In Naomi Novik’s Victory of Eagles, the fifth Temeraire book, Napoleon has finally invaded England. While I was thrilled with the wider view of the world that Empire of Ivory provided, and was initially unenthused about a return to a tight focus on the Napoleonic Wars, I was won over pretty quickly.
First, there’s the characterization: this book adds Temeraire’s point-of-view, and it’s a pleasure to see his growth—and, of course, Laurence’s after the end of the last book. Second, there’s the improved pacing: Napoleon lands at the end of the first chapter, and it seems to me that the rest of the book also moves at a brisk clip. This is particularly welcome since much of the book is not exactly cheerful, as would be expected from the subject matter.
My only quibble is that there’s one character that I don’t have a good handle on, whose importance is out of proportion to the amount of page time, and so ends up feeling a little more . . . convenient, I guess . . . than is ideal. Perhaps I should re-read the relevant bits of the series to see if that helps. Other than that small matter, though, I found this quite a satisfying and enjoyable book.