© 2010 Linsen. All rights reserved. Empire+Ivory

Empire of Ivory

I was pleasantly surprised by Naomi Novik’s Empire of Ivory. It is the fourth installment in her Temeraire series (as I discovered some way into the book), which presents an alternate world history, around the time of Napolean, in which there are a plethora of dragons existing in the world and forming part of society and, notably, the military.

This novel sees the characters spend time in the fledgling Cape Colony, as well as a few regions further into Africa. I was impressed with Novik’s research, as she presented Africa of the early nineteenth century quite convincingly. Given my recent interest in South African history, this greatly increased my enjoyment of the novel.

As for her writing, it is decidedly average. Novik’s prose is easily read, but contributes little to the overall experience and leaves it to the plot to carry the reader along. That said, the book is well thought out, and the plot believable enough to enable this.

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