Saturday, July 14, 2012

Crucible of Gold (Fantasy Novel)

Dragons. Ambassadors. Gold. Drunken Sailors. South America. Slavery. Inca. Eggs. Ship Wrecks. Napoleon. Old Friends. Allies. 

Released earlier this year, Crucible of Gold is the seventh book in Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series, which is built on the premise that there had been dragons during the Napoleonic Wars.  In previous novels, Novak has taken us to Europe, Australia, China, and Africa. In Crucible of Gold, she takes us to South America. This is definitely a series where the reader needs to start from the beginning and read the books in order.

Briefly, Hammond gives Lawrence back his commission so that he and Temeraire can go to South America to negotiate with the Tswana, who have become allies with Napoleon. Lawrence and Temeraire are joined with Kulingile and the temperamental Iskierka. The trip to South America brings various disasters. Once there, the group of dragons and humans find an Inca population decimated by disease and coveted by their dragons. South America brings more challenges.

Like the previous books in the series, Crucible of Gold is appealing because of its world building and character development. Both humans and dragons feel like old friends. I enjoy catching up on their lives and seeing them mature and grow. I admire Novik’s ability to create a convincing alternative world. Perhaps because I am not a great history buff, I felt ho hum about the overarching storyline; the ending felt anticlimactic to me. Still, I look forward to the next book in the series.

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