Kathleen's Reviews > Crucible of Gold

Crucible of Gold by Naomi Novik
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May 08, 12

bookshelves: fantasy
Read on May 08, 2012

These books want so badly to be Master and Commander with dragons. I can't fault the author for wanting to follow so successful a formula, but at times she follows it too closely for my tastes. Granted, most people will probably not even realize the parallels, since the M&C series appeals to a much different set of readers.

But they have dragons! you say, and I will grant you that they are original in that they veer off into a much different history of the Napoleonic Wars. But of course they would, with dragons. However, just as Patrick O'Brian resorted to having his protagonists Aubrey and Maturin shipwrecked and starving and wandering over the Andes Mountains with llamas, so goes Novik. Trouble with rebellious crew members, the fussing over escorts for young women, even down to discussing battles over dinner using crusts of bread as ships - so very, very like.

Having got that off my chest, I'll say that this installment in the series at least picked up the pace from book #6. Rather than wandering around Australia for what seems like an age, this plot has much more action and the interesting twist of a surviving, yet declining Inca civilization.

I'll give it three stars, as it was a fun read. But really, if you like these you should give Master and Commander a try.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Rachel Teng To be fair to Novik -- and O'Brian, for that matter -- plenty of nautical fiction series follow that formula, not just the Aubrey-Maturin series. Thomas Kydd by Julian Stockwin, for example, Horatio Hornblower by Forester, or even O'Brian's Unknown Shore itself. Most of those points you listed down seem to me more a staple of nautical fiction and nautical history as a whole than particular O'Brian-isms (although you have me stumped on the llamas, I don't quite recall that in other navy stuff I've read).

You might be correct in what you say, though; I have to admit that this is a very tongue-in-cheek reaction to your comment. I am only about to read Crucible of Gold next week and was scrolling through when I happened upon "Aubrey and Maturin" and "Patrick O'Brian" and had to stop to read.


Jeffery Conklin Naomi Novick is the offspring of Patrick O'Brian and Anne MaCaffrey. At least in spirit. I like your comparison, but the I think the fusion of the two styles and formulas is a better estimate that O'Brian solo.


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