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Empire of Ivory: A Novel of Temeraire
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Empire of Ivory: A Novel of Temeraire (Temeraire #4)

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3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  12,726 ratings  ·  638 reviews
“A new writer is soaring on the wings of a dragon.”
–The New York Times

“Enthralling reading–it’s like Jane Austen playing Dungeons & Dragons with Eragon’s Christopher Paolini.”
–Time, on His Majesty’s Dragon


Tragedy has struck His Majesty’s Aerial Corps, whose magnificent fleet of fighting dragons and their human captains valiantly defend England’s shores against the
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ebook, 404 pages
Published September 25th 2007 by Del Rey (first published January 1st 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Corrielle
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kaethe
2011 September 21

Yeah, she managed to slip penguins in there with the colonialism and the slavery and the dragon plague. It feels quite a bit as if she can read my mind and anticipate everything I might want to see and give it to me. I'd give her a whole extra star just for the 19th century epidemiology alone. And another star for Mrs. Erasmus. It's hard for me to think of another book, let alone a series, which deals so well with very weighty issues and is such insane pleasure to read.

Library c
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Meredith Galman
In terms of both theme and action, this book seems more like a direct sequel, and a worthier follow-up, to Throne of Jade than the rather pointless Black Powder War. Back in England, Laurence and Temeraire discover the fighting dragons have been devastated by an unknown plague. Since Temeraire seems to have survived it, he and others of his consort are dispatched back to Africa to try and find the cure. There they encounter several African tribes and yet another societal relationship between h ...more
Trin
The fourth in the Temeraire series, and the one I've enjoyed the most since the introductory book. Which is to say, a lot. This one felt more tightly structured than the last, with the disease plot as a brilliantly chosen and terrifying centerpiece. I've never had a dragon, obviously, but the idea of losing one made me ache almost as much as the thought of losing one's daemon in His Dark Materials. The African setting really came alive; I love how we're getting to see how different cultures aro ...more
Zen Cho
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kerry
Whaaaaat now that is a cliffhanger! Man.

This was once again a very nice little book. This one takes place in Africa for much of the time, which is fun. And it has a lady admiral! I know I've bemoaned in the past the lack of female characters in this series. But I have to admit that Novik is pretty good at having our hero be a product of his times, without being a huge dick. He seems more bewildered by women being able to, like, DO and THINK things, than really objecting to it. Which works for me
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Kathleen
"It's a kind of consumption," Lord Lenton said tiredly, turning to the window.

“How widespread—?” Laurence asked.

“Everywhere,” Lenton said. “Dover, Portsmouth, Middlesbrough. The breeding grounds in Wales and Halifax; Gibraltar; everywhere the couriers went on their rounds; everywhere.” He turned away from the windows and took his chair again. “We were inexpressibly stupid; we thought it was only a cold, you see.”
(Ironically, the plague originated with American dragons, who are immune.)

Narrate
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Monica
The pacing of the plot really picks up in this installment of the Temeraire series. I also love that they are back in England with this book (for the most part), as I find the dynamic in that setting to be the most entertaining. This is one of the better books in the series, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who has enjoyed any of Novik's previous novels.
Jamie
I'm loving this series. This one has a sort of cliffhanger ending, which I don't in general care for, and I'm glad the next book is already available. I'm going to be really frustrated when I finish that one - I hate it when I "catch up" on a series and have to wait a year or more between books.

Novik's writing gets better and better. I kept going back to re-read sections that were particularly compelling, and there are some very funny scenes. I love the Regency-era dialog.
Jennifer
I'm back onboard and flying high with this installment of Temeraire's adventures. Though I didn't enjoy book 3 quite as much as the others #4 comes out swinging and pretty much never stops. Taking the story to Africa and juxtaposing the slave trade with the dragon rights issues that have so far been brought up works wonderfully here and, yet again, Novik has created another dragon culture. It's quite different from the English corps and the Chinese. We do not get to see too much of it but it's f ...more
Donna
This is the 4th book in the Temeraire series. There were things I liked and things I didn't, so 3 stars it is. I still like the characters and the little dragon. However, somewhere they wobbled. The main characters were good guys uniting in common cause to defend the helpless and defeat the villians. Then they, the good guys, were the villians, then they weren't, then they were and then they weren't. It wobbled like that through the plot.The story line was fine, but it felt like it lagged a bit. ...more
P. Aaron Potter
CLIFFHANGER WARNING!

