This post contains book-destroying SPOILERS for Empire of Ivory. The non-spoiler post is here.
I loved the development of the Tswana society, of course. Elephant herding! Ancestral rebirth! The conquest of Capetown and the Slave Coast raids! A country that lasts until at least 1838, when Sipho Tsuluka Dlamini writes a history!
I can’t believe it took me this long to realize how much dragons do to level the military playing field across the globe. And now I really want to know what happened in North America: there were British colonies, which did revolt (chapter 11, Black Powder War), but Jane (Admiral Roland!) is
forced to recall to their Lordships, with poorly concealed exasperation, the parade of failures which had been occasioned by all the attempts to establish colonies in the face of organized aerial hostilities: by Spain, in the New World; the total destruction of Roanoke; the disasters in Mysore.
And later, Laurence contemplates the consequences of the disease being spread without a cure:
the Chinese aerial legions decimated: without them, the Chinese infantry and cavalry could hardly stand against British artillery. The distant corners of India brought under control, Japan humbled; perhaps a sick beast might be delivered to the Inca, and the fabled cities of gold flung open at last.
Does this mean that the American Indians were treated better by the British colonists, just for instance?
As for the ending, I suppose it is a cliffhanger, but I don’t really expect the point-of-view character to be killed off in book five of seven. And frankly, if he is, that would be such a gutsy move that I’d applaud it, for all that I do like Laurence and think he’s not done yet.
Packing them off to the Americas seems a lot more likely, though. I just hope that some change comes to the military leadership as a result.