Sunday, June 14, 2009

His Majesty's Dragon - Free for a limited time

One of the neat things about owning a Kindle is that Amazon gives you free books. Of course, they hope to entice you to buy more. I am OK with that - if I like a book enough to pay money for it (rather than borrow it at the library) it makes my day.

I understand that, if you have an iPhone, you can download an free app that allows you to read Amazon Kindle content on your phone. Details here (directs you to

If the price below shows as zero, you can still get this book free.

Anything free is worth what you paid for it. I liked it so much that I also bought the next 4 novels in the series and made them my vacation reading.

The series is set in the Napoleonic wars. Except that, in Ms. Novik's world, dragons inhabit regions all over the world. All regional dragons possess different characteristics; some are acid breathers, some are fast, some are more intelligent than others. And the nations of the world use them to wage war.

A British Navy captain captures a Chinese dragon egg. No one on board knows anything about dragons, except that they have to be tamed at birth, and there is no time to get the egg back to England. Because it is Chinese, it is infinitely precious, because the Chinese breed the best dragons in the world. Due to misadventure, the Navy captain tames the dragon, and thus is thrust into the word of the Dragon corps, a licentious, freewheeling lot, despised by the Navy, that even accepts women into their ranks. Of course, they see the Navy as a bunch of supercilious prigs, and most of them treat him accordingly.

This book contains enough classic fantasy elements to make it a rollicking good read, without so many cliches that you can anticipate the entire ending ten pages in. By the fifth book in the series, Ms. Novik has taken her characters to a different place than I guessed at the end of book one, or even at the end of book two.

It's not deathless prose. But if you like fantasy, and you need a summer read, I would suggest it. If you don't like ebooks, it also comes in paper here.

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