Blood of Tyrants (Temeraire Series #8)

Blood of Tyrants (Temeraire Series #8)

by Naomi Novik

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Naomi Novik’s beloved Temeraire series, a brilliant combination of fantasy and history that reimagines the Napoleonic wars as fought with the aid of intelligent dragons, is a twenty-first-century classic. From the first volume, His Majesty’s Dragon, readers have been entranced by the globe-spanning adventures of the resolute Capt. William Laurence and his brave but impulsive dragon, Temeraire. Now, in Blood of Tyrants, the penultimate volume of the series, Novik is at the very height of her powers as she brings her story to its widest, most colorful canvas yet.

Shipwrecked and cast ashore in Japan with no memory of Temeraire or his own experiences as an English aviator, Laurence finds himself tangled in deadly political intrigues that threaten not only his own life but England’s already precarious position in the Far East. Age-old enmities and suspicions have turned the entire region into a powder keg ready to erupt at the slightest spark—a spark that Laurence and Temeraire may unwittingly provide, leaving Britain faced with new enemies just when they most desperately need allies instead.

For to the west, another, wider conflagration looms. Napoleon has turned on his former ally, the emperor Alexander of Russia, and is even now leading the largest army the world has ever seen to add that country to his list of conquests. It is there, outside the gates of Moscow, that a reunited Laurence and Temeraire—along with some unexpected allies and old friends—will face their ultimate challenge . . . and learn whether or not there are stronger ties than memory.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Naomi Novik's Uprooted.

Praise for Blood of Tyrants
“A first-class entry in a remarkable and appealing series.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Novik’s plots and characterizations get more intricate and plausible with each novel. . . . Novik’s re-creation of much of world history based on the existence of intelligent dragons has been so well crafted that all eight books in the series are highly recommended.”Booklist (starred review)
“Novik combines dragons . . . with period history to achieve a brilliantly realized re-creation of military history laced with the fantastic. . . . Well-crafted.”Library Journal

“If you’ve never read these novels, now is the time to start.”—io9
“A fun, action-packed read.”—San Antonio Express-News

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345522917
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/13/2013
Series: Temeraire Series , #8
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 35,618
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Naomi Novik is the acclaimed author of His Majesty’s Dragon, Throne of Jade, Black Powder War, Empire of Ivory, Victory of Eagles, Tongues of Serpents, Crucible of Gold, and Blood of Tyrants, the first eight volumes of the Temeraire series. She has been nominated for the Hugo Award and has won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, as well as the Locus Award for Best New Writer and the Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel. She is also the author of the graphic novel Will Supervillains Be on the Final?
Fascinated with both history and legends, Novik is a first-generation American raised on Polish fairy tales and stories of Baba Yaga. Her own adventures include pillaging degrees in English literature and computer science from various ivory towers, designing computer games, and helping to build the Archive of Our Own for fanfiction and other fanworks. Novik is a co-founder of the Organization for Transformative Works.
She lives in New York City with her husband, Charles Ardai, the founder of Hard Case Crime, and their daughter, Evidence, surrounded by an excessive number of purring computers.

Read an Excerpt

Part I

Chapter 1

Water lapping salt at his cheek roused him, a fresh cold trickle finding its way into the hollow of sand where his face rested. It spurred him: with an effort he pushed to hands and knees and then up, to stagger indecorously along the shore and fall again at the foot of several gnarled old pines clinging to the edge of the beach.

His mouth was dry and cracked, his tongue swollen. His hands were clotted with sand. The wind bit sharply through the sodden wool of his coat, stained black with water, and he was barefoot. Slowly, he unfastened the remnants of a leather harness from around his waist: buckles and clasps of good steel, still bright, but heavily waterlogged; he let it fall to the sand. The sword-belt he kept. The blade when he drew it was bright Damascus steel, the hilt wrapped in black ray-skin, the collar the golden head of a dragon. He stared down at it, without recognition.

He rested it across his knees and leaned back against the tree, half-drifting. The empty ocean stood before him: water cold dark blue, the sky a thin grey; dark clouds receded into the east. He might have emerged onto the sand new-born. He felt as empty as the shore: of strength, of history, of name.

Thirst at last drove him onwards, when little else would have served to rouse him. The stand of trees gave onto a road, well-maintained and showing the signs of heavy use, recent tracks and disturbed dust. He walked slowly and mechanically until he found a narrow stream that crossed the road, traveling towards the sea, and he stopped and cupped water into his mouth urgently until the taste of salt had gone.

