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Temeraire: In the Service of the King (Temeraire #1-3)

4.26  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,295 Ratings  ·  137 Reviews
Naomi Novik breathes new life into a formidable fantasy icon with the first three books in an exciting new series set during the Napoleonic Wars. In Temeraire, valiant warriors rise to Britain's defense by taking to the skies--not aboard aircraft, but atop the mighty backs of fighting dragons.

Thanks to thousands of years of domestication, dragons have come to be used as fi
Hardcover, 832 pages
Published May 30th 2006 by SFBC (first published 2006)
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Eragon by Christopher PaoliniThe Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienEldest by Christopher PaoliniBrisingr by Christopher PaoliniDragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
76th out of 1,011 books — 1,950 voters
His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi NovikEragon by Christopher PaoliniThe Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienEldest by Christopher PaoliniBentwhistle The Dragon in A Chilling Revelation by Paul Cude
33rd out of 304 books — 231 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Doranna Durgin
Jan 21, 2015 Doranna Durgin rated it really liked it
If this collection had contained only the first book, it would be way up there in the five star range. Instead it’s a collection of three books with an unfinished storyline, and Books #2 & 3 aren’t especially satisfying in of themselves. As much as I love books set in this general timeframe--not to mention Temeraire himself!--for me those two books were simply too caught up in the exacting presentation of the larger story arc.

The first book, however, was more self-contained, and a delight i
Best. Dragon. Book. Ever.

I have read a lot of dragon books over the years, from Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series to the more recent Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle and many others. This series outshines them all.

First off, there is no magic. None. I know, I know, how can a world with dragons possibly exist without a little magic thrown in? Don't those two go hand-in-hand? Novik, however, brilliantly uses biology, anthropology, geography, sociology, Darwinism, and so much mor
I have mixed feelings about these three books.

His Majesty's Dragon was a great story and I could barely put it down. The whole experience of Laurence and Temeraire first meeting and training together made me excited for what was to come.

Throne of Jade created the background for Temeraire, the type of dragon he is, and a major enemy that appears in the next book. However, the pace slowed down dramatically. Spending the whole book in China didn't seem like the best use of time - maybe historical
Apr 21, 2013 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading this historical fantasy which combines Napoleonic wars with the exciting and imaginative addition of dragons as the Air Force. This particular publication includes the first three books in the series. The books focus not only on the time period and battles but also on the relationship between the dragons and their pilots. The protagonists, Temeraire, the celestial dragon and his pilot, Capt. William Lawrence have a fun and developing relationship throughout the three books. The ...more
Sep 22, 2011 H. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spec-fic
In His Majesty’s Service contains the first three novels—His Majesty’s Dragon, Throne of Jade, and Black Powder War—in the Temeraire Series, currently at five novels, collected in a single volume. Each novel is quite short, so even in a single volume they are manageable (for comparison’s sake, they remain dwarfed by The Way of Kings on my bookshelf). It also contains a new short story set in the same secondary universe.

Set during the Napoleonic Wars, the series begins with a ship from the Britis
Apr 02, 2008 Terence rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Being a fan of Patrick O'Brian and the Aubrey/Maturin series as well as Bernard Cornwall's Sharpe books, I was intrigued with Naomi Novik's Temeraire series. On the whole, I would give it a C+/B-.

First to the "good" stuff: Novik is a good writer. She manages to capture the "flavor" of the Napoleonic era more often than not (though she can't hold a candle to O'Brian's evocation of early 19th century Britain). She's also created likable characters in William Laurence and Temeraire.

Now the "bad"
Apr 10, 2011 Meaghan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
The Napoleonic Wars is my favorite time era in Britian (sp?) after the Victorian Era, so imagine my surprise when I found a book series that basically just adds dragons to it! I was hooked from chapter one! It was amazing! This particular book incorporates the first three books in the series. I love the writing and the main character, Temeraire. He's an amazing dragon and I love what Naomi Novik has done with him and all the other dragons she created. I also love that his captain, Will Laurence, ...more
Jan 05, 2012 Didi rated it really liked it
Once I got started I couldn't put it down! You can tell because I effectively read it in 1-2 days.

I got sucked into the fantastical world where dragons talk! Laurence's affinity for Temeraire is so sweet and endearing, as is Berkley's camaraderie with his dragon and Captain Harcourt with Lily. I want a talking dragon!! Watching Laurence and Temeraire's relationship evolve throughout the book, in a time of war no less, was fascinating. U learn with Laurence about dragons and their peculiarities.
Dec 07, 2012 Jolyn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
loooove, love, love this series! these dragons are lovable, funny, smart! the adventures both the riders and their dragons face had me up all night, literlly could not sleep until i finshed the book! i read the first 3 books in a weeks time! its been along while though since i did, but i remember temaraire and the rock well! still giggling! can't wait to finish 6, 7 and enticipating publishment of #8 in 2013! only reason i have not read them all yet is, i am not rich enough to support my reading ...more
Jun 23, 2016 Girl rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
My sweethearts <3 <3 <3
Mar 03, 2010 Erica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I tried to read this, and though the worldbuilding was outstanding, ultimately the intense details of life in army, in navy, of the Napoleonic Wars and battle plans, just bored me.

