Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Tongues of Serpents (Temeraire, #6)” as Want to Read:
Tongues of Serpents (Temeraire, #6)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Tongues of Serpents (Temeraire #6)

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  9,960 Ratings  ·  748 Reviews
A dazzling blend of military history, high-flying fantasy, and edge-of-your-seat adventure, Naomi Novik's Temeraire novels, set in an alternate Napoleonic era in which intelligent dragons have been harnessed as weapons of war, are more than just perennial bestsellers—they are a worldwide phenomenon. Now, in Tongues of Serpents, Naomi Novik is back, along with the dragon Te ...more
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published September 14th 2010 by Tantor Media (first published January 1st 2010)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Tongues of Serpents, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Tongues of Serpents

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
October 2010

Tongues of Serpents brings William Laurence, his dragon Temeraire, their friends Granby and Iskierka, and three dragon eggs, to the colony of Sydney in New South Wales--but not for long. The governor of New South Wales has been overthrown, but Laurence is in no mood for politics. Instead, Laurence and Granby agree to take their dragons, along with the first egg hatched to one of Laurence's old rivals, Captain Rankin, on a simple mission into Australia's interior. There, the second eg
Jan 31, 2013 Kyle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have said previously that Naomi Novik hasn't hit a sour note, nor made a wrong step throughout her Temeraire series. I guess this is what I get for speaking too soon. Naomi Novik is still an extremely consistent writer, and whenever I've picked up a Temeraire book I've had a remarkably accurate idea of what to expect from the novel.

Simply put, however, this one was the exception and it proved to be a bit of a disappointment. It's the smallest Temeraire book, yet it felt like it was the longes
Jamie Collins
This is as well-written as the earlier books, with great dialogue, and I very much enjoyed the characters. But the story is a little dull, particularly in comparison with the previous book. Our heroes spend most of the time traipsing around in Australia in the middle of nowhere.

I didn't see much point to the plot, and the Aviators seemed disorganized and unprofessional; an impression I don't remember getting from the earlier books. It's also beginning to seem odd that Europe is the only place in
May 14, 2016 Marina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3-star, own
How can you possibly make a story about the first days of Australian colonization boring? Well, ToS is how... The beginning of Tongues of Serpents was dreadful: slow paced, political in the most uninteresting ways, and action that falls short of it's rich setting.

I mean, come on! This is the wild and untamed Australia!! And all the characters spend doing for half the book is chasing people across the vast landscape. Sure there are some killer earthworms, but even then, it was just so hard to car
Mogsy (MMOGC)
These books are still a joy to read, though I've pretty much accepted that none of the sequels in this series are ever going to come close to being as good as the first book again. At least this one was better than the last, which sees Laurence and Temeraire back on an adventure again in a faraway exotic place.

This time, the crew finds themselves in Australia, with Laurence having been banished to the prison colony of New South Wales after being convicted of treason. The British Aerial Corps has
There has been a fair amount of negative reviews for this book on this site, but to be honest I didn't think it was that bad a book. Not great, and not up to the standard of previous volumes, but not bad either.

Laurence and Temeraire have arrived in Australia as convicts, but they find themselves in a difficult position when they come across William Bligh (of HMS Bounty fame), who has been deposed as Governor of the new colony. Bligh wants the dragons to help reinstate him, and he is non too sub
Jul 25, 2010 Rachel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2010
This was just so boring. I just don't understand where this series went wrong--the first one is so funny, and it's about DRAGONS fighting NAPOLEON. But they've gradually stopped being funny and have turned into dragons visiting all the continents. For some reason. This one is just the dragons flying across Australia and accomplishing nothing. Seriously, just chapters and chapters of them flying around for a purpose too flimsy to support a months-long journey across uncharted territory; a purpose ...more
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Let's get this out of the way: I was disappointed in this book.

It's the sixth in a series that's been losing steam and going adrift since book three or four. And I hate to say that, but Tongues of Serpents was downright boring and this was more crushing than I expected because it could have been great.

The Temeraire series follows Laurence and his dragon Temeraire as they fight for England in the Napoleonic Wars. Previous adventures have taken them from England to China and Africa, and in Tongues
There is much to love about book six in the Temeraire series - the dragons, in particular, are at their finest, with some new voices that continue to expand what we think we know about the dragon world. I was so glad to spend time with Temeraire again, in particular, with all his wonderful dragon logic that cuts right through the artifice and silliness of human society. I am also thrilled beyond the telling of it to learn that the Iroquois and Ojibwe have their own dragons and I cannot wait unti ...more
Nov 13, 2012 Steven rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I can't wait to finish this book, so I can put it down and hope the next one is better. (The last one wasn't very fun to read either). My dislike may be affected by the cold I have as I am reading it.

