Temeraire #2. Author: Naomi Novik.
When Britain intercepted a French ship and its precious cargo–an unhatched dragon’s egg–Capt. Will Laurence of HMS Reliant unexpectedly became master and commander of the noble dragon he named Temeraire. As new recruits in Britain’s Aerial Corps, man and dragon soon proved their mettle in daring combat against Bonaparte’s invading forces.
Now China has discovered that its rare gift, intended for Napoleon, has fallen into British hands–and an angry Chinese delegation vows to reclaim the remarkable beast. But Laurence refuses to cooperate. Facing the gallows for his defiance, Laurence has no choice but to accompany Temeraire back to the Far East–a long voyage fraught with peril, intrigue, and the untold terrors of the deep. Yet once the pair reaches the court of the Chinese emperor, even more shocking discoveries and darker dangers await. (Goodreads summary)
It just gets better. We started with British Airforce Dragons; now Novik has moved on to multicultural work. The Chinese dragons aren’t just dragons owned by a different nation, they have a well-developed and very different culture, and it’s fun to see this so well-written.
Sexual content: Spoken mention of two dragons courting. An implication that unmarried man and woman sleep together (with a secondary implication here that they have done so before) – (“She drew him down to such comfort as might be found in her arms” and then they wake up in bed together.) Some mention of assigning dragons to mating-grounds. There is some superstition among sailors who think there’s a ghost onboard, and “opinion was that the ghost was a sign that someone on board had acted immorally with a woman. This qualified nearly every sailor on board…”
Language: 24 d***, 4 hell, 1 bloody, 1 F-word
Violence: Dragons fight tooth and claw, one of them spraying acid. Men fight sword-to-sword, some killed. One ship is completely overturned by a dragon and all men on board presumably drowned. Man flogged for shipboard fighting. One dragon forced to kill another in self defense. Two men lost overboard in a storm. Wild dragon swallows several live men.