If you read this perhaps the best way would be to do one book, then stop for a while, and then another book. Then take another breather for a while, etc.

Her writing in Napoleonic period style is incredibly good, she manages to keep the prose lively for a modern reader while also being extremely true to that historical
Apr 21, 2016 Robyn rated it it was amazing
I read that Naomi Novik started out trying to write a fanfic with Captain Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, but dragons came into it and she realized she was writing an original story. And I'm so glad she did.

From the moment I started reading the first novel in the series, I realized I was in for a binge-read. Within two weeks I had read everything there was to be had and I'm now waiting (impatiently) for the last book in the series to appear in the next couple of months.

Novik can handle the fantasy a
It's really a 4.5, and closer to a 4 for the first book, but I won't begrudge Novik a full set of stars. Navy man captain Will Laurence's life changes forever the day he captures one of Napoleon's ships and finds a dragon egg in its hold. The dragon bonds with him, and suddenly his navy career has been swapped for one in His Majesty's Royal Aviators. Essentially, then, it's alt history, where the big historical change is that dragons exist, and humans have domesticated some of them--or at least ...more
Justin Fielder
Dec 10, 2014 Justin Fielder rated it really liked it
Imagine, if you will, the nerdiest book series in the multiverse. The elevator pitch for this book would be “Horatio Hornblower with, wait for it... dragons.” That actually sums it up pretty well, but I feel the need to elaborate in case some found that description repellent.

An intelligent, charismatic dragon is the eponymous character (though not the primary protagonist) of the series, and the books are set during the Napoleonic Wars (the nerdiest of the continental conflicts), but the Temerai
Nov 04, 2008 Dennis rated it it was amazing
I generally do not review my books in writing I am a speak about the book fan, but honestly for those of you into alternate history / fantasy (BTW, this has been only my second foray into it) this series was amazing. Novik has a way of captivating you with her writing and this series hooked me. When I finished the last book, I wanted more.

Time to find out what she is working on next, I think I have another favorite author.
Oct 18, 2015 Meredith rated it it was amazing
It's hard to write a review for a multi-book volume, so I'll just make a few general comments here.

As someone with only the barest understanding of the time period (my knowledge should become useful within another five-ten years in-book), I found the setting an interesting choice - and the worldbuilding incredible. If you run with a premise like this (dragons exist, and have always coexisted with humans), then of course it makes sense for Rome-influenced societies to behave this way, China to be
Judi Moore
Aug 07, 2014 Judi Moore rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love dragons, so this was a blast for me. If you have ever enjoyed one of Anne McCaffrey's 'Pern' books, or felt that Smaug got a raw deal, you will love this series. It is dragons-meet-the-Napoleonic Wars. Forget aeroplanes, don't need to invent 'em: we have dragons to bomb and strafe the enemy's warships. Dragons and their chosen companions have a bond which is warm and fuzzy ... er ... I mean caring and honourable. The impact dragons could have on war and the War Office, civilian population ...more
Dec 29, 2015 Anvi rated it it was ok
I got through 58% of this book on my Kindle. Then, I just couldn't go further. I believe life is too short for okay books. I mean, there is so much you could you do with war dragons and a war with Napoleon other than a 25 plus dude trying to grasp his wits about there being female aviators. The concept of a lady and how being prim and lacy is all her life should account to, is sadly disappointing. Yes, it's old England, but seriously, I am well past the days of radical feminism. And to see the p ...more
Jan 29, 2009 Jamie rated it it was amazing
Only on Chapter 2, but so far I'm really enjoying it. I was wary of talking dragons and dragonriders since I hated Pern, but I like the different, historical milieu and the characters so far are way more likeable than Anne McCaffrey's.
May 28, 2009 Sephiroth rated it it was amazing
I borrowed this from my friend and I couldn't put it down!
Jan 06, 2014 Zarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

His Majesty's Dragon - 5

Oh, I quite enjoyed this one. I found the contrast between Laurence's prim Navy ways and life with an unpredictable dragon endearing. I enjoyed watching his growing affection for Temeraire and Temeraire's honest open love. I did find some of it predictable and it didn't really have much of an ending, since this is the first of a much longer series. But I'm looking forward to book two.

Throne of Jade - 3.5

I still loved the characters and the writing and the world-building (
Ea Solinas
Apr 29, 2015 Ea Solinas rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Imagine if the Napoleonic wars had been fought using an air force... of dragons.

That idea is the root of Naomi Novik's Temeraire series -- an alternate-history fantasy that explores the idea of a Horatio Hornbloweresque navy officer who suddenly finds a dragon uprooting his life. And in the first three books of her series, compiled in "In the Service of the King," Novik stretches credibility here and there, but her stories are a solid, intelligent, often amusing adventure story.

