WarningMight contain spoilers.

An enjoyable book, though my attention flagged in the section with the Prussian army. It’s believable, but there’s only so much military logistics and European geography I can be expected to follow before my eyes glaze over (quite apart from the general drudgery and weariness that necessarily accompany the war). In fact, the last third is so different, it made me briefly forget the story begins with the departure from China and progresses through Turkey. Then again, the desert journey isn’t particularly enjoyable either. (My opinion is undoubtedly coloured by having recently read The Memoirs of Lady Trent, where even survival in the extreme environments is rarely uninteresting.)

Granby’s dragon, Iskierka, is a real character already, and the book paints a heartwarming picture of his instant, unquestioned love for her. I look forward to seeing more. Temeraire’s sheepish looks when the aviators realize he’s already influenced her opinions are amusing, as is his belligerent possessiveness of Granby.

Tharkay is an interesting character—I’m relieved that Laurence finally speaks plainly to him and they see eye to eye. Arkady and the ferals are an enjoyable addition to the story, especially their cavalier attitude towards thieving. Hasan Mustafa Pasha is an interesting character too; there is something that rings true about him. Laurence and the crew’s frustration at having to deal with the Turks is palpable and entirely comprehensible. Gong Su certainly pulls his weight.

I realize it’s true to life, but the attitude of the army towards horses (Save the men; horses and guns can be replaced) is of a piece with their treatment of the dragons, and I will never be able to accept it. I’m very glad Laurence, at least, has come around to Temeraire’s way of thinking about dragons and men.

The death of Digby and the dragonet is awful.

Next in series: (#4 in Thoughts & Spoilers: Books: Temeraire (2006))