He held himself braced on hands and knees, water dripping from his face into the stream. The bank had a little new grass, though the ground was still cold. There was a smell in the air of pine-needles, and the stream ran over the rocks in a steady gurgle, mingling with the more distant sound of the ocean, the scent of salt on the wind. He felt inwardly the sense of something urgent and forgotten like a weight on his back. But his trembling arms slowly gave way. He lay down on the grass of the riverbank where he had knelt to drink and fell again into a heavy torpor; his head ached dully.

The sun climbed, warmed his coat. Travelers went past on the nearby road. He was distantly aware of the jingle of harness and slap of walking feet, the occasional creak of cart wheels, but none of them stopped to bother him or even halted by the stream. A small party of men went by singing off-key, loudly and cheerfully, not in any tongue he knew. At last a larger company came, accompanied by the familiar creaking of an old-fashioned sedan-chair. Some confused corner of his mind offered the image of an older woman, borne by porters through London streets, but even as it came he knew it wrong.

The creaking stopped abruptly; a voice spoke from the chair: a clear tenor with the directness of authority. Prudence would have driven him to his feet, but he had no reserves of strength. In a moment, someone came to inspect him—a servant of some kind? He had some vague impression of a youth bending down over him, but not so low that the face came clear.

The servant paused, and then withdrew quickly to his master and spoke urgently in a clear young voice. There was another pause, and then the master spoke again in yet another tongue, one which he could not put a name to and nevertheless somehow understood: a rising and falling speech, musical. “I will not evade the will of Heaven. Tell me.”

“He is Dutch,” the servant answered in that same language, reluctance clear in every word.

He might have raised his head to speak—he was not Dutch, and knew that, if very little else; but he was cold, and his limbs heavier with every moment.

“Master, let us go on—”

“Enough,” the tenor voice said, quiet but final.

He heard orders given in the unfamiliar language while darkness stole over his vision; there were hands on him, their warmth welcome. He was lifted from the ground and slung into a sheet or a net for carrying; he could not even open his eyes to see. The company moved on; suspended in mid-air, swinging steadily back and forth as they went on, he felt almost as though he were in a hammock, aboard ship, swaying with the water. The movement lulled him; his pain dulled; he knew nothing more.

“William Laurence,” he said, and woke with his own name, at least, restored to him: out of a tangled dream full of burning sails and a strange weight of despair, a sinking ship. It faded as he struggled up to sit. He had been lain on a thin pad laid upon a floor of woven straw matting, in a room like none he had ever seen before: one solid wooden wall, the rest of translucent white paper set in frames of wood, and no sign of doors or windows. He had been bathed and dressed in a robe of light cotton; his own clothes were gone, and his sword. He missed the latter more.

He felt adrift, robbed of place and time. The chamber might have been a solitary hut or a room in the center of a great house; it might be set upon a mountaintop or the seashore; he might have slept an hour, a day, a week. A shadow abruptly loomed on the other side of the wall furthest from his bed, and the wall slid open along a track to furnish Laurence a glimpse of a corridor and another room across standing half-open, indistinguishable from his own, save for a window which looked out on a slim cherry-tree with bare dark branches.

A young man, not very tall but gangly with recent growth, perhaps sixteen, came through the opening and folded himself into the low-roofed chamber while Laurence stared at him blankly: he was Oriental. A long face with a sharp chin, clean-shaven and softened with the last remnants of puppy-fat; his dark hair was drawn back into a tail, and he wore an intricately arranged set of robes, creases as sharp as knife-edges.

He sat down on his heels and contemplated Laurence in turn, with an expression bleak enough to be aimed at a plague-carrier. After a moment he spoke, and Laurence thought he recognized the voice—the youth who had wished him left by the road.

“I have not the least notion what you are saying,” Laurence said, his voice sounding hoarse in his own ears. He cleared his throat: even that much struck his head with fresh pain. “Can you speak English? Or French? Where am I?” He tried those tongues both, and then hesitating repeated the last over in the other language which the men had spoken on the road.

“You are in Chikuzen Province,” the young man said, answering him in kind, “and far from Nagasaki, as you must well know.”

There was a sharp bitterness to his voice, but Laurence seized on the one familiar name. “Nagasaki?” he said, half in relief, but the momentary gratification faded: he was no less bewildered to know himself in Japan, the other side of the world from where he ought have been.

