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Black Powder War (Temeraire #3)

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  16,860 Ratings  ·  796 Reviews
Picking up where book two left off (in China, Macau) Captain Will Laurence and his extraordinary dragon, Temeraire, are ordered to retrieve and escort a precious cargo of valuable dragon eggs from Istanbul to England. They take the Old Silk Road from China to Istanbul, crossing deserts and mountains. En route to England, they help the beleaguered Prussians battle Napoleon.
Paperback, 365 pages
Published May 30th 2006 by Del Rey
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Eragon by Christopher PaoliniThe Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienEldest by Christopher PaoliniBrisingr by Christopher PaoliniDragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
28th out of 975 books — 1,902 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
10th out of 304 books — 222 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Feb 02, 2008 Kevan rated it liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
This was another foray into the foreign culture and politics of the Napoleonic era, this time exploring first Istanbul and the Turkish people and then moving north to the crushing military defeat suffered by the Prussians at Napoleon's hands.

I'm sorry to say I think the author fell prey to her own fascination with the military history of the time and lost sight of what the reader's personal interests might be. The second part of the book, the Prussian campaign, dragged considerably. The endless

So yeah, my worries about this series going downhill after Throne of Jade were completely unnecessary!

A few mindblowingly awesometacular things Black Powder War brough to this series:

-Tharkay. That is all. Tharkay alone is enough reason to read this series. Without spoiling anything about him, I can pretty much guarantee that you will find Tharkay, in and of himself, mindblowingly awesometacular.

-The trip around the world was way, way better executed in this book. It
Jack "Books & Bikes"
Sadly, the third book in the Temeraire series just wasn't quite in the same league as the two previous entries. Part of this is likely due to over-exposure, since I am reading them in succession with no breaks, and the other part is that this tale feels a lot like a transition piece (the pause, obligatory plate stomp, and then the windup before the pitch). Which is fine, as the journey to China took so very long in book 2, and to have a repeat journey on the way back in the very next book would ...more
After reading the series, I've decided Captain Riley is incompetent, bigoted, and immature, and I question Laurence's people-reading skills in promoting him to captain. (view spoiler)

I'm learning more about the Napoleonic War from this series, despite the fictional dragons. It's a pretty decent alternate history, rom
Feb 01, 2013 Angela rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mogsy (MMOGC)
I'm still enjoying this series, but I think the spark, that initial sense of magic and wonderment I first felt when I read His Majesty's Dragon, has faded.

I believe the ongoing war against Napoleon and the action-filled aerial dragon battles are meant to be the focus and highlight of these books, and that unique premise certainly sets this series apart from much of the other fantasy offerings out there. But if I'm to be completely honest, while reading this third book, I found myself constantly
Scott Sigler
Aug 29, 2015 Scott Sigler rated it it was amazing
This series is a goddamn delight.

It's very rare for me to read more than one book in a series, simply because I have lots of author friends and I want to experience their works. Usually I read book one and move on to the next, simply because of time limitations (I will grow old and someday die with a huge to-be-read pile sitting on the nightstand next to my death bed, because people are rude and keep writing good books). Novik's Temeraire series, however, has taken over my iPhone for running, w
3.5 stars. Book three of the excellent Temeraire series by Naomi Novik. The world Novik has created and the special relationship between Temeraire and Laurence make these books a lot of fun to read. Add to that the fact that Novik can write very well and you have all the makings for a really good series. Recommended!!
Sep 15, 2013 Otherwyrld rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, historical
Book 3 of the series sees Temeraire, Captain Laurence and their crew on an urgent mission - to go from China to Istanbul to pick up three dragon eggs. The author wisely does not spend a huge amount of time on the first part of the journey, though at times I wish a map had been included to chart their journey. I must admit that I also could not understand why the journey was through the deserts of Eastern China, rather than going south and across India. Nevertheless, this part of the journey is e ...more
I never would have guessed that I could be this fond of a series about the Napoleonic Wars. This volume has Temeraire and Laurence and crew traveling back overland from China. The action is just intermittent enough for us to take in the scenery, the privations of each leg, to really relax and catch our breath before BAM! we're right back in the thick. My world history is sorely lacking, so I asked the Spouse to fill me in on some of the background. I love these books, and the burgeoning rights o ...more
Aug 24, 2015 Marijan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vidi se da se autorica potrudila smještajući svoje zmajeve u kontekst povijesnih bitaka. usprkos svemu, i dalje navijam za Napoleona.
May 05, 2009 Stefan rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, library-loan
The first book of this series, His Majesty's Dragon, is an enjoyable alternate history fantasy in which the Napoleonic Wars are changed by the addition of an air force, comprised of domesticated dragons. It's an enjoyable and tightly written book, well researched and written in (what appears to my layman's eye) a historically accurate style. I enjoyed the story of Laurence, a naval captain who accidentally captures a rare dragon's egg and becomes Temeraire's - the dragon's - captain and companio ...more
Oct 03, 2015 Leseparatist rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, 2015
I liked this volume more, in spite of the more developed military sections - Tharkay & Iskierka make for great additions to the cast of characters. I'm much more excited to continue the series (though I still plan to take a break and read a few different books first).
Fantasy Review Barn