I can't tell if Novik hates her characters or her readers more. I'm 4/5 of the way through, and only two good things have happened to anybody: the protagonist was exiled to Australia instead of executed, and a minor character we are supposed to like adopted a gimpy dragon instead of it being execute
Sep 01, 2010 Heidi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is by far the most disappointing of the Temeraire series. It's the sixth book, and Novik is definitely running out of steam (or else on autopilot now that Peter Jackson has optioned the series...either way, NOT GOOD when you have three books left to write).

This latest installment finds Laurence and Temeraire banished to the far side of the world (i.e. the fledgling British colony in Australia). Lots of nothing happens, some eggs hatch, more nothing, then a brief skirmish with some sea serp
Ms. Novik is still off her game from the earliest books in the series. This keeps the series alive but the overall story is dull by comparison to the earlier books. The moral dilemma of saving all the dragons in the world at the expense of being a traitor to England has just not been a good path for this series. All fun of a professionally pompous good hearted British Naval Officer being introduced to the world of fighting dragons, that includes forward thinking females to complicate his ineptne ...more
The Temeraire series answers the age-old question, "How would the Napoleonic Wars change if dragons existed?"

In the first book, His Majesty's Dragon, the answer is that not much would change--all the European nations have dragons, and they treat them like a cross between pets and battleships. The only real change is that communication is slightly faster and some additional battles are fought in the air. The main character, Laurence, is a British naval captain who befriends the dragon Temeraire;
Aug 27, 2010 Meg rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Thomas Wilson
Feb 29, 2012 Thomas Wilson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war, historical
I always enjoy these books. I am a fan of Patrick O'Brien and Naomi books are very similiar, Good History, period correct in the technology and specifics of the book , yet she added in this collection of rich characters which are dragons, utterly amazing!

I also enjoy the fact the main characters don't live in a fairy tale world where their lot in life just gets better as you go along. It goes up and down, and for the most part their situation has gotten progressively worse overall. You read hopi
Aug 18, 2016 Mark rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Earlier books in this series have left me feeling like I would follow the adventures of Laurence and Temeraire just about anywhere on the planet. Here comes the sixth book in the series to prove that there are limits to that belief. An exile to Australia did not have to be boring - indeed, it could have been inherently the opposite of boring. That's not how it works out, though.

The problem here is that this book is the series trying to go again to the same well it has gone before, only in not as
Dec 01, 2015 Donna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I've enjoyed reading this series. Alternative history is really not my thing, but this has been a fun series. This one is probably my least favorite out of the bunch, but the little dragon and his human are just so darn cute. I love their relationship. I just wish the story was more engaging. It was a lot of the same thing. I did page math many times. I still have a few more to read from this series and I am looking forward to them.

So 3 stars.
Apr 02, 2016 Leseparatist rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a less compelling novel, with lower stakes, character-wise (the protagonists face little by way of moral dilemmas apart from (view spoiler)) and fewer lines of interesting interactions ((view spoiler)) ...more
Ben Babcock
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
MB (What she read)
Aug 05, 2010 MB (What she read) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Aubrey & Maturin groupies, people who like intelligent fantasy novels and/or alternate history.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisa (Harmonybites)
May 20, 2010 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy and alternate history fans
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Idiot's Complete Guide to the Ultimate Reading List
TONGUES OF SERPENTS is the sixth novel by Naomi Novik involving dragons set in the Napoleonic Wars. My least favorite book of the six thus far--but the first five set a very high bar--this book is still on its own merits an enjoyable read; this series has become one of my favorite in fantasy.

Novik states in a note at the end that she prefers to only alter the historical timeline from the point Temeraire, the central dragon in her tales, arrives on the scene. So although Novik's world is already
Sep 30, 2011 Johnny rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Tongues of Serpents certainly demonstrates that Naomi Novik can not only scribe convincing Georgian discourse, cite exotic Chinese teas (Silver Needle (umm!), White Dragon, and Yellow Flower—p. 293), navigate the intricate distinctions between social classes and military rank (sometimes the same thing in historical novels or fantasy set in this era), and entrap her protagonists in “no-win” situations. By the time one finishes Tongues of Serpents, one thinks Novik’s protagonist (“Mr. Lawrence” as ...more
Erin (PT)
Tongues of Serpents isn't a terrible book. It's a lot better than any number of books I've read prior. But it is my least favorite of the Temeraire books and, after having looked forward to it for some time, it was a disappointment.