"His Majesty's Dr
Aug 11, 2014 Rusty rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
When William Laurence, captain of the English Reliant, and his crew capture a French ship they find a prize without par in this alternate version of the Napoleonic wars. It's a dragon egg. However, events spiral beyond Laurence's imagination when the hatching dragon he names Temeraire chooses Laurence for his captain. He must forsake his beloved navy in lieu of the air corps which is a service apart and quite different from all he has known as a naval officer. So begins a series featuring the dr ...more
An Odd1
Aug 02, 2011 An Odd1 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, fan
***** "In His Majesty's Service" collects the first three books of Naomi Novik's Temeraire series: "His Majesty's Dragon", "Throne of Jade" and "Black Powder War", reviewed separately, and a short story. "In Autumn, A White Dragon Looks Over the Wide River" tells how Lien meets Napoleon. The title evokes her origin in a culture of poetry, centuries of knowledge, and aristocracty. The albino Celestial (most intelligent breed) dragon left China for revenge. Her prince was killed trying to destroy ...more
Nov 30, 2010 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very fun and fast read. As other reviews have mentioned the author does get it when talking about military culture and tactics. I was very happy to see character development and not every loose end finished in book one. Especially as this is part of a three book volume :)

Definitely if you like military stories, or just nice solid character stories, this will be a good read for you. If you are in it for magic and dragons.... well there are lots of dragons!

Book 2 whizzed on by in this collection
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Jul 29, 2013 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy Fans
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: Dyce
I love the Temeraire series which could be described as a mix of McCaffrey's Pern (dragons!) and Horatio Hornblower daring do (Napoleonic wars) and the delightfully unique. Novik's style is clean, unobtrusive, with a voice and diction that is often Austen-esque in tone. In His Majesty’s Service is an omnibus edition of the first three novels in the series: His Majesty’s Dragon, Throne of Jade and Black Powder War.

The first book marked it as unique among dragon fantasies I've read for giving dra
Matt Cavert
I have a tough time giving this book 3 stars. The first book in this tome is certainly at least a four and then the other two are probably 3.5s, but averaging out them together I think a 3 is closer to how a feel rather than a 4.

The first book is fascinating, the main character Laurence and the dragon Temeraire make an amusing duo as they are thrust into Britain's Ariel Corps during the Napoleonic Wars. The look into a society with dragons, how they train, how they live, made for excellent readi
Jan 22, 2016 Exanimis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, adventure
I have just finished reading the first book, His Majesty's Dragon and my rating is at a four for now. I have never read anything about dragons so this was my first exposure to the sub genera. The story was a page turner for me, from the discovery of the egg to the first battle with the fighting adult dragon was an awesome adventure. Laurence and Temeraire's friendship grows as they train and Temeraire reaches adulthood but the books remaining populous tag along in a two dimensional world. None o ...more
Jun 27, 2012 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The four star rating is the average of what I thought of each book that are in this one book.

HIS MAJESTY'S DRAGON- I give this a 5 star rating, I loved this book. I wasn't sure at first that I would care for Laurence much as he seemed a bit of a stuffed shirt, but he came around and I really liked his character. Temeraire i fell for as soon as he came out of his shell! This book has some very well written characters and a good storyline. All of the dragons were written with some great dialog, I
Nov 07, 2013 Becky rated it really liked it
How many books can you say combine fantasy and historical fiction? Naomi Novak's Temeraire series accomplishes this feat.

In His Majesty's Dragon, Britain is the midst of the Napoleonic Wars. Dragons exist and have been used by men in battle for thousands of years. Britain's Aerial Corps is the finest in the world, but France's dragons outnumber them three to one. So when naval captain William Lawrence captures a French ship carrying a rare dragon's egg, he knows he must get it into the Corps' h
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An avid reader of fantasy literature since age six, when she first made her way through The Lord of the Rings, Naomi Novik is also a history buff with a particular interest in the Napoleonic era and a fondness for the work of Patrick O’Brian and Jane Austen. She studied English literature at Brown University, and did graduate work in computer science at Columbia University before leaving to partic ...more
More about Naomi Novik...

Other Books in the Series

Temeraire (9 books)
  • His Majesty's Dragon (Temeraire, #1)
  • Throne of Jade (Temeraire, #2)
  • Black Powder War (Temeraire, #3)
  • Empire of Ivory (Temeraire, #4)
  • Victory of Eagles (Temeraire, #5)
  • Tongues of Serpents (Temeraire, #6)
  • Crucible of Gold (Temeraire, #7)
  • Blood of Tyrants (Temeraire, #8)
  • League of Dragons (Temeraire, #9)

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“No, my dear,” he said at last, softly, knowing it was only the truth. “I would rather have you than any ship in the Navy.” 1 likes
“I should rather have you than a heap of gold, even if it were very comfortable to sleep on,” Temeraire said. “I do not mind the deck.” 0 likes
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