Newly proposed law: any book which ends on a verifiable Cliffhanger must sport a warning label, in bright orange, which covers no less than 25% of the available cover. "Verifiable," in this case, is subject entirely to the judgment of the Minister of Books, ie me.

Seriously, I got into George R. R. Martin's books with eyes wide open. I knew I was going to be left hanging. I have no beef with him.
But generally, if you put "book one of a trilogy" on your front cover, I'm not go
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Anna Nesterovich
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ярослава
Фінал, звісно, найефектніший у цілій серії, але сама книжка така нудна, що, здається, свого часу я після неї й кинула читати. Аудіоверсія, звісно, йде жвавішенько, коли ти на книжку наче не виділяєш окремого часу.
Мені подобається, що Новік робить із застарілими формулами пригодницького роману/роману мандрів, зокрема вводячи туди героїв, які в оригіналах ХІХ ст. таких функцій виконувати не могли б (жінки, етнічні меншини). На жаль, такі зміни не робляться механічно, тут треба показати, як об них
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Samrat
This was really much better than the third book. I really like how articulately Novik (and Temeraire) condemns slavery (duh, but still grateful) and goes to lengths to explain the Tswana society/religion, but I dunno, some of the descriptions were irksome and most of the African characters underdeveloped. I really like how creative and distinct each culture has been in their relationships to their dragons. Super happy about the ending. I don't even mind the cliffhangers because the stories feel ...more
Casey
After the previous installment, Black Powder War, I wasn't sure if I should continue on with the series. I am satisfied with my decision to read Empire of Ivory. I think it makes up for the previous shortcomings, and it is more tightly plotted compared to the previous books.

That being said, Temeraire novels are a slow burn. There are periods of inactivity between skirmishes, and periods of time where the characters are stuck in their situation. That is indicative of being in the military. I rema
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ambyr
For the first time in the series we see clearly what's been hinted at all along--that this alternate history is not just our history performed in slightly different costumes. The dragons are not just window-dressing; having the most powerful weapon of the 19th century be non-technological and thus equally available to both pre- and post-industrial societies makes a very real difference in the history of colonization. Watching the consequences of that play out left me with a deep sense of satisfa ...more
Saphirablue
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tari_Roo
Well, after the first book, this book is my next favourite. The anxiety and tension in books 2 and 3 restrained my complete enjoyment, but with Empire of Ivory, I was reading avidly, unable to put the book down.

The first notes of enjoyment were Iskierka and the ferals - who were delightfully funny and amusing, especially in contrast to the overhanging sorrow and worry with the plague affecting the other dragons. And as frustrating as Laurence finds the British Government, I found them worthy of
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Glee
OK, first book was Temeraire's birth and early training in England (with his trusty sidekick, Will Laurence, British naval officer turned dragon captain), followed by Temeraire's exploration of his "roots" in China, then Temeraire on the Silk Road, with special emphasis on Constantinople and other Balkan hot spots, and now in book 4, we have Temeraire in Africa!!

As ridiculous as this sounds, these are more than just ripping good fantasy reads. There is a lot of history (and geography) wedged in
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Otherwyrld
A much better book than the previous one, with much better pacing. The real downer of an ending took the edge off a possible 5 star rating though.

Temeraire and his crew finally make it home only to find most of the dragons sick with a lung complaint that kills them slowly and agonisingly. So, with barely time to draw breath they find themselves on their way to Africa to look for a cure. This seems to be little more than a blind stab in the dark, based on the fact that Temeraire didn't get sick.
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Ben Babcock
Most of my first review of Empire of Ivory stands, so rather than rehash that, I’ll just comment on where my opinion has changed or things I noticed that I didn’t mention in the first review.