Welcome back and let’s get a recap of the game so far. In the all black we have Temeraire and let me tell you this dragon is awesome. Two languages right out of the shell, a roar that destroys anything it’s path, and a captain that will do anything for him.

Facing the mighty Temeraire and his British crew are the French, led by their captain Napoleon. The Frogs have picked up a great free agent signing, strategy master Lien, the only other Celestial active in the Europeon war.
I am seriously becoming progressively more disenchanted with this series the longer I continue reading. The faults seem to magnify and the good points seem to dwindle the more I read.

These books seem more like a historical recounting rather than story. Before, in the other two books, the focus was more on the characters and the world. But now, the main importance seems more about political ideologies and the war between France and the world. Perhaps it is because I don't habitually enjoy histori
Oct 23, 2014 Jim rated it it was ok
It might have been just my mood, but I felt this was pretty boring. I had to force myself through the last half, because I found I really didn't care what happened to the main characters - no suspense. I knew they'd be OK. Those who die are bit parts, rarely thought of before hand & quickly forgotten afterward. The story line was rote. I actually guessed the route they'd take before they got there & I'm not that much of a historian.

It was probably as well written as the previous novels,
Jack Harrison
Aug 31, 2010 Jack Harrison rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dragons, fandom, biracial
After reading three books in this series, I am starting to see it's flaws while still having mostly unchecked adoration. It feels like there's a lot of journeying that sometimes takes up time that could be better spent on plot development, for example, but really the last few scenes more than made up for all of my quibbles. I love Novik's characterization and all the journeying does mean a well-developed sprawling fantasy earth, which hits a lot of buttons for me.
Ben Babcock
I’m enjoying my re-read of the Temeraire series, as I work to get caught up to the most recent volumes. It’s interesting to see how my opinions have changed since my first reading. As with the previous book, Throne of Jade , I have reduced my rating for Black Powder War. Maybe I’ve grown harsher in my old age. Maybe I was just caught up in enthusiasm for dragons the first time I read this book. Whatever the reason, this time around, I’m not ready to give Black Powder War four stars. It is anoth ...more
Mar 26, 2009 Chloe rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
A fine continuation of the series. Temeraire and Lawrence, after spending all of the previous book journeying to China, must now make haste to Turkey to retrieve some dragon eggs that Turkey has recently sold to the British Air Corps. There follows a fantastic trip down the spice roads that two centuries previously had led Marc Polo to Asia, easily the best part of the book. Sandstorms, camel thieves and feral dragons make for some interesting alternative history.

The story staggers for a bit wh
Aug 03, 2011 Tracey rated it liked it
Last read Feb 2008 - listening to audiobook Jul 2011

The third in the series - Temeraire, Laurenec and crew are sent on a mission to retrieve 2 dragon eggs from Istanbul, and must cross the width of Eurasia to do so. Along the way they endure privations, clash cultures with Middle Easterners, meet a band of feral dragons and (once they reach Europe again) become involved in military engagements.

I would have liked to have seen more of how the Arab culture dealt with dragons; tho with Laurence &am
I had to read Black Powder War very fast, as it was due back to the library today and I only finished the previous book in the series yesterday. It wasn't a chore, though. The pacing was better than the second book in any case, and it's very easy to just sink into it and enjoy the world. There was one stretch where it did drag a little, and I took a break, but considering I read it in three stretches of about 100 pages each, that's not saying much. That part was a bit too concerned with the mili ...more
Oct 11, 2007 Alex rated it really liked it
This book is a little more meandering than the other two, but she hasn't dried out her well of interesting ideas. There are several interesting new characters and the plot actually does move forward.

