Novik, Naomi 1973-
Novik, Naomi 1973-
Writer, novelist, computer programmer, and game designer. Worked on design and development of computer games, including Neverwinter Nights: Shadows of Undrentide.
"TEMERAIRE" SERIES; FANTASY NOVELS
Temeraire: His Majesty's Dragon, Del Rey Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Throne of Jade, Del Rey Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Black Powder War, Del Rey Books (New York, NY), 2007.
Fantasy novelist Naomi Novik is a former programmer and computer game designer. Her "Temeraire" series has been widely praised by critics and readers both for the quality of the writing and for a new and innovative interpretation of one of fantasy's most venerable creatures, the dragon. Novik's "method of weaving this overworked fantasy lizard into a real world context is meticulously thought out and entirely believable," commented T.M. Wagner on SF Reviews.net.
Temeraire: His Majesty's Dragon, the first book in the series, is set in the Napoleonic era of the early nineteenth century. In this world, dragons are a well-known and accepted part of military life. The formidable flying creatures are controlled by the mysterious Aerial Corps, whose members tame, harness, and ride the dragons as powerful air combat forces. As the story opens, British naval captain Will Laurence has boarded a French ship and discovered an unhatched dragon's egg, which he discovers was intended as a gift for Napoleon himself. When the egg hatches, the dragon refuses the ritual harnessing by anyone but Captain Laurence, thus forging the beginnings of a deep and permanent bond between human and dragon. Laurence names the sentient, talking dragon Temeraire, and the story focuses on their growing adventures and deepening friendship as Laurence leaves his beloved naval command to join the Aerial Corps. As the elegant dragon matures and learns about the world, Laurence teaches him responsibility and duty. Laurence laments what his departure from the navy has cost him: his father's respect, his career, and the chance to marry the woman he loved. Yet there is nothing to compare to being friend and equal to a magnificent dragon. The two share combat experiences, political maneuvering, and more serene moments of simple camaraderie such as reading together. "Novik knows that for the story to work, we have to believe the relationship between Laurence and Temeraire wholeheartedly. And we do," Wagner remarked. Library Journal critic Jenne Bergstrom called Novik's debut a "perfect blend of the familiar and the fantastical." Booklist reviewer Frieda Murray offered "bravos for a most promising new author" and her "superbly written, character-driven series." Reviewer Michelle West, writing in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, called the book "a joy of a first novel, a wonderful take on dragons, on those who fly them, and on the relationship that unfolds."
In Throne of Jade, the second book in the series, Laurence discovers that Temeraire is among the rarest and finest of dragons, a Chinese Celestial, and that the Chinese want the dragon back. Temeraire agrees to go only if accompanied by Laurence, and after an eventful sea voyage, they arrive in China, where they face political pressures and other dangers from the Chinese Imperial Court. Further surprises about Temeraire's lineage await them, as they observe firsthand how luxuriously and referentially dragons are treated in China, as opposed to the near-servitude they endure in Europe. As Laurence worries that Temeraire will prefer to take up a pampered life in China, the dragon himself struggles to reconcile his birthright to the military life he has forged with Captain Laurence. In the final book of the series, Black Powder War, Temeraire and Captain Laurence face conflict with the Turks, who have failed to produce three dragon eggs purchased by the English, and with Temeraire's new blood enemy, Lien, the albino celestial dragon he encountered in the previous book. Wagner concluded: "With a multilayered plot that balances adventure, intrigue, war, and rich moments of character-driven drama, Black Powder War brings a great trilogy to an explosive finale … with the promise of more to come. Bravo."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 1, 2006, Frieda Murray, review of Temeraire: His Majesty's Dragon, p. 38; April 1, 2006, review of Throne of Jade, p. 29; April 1, 2006, review of Black Powder War, p. 29.
Bookmarks, November-December, 2006, review of Throne of Jade, p. 58.
Bookseller, December 9, 2005, review of Temeraire, p. 31; December 15, 2005, Alison Bone, "There Be Dragons," review of Temeraire, p. 38.
Kliatt, July, 2006, Ginger Armstrong, review of Temeraire, p. 24.
Library Journal, April 15, 2006, Jenne Bergstrom, review of Temeraire, p. 71.
Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, September, 2006, Michelle West, review of Temeraire, p. 38.
Fantastic Fiction,http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/ (January 2, 2007), bibliography of Naomi Novik.
SF Reviews.net,http://www.sfreviews.net/ (January 2, 2007), T.M. Wagner, review of Temeraire; T.M. Wagner, review of Throne of Jade; T.M. Wagner, review of Black Powder War.
Temeraire Web site,http://www.temeraire.org (January 2, 2007).*