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

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4.28 of 5 stars 4.28  ·  rating details  ·  1,740 ratings  ·  118 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
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Hardcover, 832 pages
Published May 30th 2006 by Del Rey (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
Dragons
78th out of 872 books — 1,774 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
Dragons/Serpents
34th out of 335 books — 218 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,821)
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Doranna Durgin
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
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Meg
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
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Casey
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
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Julie
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
Justin
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
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Terence
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"
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Meaghan
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
Didi
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.
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Jolyn
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
Erica
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
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Mjhancock
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
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
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Dennis
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.
Judi Moore
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
Jamie
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.
Sephiroth
I borrowed this from my friend and I couldn't put it down!
Sadie Forsythe

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 (
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Ea Solinas
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
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Rusty
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
***** "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
Robert
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
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Lisa (Harmonybites)
Jul 29, 2013 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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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
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Exanimis
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
Melissa
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
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Becky
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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Xach
This is three books in one volume, and I read straight through all three as one. I shall attempt to discuss them both singularly and individually here, but make no promises as to the cohesion of my arguments. Consider yourselves forewarned.

First and foremost, the narrative of this tome is, in style as well as content, very British. By this I do not only mean that it follows a main character in Captain William Laurence who is a British naval captain at the outset of "His Majesty's Dragon," but al
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Nathan
A review of all three books in the omnibus can be found at Fantasy Review Barn

Fantasy Review: 'His Majesty's Dragon' by Naomi Novik

Oh friggen sweet. Ok, so here’s how it is. This stuffy British sea captain wipes the deck with a frenchie ship (ha, wipes the deck). When they take control of the ship it has this giant egg on it, because it turns out there are dragons. This egg is about to hatch so he makes his crew draw straws on who is going to be its best bud because these crazy people don’t want
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Rebbacchus
This is a wonderful imaginative use of alternate history. I have read all of the books in the series. I did not know what I was reading when I started the first book I thought it was simply another Horatio Hornblower want to be… But then again I love Horatio Hornblower.

I also love the David Weber series on honor Harrington. But my five-star recommendation is only based on the first three or four books in the series. After that I believe Novik decided to become politically correct and anti-wester
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Ryan
I had already read the first third of this collection as a stand-alone novel, so this entry represents the second and third parts of the series.

Temeraire is the story of a dragon from which the series takes its name, and his captain, one Will Laurence. Will and his dragon serve the British crown during the Napoleonic wars, fighting first at Dover and then travelling to China, Turkey, and Prussia in an attempt to prevent Napoleon and his dragons from conquering the world.

This was a lot of fun! V
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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)
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)

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