly unfriendly faces as Laurence and his companions seated themselves at a small table near the edge of the establishment.

    Besides their being strangers, Granby's coat drew the eye: bottle-green was not in the common way, and though he had put off the worst excesses of gold braid and buttons with which Iskierka insisted upon adorning him, the embroidery at cuffs and collar could not be so easily detached. Laurence wore plain brown, himself: to make a pretense of standing in the Aerial Corps now was wholly out of the question, of course, and if his dress raised questions concerning his situation, that was certainly no less than honest, as neither he nor anyone else had yet managed to work out what that ought in any practical sense to be.

    "I suppose this fellow will be here soon enough," Granby said, unhappily; he had insisted on coming, but not from any approval of the scheme.

    "I fixed the hour at six," Tharkay answered, and then turned his head: one of the younger officers had risen from the tables and was coming towards them.

    Eight months aboard ship with no duties of his own and shipmates nearly united in their determination to show disdain had prepared Laurence for the scene which, with almost tiresome similarity, unfolded yet again. The insult itself was irritating for demanding some answer, more than anything else; it had not the power to wound in the mouth of a coarse young boor, stinking of rum and visibly unworthy to stand among even the shabby ranks of a military force alternately called the Rum Corps. Laurence regarded Lieutenant Agreuth only with distaste, and said briefly, "Sir, you are drunk; go back to your table, and leave us at ours."

    There the similarity ended, however: "I don't see why I," Agreuth said, his tongue tangling awkwardly, so he had to stop and repeat himself, speaking with excessive care, "why I should listen to anything out of a piss-pot whoreson traitor's fucking mouth—"

    Laurence stared, and heard the tirade with mounting incredulity; he would have expected the gutter language out of a dockyard pickpocket in a temper, and hardly knew how to hear it from an officer. Granby had evidently less difficulty, and sprang to his feet saying, "By God, you will apologize, or for halfpence I will have you flogged through the streets."

    "I would like to see you try it," Agreuth said, and leaning over spat into Granby's glass; Laurence stood too late to catch Granby's arm from throwing it into Agreuth's face.

    That was of course an end to even the barest hope or pretense of civility; Laurence instead pulled Granby back by his arm, out of the way of Agreuth's wildly swinging fist, and letting go struck back with the same hand, clenched, as it came again at his face.

    He did not hold back; if brawling was outrageous, it looked inevitable, and he would as soon have it over with quickly. So the blow was armed with all the strength built up...

About the Author-

  • Naomi Novik is the acclaimed author of His Majesty's Dragon, Throne of Jade, Black Powder War, Empire of Ivory, Victory of Eagles, Tongues of Serpents, Crucible of Gold, and Blood of Tyrants, the first eight volumes of the Temeraire series. 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 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.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 17, 2010
    The somber sixth installment (after 2008's Victory of Eagles) of the Napoleonic era adventures of Capt. Will Laurence and Chinese-British dragon Temeraire opens with the pair exiled to New South Wales for saving French dragons from a plague while England and France were at war. The government of the colony is hotly disputed, and both the deposed royal governor and the insurrectionists hope to ally with Laurence and his draconic companions. When a dragon egg is kidnapped, an expedition over the Blue Mountains turns into a frantic hunt for the culprits. Novik fans will be glad to see their old favorite characters growing and changing yet still very much themselves, but the lack of significant interaction with native Australian humans or dragons leaves a certain emptiness at the heart of the story, exacerbated by long stretches of travel through physical and emotional desolation.

  • Kirkus

    June 1, 2010

    Novik (Victory of Eagles, 2008, etc.) delivers the sixth book in her alternate-history fantasy series, this time bringing its dragon-centered story to early-1800s Australia.

    The Temeraire series, which began with His Majesty's Dragon (2006), is set during the era of the Napoleonic Wars, and armies use sentient, flying, fire-breathing dragons for aerial warfare. In this latest installment, Captain Will Laurence and his dragon, Temeraire, have been sent away to a new locale—a British penal colony in Australia, where Laurence meets with such real-life local historical figures as Governor William Bligh. The story revolves mainly around a quest to find a stolen dragon egg, which sends Laurence, Temeraire and their human and dragon comrades traveling across the Australian continent—finally leading to a violent battle involving flying dragons, sea serpents and British naval vessels. The plot advances at a rather leisurely pace, but Novik keeps things engaging by spending much of the book expounding on the care, feeding and behavior of dragons, and readers who appreciate such world-building detail will enjoy these sections greatly.

    An effective chapter in the popular series, featuring well-developed dragon characters that are often more entertaining than their human counterparts.

    (COPYRIGHT (2010) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

  • Library Journal

    June 15, 2010

    Stripped of his rank and privileges, Will Laurence and his similarly exiled dragon, Temeraire, sail to their new home, the prison colony of Botany Bay on the distant continent of Australia. Once there, Laurence and Temeraire suffer the hardships of exile and encounter the colony's former governor, the notorious Captain Bligh, as well as the current ruler and the many disgruntled officers who covet his position. The latest addition to Novik's popular series set in an alternate Napoleonic era takes its heroes to a brave and harsh new world in which men--and dragons--are pushed to their limits but never broken. VERDICT Strong writing, engaging characters, and unforgettable dragons make this a sure bet for fans of period literature such as Patrick O'Brien's Jack Aubrey novels, and, of course, lovers of fantasies featuring dragons. [Ebook ISBN 978-0-345-52175-0.]

    Copyright 2010 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • The Star-Ledger

    "A joy to read."

  • Clay Kallam, Contra Costa Times "I'm more excited about [Naomi] Novik's series than I ever have been. . . . Tongues of Serpents might just be the best."
  • San Francisco Chronicle Praise for the novels of Temeraire

    "Completely involving and probably addictive."
  • Time "Enthralling reading."
  • Entertainment Weekly

    "Gripping adventure."

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