Review of Empire of Ivory, by Naomi Novik

empire_of_ivoryEmpire of Ivory

by Naomi Novik

Read by Simon Vance

Random House Audio, 2007. 11 hours, 7 minutes on 10 compact discs.
Starred Review

Ah, the fourth book about Temeraire, the celestial dragon who fights with his captain William Lawrence in England’s Aerial Corps against Napoleon’s forces!

You definitely need to read these books in order. By this time, I am wholly caught up in the saga. Although Book Three, Black Powder War did not end with a cliffhanger, Empire of Ivory begins in the thick of things as if it did. It turns out that the expedition that ended the previous book was not as simple a solution as we thought it would be, and this book begins in the middle of a struggle to carry it out.

When Will Lawrence does get safely to England, he learns that the dragons of England are sick. However, it turns out that Temeraire may be able to find a cure in Africa. Along the way, we see the repercussions of the slave trade in a world where the natives of the African interior have dragons of their own. There’s all kinds of danger and ingenuity and narrow escapes.

I’ve been listening to these books on my commute to work, thankful that I moved further away! Empire of Ivory does end on a cliffhanger, so I checked out the next book the very same day I finished it, and am now eagerly looking forward to my next day’s commute. I have also gotten hooked on Simon Vance’s reading style, complete with accents, which is just as well. I’m sure I’d stay up all night reading the next book if I was enjoying the print version. Listening slows me down in a thoroughly enjoyable way.

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