[SPOILER ALERT--Don't read this if you want to remain innocent about events in the previous books in the series, particularly Empire of Ivory]
Victory of Eagles, the fifth book in the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik, finds our heroes in dire straits indeed, with Laurence convicted of treason and Temeraire exiled to a boring existence at the breeding grounds in Wales as they wait for Laurence's death sentence to be carried out. And, as a special bonus, Napoleon has finally managed to invade England and occupy London, scattering the British forces and moving far more quickly than anyone anticipates. Despite their treasonous past, Laurence and Temeraire find themselves deeply involved in the organized resistance, struggling to save a nation that does not believe in their right to freedom.
This book is the first in which Novik has given us narrative blocks from Temeraire's perspective, which is something that I missed (retroactively) in the first four books , since his voice is so distinctive and interesting. In addition, it is a relief to have the perspective of the sometimes comical self-organizing dragon militia, campaigning for equal pay, to offset Laurence's depression as he comes to realize that his actions have caused death and destruction; may result in Napoleon's permanent control of the British Isles; and have completely severed him from his comrades, his family, and the country he loves. All that he has left is Temeraire, and the continuing desire to Do The Right Thing, despite sometimes devastating consequences.
Perhaps it was the bleak subject matter, but I found this installment very sad and draining. It is hard not to miss the camaraderie and unity between dragons and crews of the aerial corps and feel that the uncharted territory (in this case, Australia) of future volumes is a bit daunting.
I did not listen to this on audiobook because the audio version didn't make it through interlibrary loan before I ran out of patience and hunkered down to read it on paper. I miss you, Simon Vance!
Dead Mother: No
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