I’ve mentioned this in previous reviews, but Laurence is just such a delightful character. I think we’ve gotten used to seeing caricatures of women from the turn of the nineteenth century simply based on Jane Austen’s celebrity. It’s refreshing to see Naomi Novik capture the thoughts of a English gentleman o
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BJ Rose
Well, we traveled to another continent in this book. In His Majesty's Dragon it was Europe (England especially) and the Napoleonic Wars, in Throne of Jade it was Asia (China specifically), in Black Powder War it was the region of Eurasia (Turkey), and in this book we travel to Africa to try to find a cure for the deadly disease that is decimating the dragons. In the process, they are captured and enslaved, and ... (well, more would be a serious spoiler).

Again, this book didn't really grab me unt
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Pamela D
I am not sure, if I am just losing steam on the Temeraire books or the series is just starting to drag. I had purposefully read several books between Black Powder War, because I had this same feeling after the third Temeraire book. Apparently, it has not been enough time.

What I Liked about the Book:

1. Temeraire and Laurence visited a new place! I really enjoy reading about how dragons live in different parts of the world. I really appreciate it when authors' world building includes different cu
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Kara

Book 4 in the Temeraire series spends a chunk of the plot in Africa, where matters over the slave trade are coming to a head, made all the more tense when dragons are involved. All the running around and getting captured gets tedious, but the on-the-ground view of how history is shaped was well done.

Back in England, the political becomes very personal when Termeraire and Laurence decide a good military strategy doesn’t excuse the deaths of thousands, and decide to go stop it.

Traitors or heroes?
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Audrey Dailey


This is the 4th book in the Temeraire series. While the ongoing conflict with Napoleon and France overshadows this novel, the bigger problem at hand is a consumptive disease that is threatening the lives of all dragons in Britain. So almost immediately after returning home from China, Laurence and Temeraire are headed off to Africa in search of a warmer climate and a cure. What they find is that their knowledge of African dragons and customs is sorely lacking. The book has a cliff-hanger ending
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nicebutnubbly
I love this series, but I really didn't like this one much. While the beginning was interesting, and the end was more so, the middle takes us to Africa and randomly deposits us into a new culture whose analog in history (if any) was not apparent to me. The point of the trip to Africa may be some impact on the world that we'll need for future books, but it's barely mentioned in the fifth book, and I can't help but feel that it was a ridiculous interpolation in terms of the wider narrative flow. W ...more
Tom Wolfem
Another great book in the Temeraire series.

I have to admit that I'm usually bored to tears when a fantasy series decides to deal with the 2-dimensional aspects of disease / famine / act-of-nature as a 'this is our current antagonist for the book'. Such a sub-plot is inevitably dragged out and transparent. Considering this expectation, Empire of Ivory, thankfully, disappointed. The disease was just a knock on the door to move the series into another part of the world and some hard decisions for i
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Judy
Probably 3.5 stars because I thought the middle third of the book dragged on a bit. For once, I'm glad I came to this series a bit late and don't have to wait for the next release since this one ended on a cliffhanger. I felt pretty sad by the end of this book, but I'll definitely read the next one. Wonderful narration of the audiobook.
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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)
  • 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) Victory of Eagles (Temeraire, #5) Uprooted

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“Proper circus you make,' Berkley said, with a snort of laughter Laurence considered unnecessary, when they landed in the clearing and set the dog down; it promptly went tearing around the parade ground yelling at the dragons. For their part they were only interested and curious until the dog bit a too-inquisitive Dulcia on the tender nip of her muzzle, at which she hissed in anger; the dog yelped and fled back to the dubious shelter of Temeraire's side; he looked down at it in irritation and tried unsuccessfully to nudge it away.

'Pray be careful of the creature; I have no idea how we should get or train another,' Laurence said, and Temeraire at last grumbling allowed it to curl up beside him.”
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“Keynes, quite ignoring the covert gestures, the attempts at signaling, of nearly every senior officer, examined [Lily] and declared that she was perfectly fit to fly, "had better fly, I should say; this agitation is unnatural, and must be worked off."

"But perhaps," Laurence said, voicing the reluctance which the captains all privately shared, and they as a body began to suggest flights out over the ocean, along the scenic and settled coastline and back; gentle exercise.

"I hope," Catherine said, going pink clear up to her forehead in a wave of color, "I hope that no-one is going to fuss; I would dislike fuss extremely.”
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