Title: Throne of Jade
Author: Naomi Novik
Publication date: 1998 (more recent editions available)
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Series: Temeraire #2
Description: When Britain intercepted a French ship and its precious cargo – an unhatched dragon’s egg – Capt. Will Laurence of HMS Reliant unexpectedly became master and commander of the noble dragon he named Temeraire. As new recruits in Britain’s Aerial Corps, man and dragon soon proved their mettle in daring combat against Bonaparte’s invading forces.
Now China has discovered that its rare gift, intended for Napoleon, has fallen into British hands – and an angry Chinese delegation vows to reclaim the remarkable beast. But Laurence refuses to cooperate. Facing the gallows for his defiance, Laurence has no choice but to accompany Temeraire back to the Far East – a long voyage fraught with peril, intrigue, and the untold terrors of the deep. Yet once the pair reaches the court of the Chinese emperor, even more shocking discoveries and darker dangers await.
My thoughts: This is the second book in the Temeraire serious, although it had been about ten years, probably, since I read the first so maybe I should have done a reread! There were a few characters who I didn’t remember from the first book, and some nuances of the internal politics in the fictional Britain of the book that I know I wasn't catching. Even so, I really enjoyed the book. It’s a lovely historical setting and I like the measured pace.
Temeraire is still very young, and over the course of the book, both he and Laurence are forced to look at slavery, servitude and duty in different guises, and consider their opinions on different issues. It’s a very interesting look at culture, I think.
I love the feel of this world, and although Throne of Jade felt like a bit of a set up book for things to come, I still really enjoyed it. I’m really excited to get to the rest of this series. I’m giving this book 7/10.