Elsewhere, I saw someone refer to Tongues of Serpents as a travelogue. There's definitely a lot of truth to that, a lot of time, verbiage and focus on Australia itself, more than any of the characters. And while, if an author is going to use a highly specific setting
Oct 08, 2013 Jeff rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 04, 2011 Erastes rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oh my God, what the hell happened? The series has been pretty good so far, and I've enjoyed every single book for its mix of adventure, humour and pathos--but this? What on earth?

Firstly, it just STARTS. Any poor soul who picked up the book without having read any of the previous books would have no clue at all what was going on who anyone was and what the universe was all about. I don't expect a rehash of everything at the beginning of each book, but perhaps a preface would be good?

Also - the v
Jul 07, 2010 Erika rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am reviewing an early copy provided by for review.

Temeraire and his Captain, William Laurence, find themselves on the prison colony of New South Wales—far removed from Britain and its more anglicized settlements across the world—on charges of treason. Sentenced to transportation away from where they might further encroach on British society by petitioning for dragon rights and independence, the pair are quite without standing in Australia. Despite their vali
Dear Naomi Novik,

First of all, Java is located in Indonesia. Most importantly, there was no Indonesia yet during the Napoleonic Era. Using the name Dutch Indies would be more appropriate.

Secondly, is this just a filler between Victory of Eagles and the next book? It surely feels like it. *sigh*

Thirdly, could you please stop writing about long tedious journeys? Going through the Silk Road in book 3 and Africa road trip in book 4 were exhausting enough.

Fourthly, thank you for bringing fresh new
I enjoyed reading this one, although, compared to the other 5 this one has a bit of an in-betweenish feel to it. The plot is in the details, in bits of conversation, in subtle changes of character and opinion. It feels more like the setting of the stage for the next book, which I hope will have a bit more meat.

One of the things I'd like to see is a fleshing out of some of the secondary characters such as Roland, Tharkay and Rankin. They have spent months or even years travelling together, but I
This is by far the dullest book in the series so far, which may not mean much to those who've only read its quite exciting precursors, but seriously this one hasn't got much going for it. I love exploration as much as the next guy reading a book about dragons in warfare, but you've got to add a bit more to it, Novik!

Well, nothing could put me off of this series, though, so I'm still excited for the next one, assuming the pace picks up a little. I'm also hoping for the martyrdom thing Laurence is
Jul 18, 2010 Lorena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I continue to really enjoy the way Novik is developing her original idea of how the Napoleonic Wars might have been different if there had been an aerial battlefield as well - in the form of dragons, of course. I like the way she has expanded her story and imagined how this added element might have affected colonialism, slavery, trade, economics and alliances on a world-wide scale. She has created a very complete and intelligently-considered world, and I find myself feeling that the expansion of ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Temeraire Rp group? 1 4 May 21, 2013 05:02PM  
Temeraire: Tongues of Serpents 5 10 Oct 18, 2012 01:25AM  
  • Dragon Outcast (Age of Fire #3)
  • The Tropic of Serpents (The Memoirs of Lady Trent #2)
  • The Griffin's War (The Fallen Moon #3)
  • Half a Crown (Small Change, #3)
  • Dragon Soul (Havemercy #3)
  • Valour and Vanity (Glamourist Histories, #4)
  • Wolf Captured (Firekeeper Saga, #4)
  • Traitors' Gate (Crossroads, #3)
  • The Prince of Lies (Night's Masque, #3)
  • The Dragon Book: Magical Tales from the Masters of Modern Fantasy
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)
  • Crucible of Gold (Temeraire, #7)
  • Blood of Tyrants (Temeraire, #8)
  • League of Dragons (Temeraire, #9)

Share This Book

“It seems to me after a fellow has been mutinied against three or four times, there is something to it besides bad luck.” 25 likes
“If you will pardon my saying so," Tharkay said, "you will never satisfy them on that point: the last thing you or Temeraire will ever give anyone is quiet obedience. Have you considered it might be better not to try?” 8 likes
More quotes…