The young man—too old for a page, and he wore a sword; an equerry of some sort, or a squire, Laurence could only guess—made no answer, only with a curt gesture motioned him off the mat.

Laurence shifted himself onto the floor, with some awkwardness and pain: the ceiling was too low to have permitted him to stand unless he had hunched over like a toad, and he ached in every part. Two servants came in at the young man’s call; they tidied the mat away into a cabinet and offered Laurence fresh garments, baffling in their layers. He felt a clumsy child under their valeting, thrust one way and then another as he put his limbs continuously in the wrong places; then they brought him a tray of food: rice and dried fish and pungent broth, with an array of startling pickles. It was by no means the breakfast he would have chosen, his stomach unsettled, but they had no sooner put it before him than animal hunger became his master. He paused only after having devoured nearly half the meal, and stared at the eating-sticks, which he had picked up and used without thinking of it.

He forced himself to go on more slowly than he wished, still queasy and conscious of being under observation, the young man regarding him coldly and steadily the whole of his meal. “Thank you,” Laurence said at last, when he had finished, and the dishes were silently and deftly removed. “I would be grateful if you should give your master my thanks for his hospitality, and tell him I would be glad of an opportunity to repay it.”

The youth only compressed his lips together. “This way,” he said shortly. Laurence supposed he could have not looked anything but a vagabond, when they had found him.

The corridors of the house were not so stooped as the chambers. Laurence followed him to a back-chamber with a low writing-desk of some sort set upon the floor: another man sat behind it, working smoothly with brush and ink. His forehead and pate were clean-shaven, with a queue of his back hair clubbed tight and bound down doubled, over the bare skin; his garments were more ornate than the young man’s, although of the same style. The young man bowed to him from the waist, and spoke briefly in the Japanese tongue, gesturing towards him.

“Junichiro tells me you are recovered, Dutchman,” the man said, laying aside his brush. He looked across the desk at Laurence, wearing an expression of formal reserve, but with none of the dismay the young man—Junichiro?—had aimed at him.

“Sir,” Laurence said, “I must correct you: I am an Englishman, Captain William Laurence of—” He halted. Hanging from the wall behind the man’s head was a large and polished bronze mirror. The face which looked back at him from it was not merely haggard from his recent ordeal but unfamiliar: his hair grown long; a thin white scar running down his cheek, long-healed, which he did not remember; and lines and wear accumulated. He might have aged years since he had seen himself last.

“Perhaps you would be so kind as to explain to me the circumstances of your arrival in this part of the country,” the man said, prompting gently.

Laurence managed to say, reeling, “I am Captain William Laurence, of His Majesty’s Ship Reliant, of the Royal Navy. And I have not the least notion how I have come to be here, except if my ship has suffered some accident, which God forbid.”

Laurence did not much know what else he said afterwards. He supposed they saw his confusion and distress, for the questions stopped, and a servant was called to bring in a tray: a flask and small porcelain cups. His host filled one and gave it to him; Laurence took it and drank blindly, glad for the intensity: strong as brandy though light on the tongue. His cup was refilled promptly, and he drank again; the cup was small enough to be a single swallow. But he put it down afterwards. “I beg your pardon,” he said, feeling acutely that he had lost control of himself, and all the more awkward in the face of their carefully polite failure to notice it. “I beg your pardon,” he said, more strongly. “Sir, to answer your question, I cannot tell you how I came to be here: I must have been swept overboard, is the only possible answer. As for purpose, I have none; I have neither business nor friends in this part of the world.”

He hesitated, yet there was no help for it; he could not help but recognize himself utterly a beggar. Pride should have to be sacrificed. “I am sorry to be so bold as to make any further claims on your generosity,” he said, “when you have already been more than kind, but I would be glad—I would be very glad indeed for your assistance in making my way to Nagasaki, where I may be reunited with my ship, or find another to return me to England.”

But his host was silent. Finally he said, “You are yet too ill for the rigors of a long journey, I think. For now, permit me to invite you to enjoy the hospitality of my house. If there is anything you require for your comfort, Junichiro will see it is done.”

All that was courteous, all that was kind, and yet it was a dismissal. Junichiro silently moved to hover behind Laurence at his elbow, plainly waiting for him to leave. Laurence hesitated, but he could not much argue: there was a low hollow thumping in his head, like the sound of bare heels coming down on a deck overhead, and the liquor already had thrown a further haze over his sight.

