Black Powder War, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (5 ratings)


Naomi Novik's stunning series of novels follow the adventures of Cpt Laurence and his dragon Temeraire as they travel from the shores of Britain to China and Africa. Before Captain Will Laurence can prepare his crew for the slow voyage home from China, new orders arrive for him and his dragon, Temeraire: they must fly home immediately, stopping only in Istanbul to collect three priceless dragon eggs, purchased by the British government from the Ottoman Empire. But the cross-continental journey is fraught with danger; not only will they have to scale mountains and traverse vast hostile deserts, but a Machiavellian herald precedes them, spreading political menace in her wake.

Holding Temeraire responsible for the death of her princely companion, Lien has absconded from China consumed by vengeance.

If she can, she will destroy everything and everyone Temeraire loves.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Fantasy
  • ISBN: 9780007219179

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Showing 1 - 5 of 5 reviews.

Review by

Third in the Temeraire series, Laurence and Temeraire are ordered home via Istanbul, to pick up a precious cargo. They set out on an epic overland journey from China, meeting feral dragons, and not a few unfriendly peoples and governments along the way.A fast-paced, masterfully written continuation of the saga. This one doesn't hold up as its own story quite as well as the other two, but well worth reading to continue the story. Temeraire is a unique voice in fiction -- he is so innocent and guileless, but as he becomes more aware of the reality of the world and his own place in it (and his own abilities/power) the plot, as they say, thickens. This is not "mere" fantasy-fiction (which I have nothing against, incidentally) but a subtle political and social commentary wrapped in an irresistible package of adventure and alternate history at its utmost.

Review by

A very solid follow-up to the first two Temeraire books, with possibly the most gripping climax of the series so far. I like how both author and characters are dealing with the repercussions of the visit to China - both in terms of new philosophies to digest and of plot development. And may I say that I *adore* the British covers for these books? They're among my very favourite covers in my book collection.

Review by

Temeraire and Laurence get instructions to go to Istanbul and pick up three dragon eggs that the British government has bought from the Turks. So instead of returning to England they journey over land through desert and mountain pass to the Sultan's palace in Istanbul? But treachery is under foot, and the journey turns very dangerous indeed.This third book in the series could charm me more than the second one (I loved the first one). The story is not so simple, and Temeraire the democrat, convinced of his task to bring equal rights to British dragon and men, has become a more interesting character again. I'll certainly give number four in this series a try.

Review by

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 military side of it, which I don't enjoy as much, prioritising that over the characters. For the most part, though, I loved it.<br/><br/>I like that Novik doesn't rest on her laurels at any point: having introduced a new theme, she keeps with it, and throughout this book Temeraire continually brings up the idea of dragons having freedom, even though there can be no real resolution to this right away. And new things are always introduced, with Laurence and crew having to transport the dragon eggs. I was very pleased to see Granby rising in the world a little, although I shared Temeraire's qualms about it all of a sudden. I hope we don't end up seeing less of him now that he's risen in the world somewhat.<br/><br/>I also enjoyed the introduction of Tharkay and the feral dragons, and I certainly hope we see more of them. We didn't <i>learn</i> that much about Tharkay, and it'd be a shame to waste such an enigmatic, useful character. I don't know precisely what Novik can do with him from here, but I hope it's something! Arkady and the rest of the feral dragons were fun characters, and I hope they weren't simply dei ex machinis. It doesn't seem like Novik's style, but we'll see.<br/><br/>One thing I did feel the lack of in this book was strong female characters. With Captain Harcourt and Jane Roland, the first book had some strong females, and they were present at the beginning of the second book at least, but in this third book, I don't think there was any real female intervention. Emily Roland isn't mentioned much, if at all! Of course, there's the woman who brings British gold from the treasury to show the British, but she has barely more than a token appearance: strong actions as a woman, especially considering the context, but still not much of it. I hope there are more female characters again in the next book.<br/><br/>Something I enjoy about the story as a whole is the focus on realism. Which is really odd, given that it's speculative fiction, but I enjoy the worries over the harness, the worries over the crew, the fighting conditions, the little things that make it that bit more real. And things like dragons being longer-lived than humans, and the captainship being hereditary. It's also interesting that dragons need crews much like ships. I don't think I've ever read a book where dragons had more than one rider. Another good thought, considering the supposed size of them, which shows this is more than just "yay dragons!" and actually a book that's had a lot of thought put into it.<br/><br/>I also enjoy the alternate history angle, and I get the sense it's been well thought out, although of course, I know very little about Napoleon and the problems of those wars. What I do know comes from War and Peace and/or Jonathan Strange &amp; Mr Norrell! Not something I really have much factual knowledge about, though War and Peace isn't to be sniffed at, with all the references it made to the war part of it and this treaty and that battle... It'd take a better history scholar than me to tell you about the accuracy of the elements that are similar, but it feels right to me -- aside from the dragons, of course.

Review by

I'm a huge fan of the Temeraire series. I absolutely loved the first two books and was really looking forward to starting Black Powder War, but this fell short of my expectations quickly and it never picked up from there.<br/>Truth be told, had this been a novella, it would have been deeply satisfying. The problem with this book is the pacing, and the lack of plot - the former being a direct consequence of the latter. When I finished the book, I wondered what I'd learned, what had happened that hadn't before, and compared the situation at the end of the book (which was such a huge anticlimax I thought for a moment my Kindle copy was missing a whole section) with the one we're left with at the end of the previous novel, Throne of Jade, and found myself wondering if there really was a use for Black Powder War. There isn't. What's done here has been done, and better, in the first two books.<br/><br/>This is really forgettable. Three stars out of loyalty.

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