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In His Majesty's Service

(Temeraire #1-3+2.5)

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  1,656 ratings  ·  85 reviews
Together in one volume, here are the first three novels in Naomi Novik’s New York Times bestselling Temeraire series, combining the gripping history of the Napoleonic era, the thrill of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern books, and the excitement of Patrick O’Brian’s seafaring adventures. In His Majesty’s Service also includes an exclusive original Temeraire s ...more
Hardcover, 832 pages
Published October 27th 2009 by Del Rey (first published October 16th 2009)
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Average rating 4.20  · 
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 ·  1,656 ratings  ·  85 reviews

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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
Jesse Hudson
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic book- a perfect example of the best of historical fiction. It is informative and interesting and gives the impression that the author has thoroughly researched the time period while still providing plenty of surprises
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
First two books are quite strong: Very much in the tradition of the Aubrey-Maturin, Hornblower, and Sharpes series, with Dragons, of course. Smack dab in the middle of the Napoleonic Wars. Hits the points anyone with vague awareness would know (Austerlitz, f'rinstance.) and leaves one hungry for the Portuguese campaign and, ultimately, Waterloo. Excellent handing of the tension between duty freely given and slavery compelled. Characters develop slowly (except for Temeraire himself and Laurence), ...more
H. P.
Aug 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: modern-sf
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
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
Apr 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 13, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Oct 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This omnibus edition includes the first three novels of the Temeraire series: His Majesty's Dragon, Throne of Jade, and Black Powder War. All of these novels are set during the Napoleonic Wars between Britain and France in the early 19th century.

Book 1 His Majesty's Dragon: British Captain Will Laurence boards a captured French warship and discovers a dragon's egg in the hold. The egg is transferred to his own ship but before they reach shore, it hatches. The newborn dragon bonds with Laurence
Captive Audience
Ooh, this is a difficult one. I read and loved the first book. The idea of dragons in the Napoleonic wars - like, that's just *super* cool. The characters were all enjoyable and intriguing enough that I was looking forward to learning more about them in future books. Unfortunately... (spoilers for book 2)

(view spoiler)
Abigail Pankau
Apr 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Capt Will Laurence, a Captain in the British navy during the Napoleonic Wars, unexpectedly finds himself the master of a young dragon he names Temeraire. They join the British Aerial Corps to help in the fight against Napoleon, and find that Temeraire is a rare breed of dragon who is more than what he seems. Originally from China and promised to Napoleon, they end up on adventures as various sides all want to lay claim to him. In the course of three books, we get to see naval battles between the ...more
Jun 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This book took me a really long time to read because I didn’t find it very interesting. I mean, it has dragons in it, which I enjoy, but I didn’t find the setting of the Napoleonic Wars to be all that engaging and I didn’t think any of the characters other than Lien had any depth to them. I did read the preview for book four, which seems to be more about Lien, so I might read that, but I’ll be giving this book away. It’s not one I’ll reread.
Nov 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great alternate universe parallel history story

The plot twists and turns well in the first novel.
The following novels are formula novels that follow a very predictable pattern from the first novel.

I would say that the style and grammar flows throughout the books and keep you engaged.

Character development is good, but I really had little empathy after the 3rd central character died.
Eco Imp
Dec 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the contrast between the two military components (naval vs. air corps). I really enjoyed Book 1 and 2. By Book 3, I was ready to find out the main points and not so much the details. Although the after chapter has me intrigued. There is so much Temeraire does not know about his heritage. I only hope that Napoleon still loses at Waterloo.
Mar 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Geneology and herpetology experts will be thrilled with this series that dives into the breeding of dragons in an alternate universe of the Napoleonic wars. As an excuse to travel the world of dragons humans are dragged from continent to continent with great loss of life in useless politics and wars.
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I loved this soooooo muuuuuuch. I haven’t had this much just straight up Fun starting a series since being in third grade starting Harry Potter. Halfway through book two I was like I CAN’T WAIT TO REREAD THIS.
The world building is so clever and cool, and Laurence learning to unlearn things through Temeraire growing up is so good.
So excited to continue and omg I loved the bonus Lien story.
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When trying to describe the premise of this series aloud to my friends, it sounds super hokey. But this is the exact opposite. Beautifully written, researched, with an accurate tone without being hard to read. The relationship with Laurence and Temeraire is heartwarming. I think all the characters are well developed and I love them all!
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating stories of dragons and soldiers in the Napoleonic war!

These are fast-paced, action-packed, and suspenseful stories with strong likeable characters. Naomi Novik weaves the scenes to keep you interested to see what will happen next. I love Temeraire and Captain Lawrence, and their special bond. If you like fantasy, you will love this series of books. Happy reading!
Sally English
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Full of daring adventure, intrigue and chivalry. The charcuterie are fully drawn and the heroes gallant, intelligent and admirable. Twist and turns in the plot abound. Interesting themes of the meaning of duty, liberty and autonomy give even more interest to the story. This is the best story featuring a dragon that I have read.
Scott Christensen
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
This is the best book on dragonkind I have ever read! The artist way the author Naomi Novik brings the world of dragons and the world of men together is fascinating. The best part I believe is the way she intertwined dragons, culture, and the different social classes into her version of history. I recommend this book to any reader I come across.
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
History & Dragons

A brilliant combination in Noviks novels. I enjoyed the first three books in this series, and I am now addicted. I love historical fiction, add talking dragons and I am hooked!
Skye Stromsodt
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I love that this book or books really are so creative. While I loved reading them, sometimes the way the characters spoke were confusing since the setting was fo far back in time. Is a great way to exercise the brain.
George Clingerman
Such a fun read! I'm not really into history, but throw dragons into the mix and suddenly it seems just a bit more interesting! Now that I'm done with books 1-3 I'm looking forward to snagging book 4! Great series!
Sherri Erickson
meh. read it. might be more exciting to an eight year old who is endlessly enthralled by. details of battles.
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great story!
James M Hart
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good Dragon Series

I really enjoyed the three books I have read. I like stories about dragons. It depicts a different kind of world where dragons are possible.
Elizabeth Bostelman
I'm not sure what I was expecting from this book, well really three books, but I enjoyed it! It was fun to reimagine real historical events with mythical creatures!
Michael Carlstrom
Interesting take on dragons, the historical references makes this world seem more real and allows the suspension or belief concerning the dragon itself to be accepted
Sep 16, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Interesting. Seemed for younger readers, sorta like Sharpe but with Dragons.
Zhi-en Tan
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rating for “In Autumn, A White Dragon Looks Over The Wide River”. Very nice short story to have a peek into how Napoleon thinks and how the way dragons are treated can be changed
Mar 24, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good adventure/ alternate history novel
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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

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)

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