He followed Junichiro out and down the hall, back to the small chamber where he had awoken. Junichiro drew open the door and stood waiting; his face remained hard and unfriendly, and he fixed his eyes past Laurence like a grande dame giving the cut direct, though he said with cold hauteur, once Laurence had ducked inside, “Send for me if you should require anything.”

Laurence looked about the chamber: the empty floor covered with straw mats, the bare and featureless walls, the silence of it; both the siren’s promise of immediate rest, and confinement. “My liberty,” he said, grimly, half under his breath.

“Be grateful for your life,” Junichiro said with sudden venom, “which you have only by my master’s benevolence. Perhaps he will think better of it.”

He all but hurled the door shut, the frame rattling on its track, and Laurence could only stare after his shadow disappearing on the other side of the translucent wall.

The green, glassy wave broke against the shoals but flung itself rushing on even as it crumpled. The cold foam washed ferociously up Temeraire’s hindquarters and left a fresh line of seaweed and splinters clinging to his hide as it finally fell back, exhausted. A low groaning came from the Potentate’s hull where she strained against the rocks, pinned and struggling; all around them the ocean stood wide and empty and grey, and the distant curve of land was only a smudge in the distance.

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Blood of Tyrants 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
DiiMI More than 1 year ago
Completely and utterly worth the wait! Blood of Tyrants had me from the cover! Temeraire is my all-time favorite fantasy dragon with his opinionated and often naïve comments, he’s hard not to like!! Has anyone else noticed how much that dragon can talk and then noticed that his greatest battle weapon/gift is his Divine Wind? Yes, I’m a Temeraire addict, but that makes me extremely critical about each book, because I expect author Naomi Novik to top herself, each and every time, and so far, she has! From the idea of an alternate history filled with flying dragons used in warfare to the bond between Temeraire and Captain Laurence, I am fascinated with this series and obviously could go on and on! Blood of Tyrants picks up after a terrible storm at sea has cast William into the sea, where he washes ashore in Japan, with no memory of the past eight years spent with Temeraire. Laurence’s time spent in Japan is not completely pleasant and his attempts at escape are thwarted by circumstance. Somewhere in his mind, vague bits and pieces begin to resurface, but still he does not remember Temeraire. Their reunion is bittersweet. I could feel the adventure grow as we are transported to China and then on to Russia, and a face to face meeting with Napoleon, himself. All along the way, Captain Laurence’s memory is slowing coming back. Will things ever be the same between the captain and a guilt-ridden Temeraire? Will Temeraire ever forgive himself for not being able to protect Laurance? As usual, Naomi Novik successfully transported me through time into a world consumed by war and filled with unlikely heroes and dastardly villains. Her ability to use the dialogue of the times and MY ability to feel like it was normal, tells you what a magnet this series is! I was there, I wanted to help with the dragon surgeries, and yes, I wish I could see Temeraire’s and Iskierka’s egg hatch. With all of the action, the intrigue and the characters involved, not once did I feel the story was overwhelming, it felt like “coming home.” This ARC copy of Blood of Tyrants was given to me by Random House Publishing Group - Del Rey Spectra in exchange for my honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this series !
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best series I've read in a very long time! Goin crazy waiting for the next book.
LoveReadingSG More than 1 year ago
I read the first 7 books and really enjoyed the twist on history, the relationship between Laurence & Temeraire and the new world created by the author. I looked forward to book 8 and was very dis-appointed, for me it moved slowly was disjointed in the action and then it just ended. I did not feel that this series was finished nor did the ending make me feel there was another book coming. Very Disappointed.
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banersva More than 1 year ago
Termeriare and the Captain have completed circling the globe. They've visited all of the continents except for North America! I expect they will have to make it there before Naomi Novi wraps up the series in book 10.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kanne More than 1 year ago
I love this series. I do, from the first. It is will be quite a disappointment to see it end. This book, delivers on every score. It makes you feel for the enemy, for the dragons, all of the characters. But it is also very artfully written, right in line with Jane Austen's prose, with a slight smack of Suzanne Collins/Shephan King for the sheer surprise of the plot !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The_Lab_Rat More than 1 year ago
His Majesty's Dragon was a B&N recommendation I bought out of curiosity. It started an addiction. Blood of Tyrants is full of action, well-thought-out characters with interesting character-growth. I can't wait for the next installment in the Temeraire series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this series, but the last two books have been hard on Temeraire and Laurence especially. I was pleased when things started to look up, even if its only a small consolations, for them. I am looking forward to the conclusion, and hoping the story never ends. Reading this inspired me to go back to the beginging and read the whole series over again, if only to remember where all the cast of characters came from.