The dragons are again brilliant characters, who bring a unique perspective that differs not just from our own, but also in interesting ways from the point of view of the human characters. These conflicts form the moral center of this novel and are what really elevate it to a four, instead of just a t
Sep 17, 2014 Monica rated it really liked it
There is more action in this novel than in the second installment, and though I did not like Temeraire's journey to China as much as the rest of the series, Black Powder War gets the series back on track. I love Temeraire's growth as a character in this book, and his journey really opens the story up more for the reader. In this novel Nokiv has delivered another exciting and engaging adventure that is simply a lot of fun to read.
Nov 24, 2009 Donna rated it liked it
As Laurence and Temeraire prepare to leave China, they receive urgent orders that lead them to head back west by the faster but more dangerous land route. On their return to Europe, they have a pair of adventures that involve dragon eggs, broken agreements, and surprising allies.

This is the second book in a row that doesn't include much from the side characters introduced in the first novel. There are several new characters, both human and dragon, and one of them quickly became a favorite. But T
Aug 29, 2014 Ingrid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spekulativ
Still having a really good time with this series! This book felt like it had much more dynamic pacing than the last and was a pretty quick read just because I was anxious to know what happened next. Some great new additions to the cast, too. Really fond of Tharkay, really excited about getting to know Arkady and the feral dragons, delighted by Iskierka, really happy to see Lien Tien again - I can't help that a part of me is rooting for her. She's a very compelling villain. All in all it's a fun ...more
Jan 19, 2016 Chappy rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, 2016
it took me a while to finish this book, constantly leaving days between my sessions. im very glad over the last few days i have finished it off from the 60 percent mark.

the third installment of the temeraire series is by far more action packed than the second book and a thrill ride from start to finish. whilst its not everyones cup of tea to read of military tactics, formations and the limitations of being a gentleman in the kings service, i enjoyed every page.
as a fan of the sharpe series, i
Bart Breen
May 18, 2012 Bart Breen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another Solid Novel in a Strong Series

Novik takes the reader to yet another venue in this series set in the midst of the Napoleonic Wars. From England, to China and now from China through the Middle-East and Ottoman Empire the story line begun is expanded to plant more strongly the seeds of the social debate of that era over slavery, an illustration of the diplomatic relationships between England and it's natural allies in Europe who were faced with walking the fine line of contributing to the d
Dennis D.
Aug 02, 2010 Dennis D. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the third book of the 'Temeraire' series, the first of which was published here in the U.S. under the title His Majesty’s Dragon. The series so far is an alternate history of the Napoleonic War era that supposes Great Britain and France each have an "air force" consisting of sentient dragons. While not critical, knowing the both the dragon lore and the primary characters from the first two books in the series was helpful.

Capt. Will Laurence, the dragon Temeraire and what's left of their
Kirsti (Melbourne on my mind)
Plot summary: Temeraire, his captain, William Laurence, and his crew are back on ship, ready to sail back to England from China, when a letter is received ordering them to Istanbul to collect three dragon eggs England has purchased. When the ship catches fire, they decide to travel overland and encounter many dangers. Upon arrival in Istanbul, they are more or less taken prisoner, and refused the eggs. They ultimately escape, and are en route home when they become involved in the Prussian land w ...more
Jul 06, 2013 Justin rated it really liked it
I went back and forth with this book, trying to decide whether I should be annoyed at the plot and structure problems (which are present in previous entries in the series, and aren’t really getting any better), or to take a hint from my sincere enjoyment of what I was reading, which echoes the “holy crap alternate history dragons Napoleon wooo!” enthusiasm I felt reading the first book. I think the latter somewhat edged the former; this isn’t a perfect book, but I liked it a whole lot, especiall ...more
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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)
  • 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)

Share This Book

“It is quite uninteresting; that is why one comes out."
— Temeraire, on being inside an egg
“I will see you bereft of all that you have, of home and happiness and beautiful things. I will see your nation cast down and your allies drawn away. I will see you as alone and friendless and wretched as am I; and then you may live as long as you like, in some dark and lonely corner of the earth, and I shall call myself content.

-Lien, Albino Celestial (Dragon) ”
More quotes…