Rhyasha0724 More than 1 year ago
While I love this series and the characters in it, this one was not my favorite. It was kind of dark and sad compared to the others and the action seemed to drag at some points.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this series, and the latest book is another great one. The only thing I disliked is that I finished it immediately and now I have to wait for the next one! The dragons are written with so much character that you never know what they're going to do next, especially Temeraire. It's also been quite a journey for Laurence, and to see his character and beliefs slowly change over time has been very true to human nature. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in alternate history storylines or dragons in general.
hereticrick More than 1 year ago
Wow, what a great addition to the series! Split up into three "parts" that could each have been their own book, so you definitely get an epic feel going. Definitely shouldn't be read out of order with the rest of the series. One more book to go! Spoiler below: My one complaint is a minor one. I'm not sure how I feel about Lawrence losing his memory for the first half or so of the book. It's handled pretty well so that it's not completely irritating or anything, but it does feel a bit like a useless rehash for the character at times. We already saw him go through the transformation from Navy Captain to Dragon Captain to "traitor" why do we have to watch him go through it again? It still somehow works, so I'm not complaining THAT much...
Azureleone More than 1 year ago
I bought this as a Nook book, so I was reading it digitally. If you aren't watching the page count- which I wasn't- the end sneaks up on you... I literally cried out in dismay when I discovered I was all out of pages to read. Can't wait for the next one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
reececo331 More than 1 year ago
My uncle got me into this writer, i have purchased all the previous books. part 1  Goes through the trying and difficult conclusion to the adventure fatal voyage. Separated again Temeraire and Laurance have many burdens and cultural impediments that seem insurmountable. stands up to the dynamic legacy of the series. part 2 Laurance has the dynamic novel implement of memory loss before the completion of his obligatory diplomatic visit to his adoptive father, the emperor of China. He finds that his body i used to and practiced where his mind finds it completely unrecognizable to the situation. He finds that there is something amiss in the interactions between the Chinese government and the British convey when he protects the crown prince from an attempted assassination, and find that there is roomers of war and political strife with the British traders.  Part 3 Laurance and Temeraire are faced with the Napoleon invasion of Russia, news came by messenger who had been captured in the ill fated plot against the negotiations with the British. They rushed an impressive fleet of dragons and men to the Russian retreating front lines, only to not be believed that they brought reinforcements. Finding the Russian dragons were more feral and treasure hungry then any dragons so far in the series. Can they repel Napoleons weapons and dragons, cement relations with the Russians, and quail the dictators ambitions?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an other great story, but was not as good as the last 7 books. This book was missing companionship and the closeness of the poeple in the story.
Sailon More than 1 year ago
Captain William Laurence has fallen into the sea during a tremendous storm, leaving him stranded in Japan with no memory of the past 7 years or his life with Temeraire. The political situation in Japan is about to explode with William sits in the center.  Vague memories arise but when Temeraire and William are reunited he still can’t remember their friendship and years together. The story continues as they trek to China and then to Russia. Glimpses of memories resurface but Termeraire is remorseful about his inability to protect Laurence. This is a completely compelling story that rivets you to the pages. Novik’s work may come out slower than I like but it’s definitely worth the wait. I am amazed every time by Naomi Novik’s ability to write a historical fantasy that makes me feel like I’m actively participating in the story. The perfect combination of funny, character interaction, suspense and drama...if your a fantasy lover you have to read Blood of Tyrants. OMG, did check out this cover!!! This ARC copy of Blood of Tyrants was given to me by Random House Publishing Group - Del Rey Spectra in exchange for a honest review. This book is set for publication August 13, 2013. Written by: Naomi Novik Series: Temeraire Sequence in Series: 8 Hardcover: 448 pages Publisher: Del Rey  Publication Date: August 13, 2013 ISBN-10: 0345522893 ISBN-13: 978-0345522894 Rating: 5 Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction,  Age Recommendation: Young Adult +
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although I deeply dislike it when Temeraire is made unhappy by Lawrence, the book overall is very good, although not quite as excellent as its immediate predecessor. Nonetheless, well worth reafing if you are a fan of intelligent, likeable dragons.