Empire of Ivory

Onward to the fourth installment of the Temeraire series! It’s tough to discuss the plot of this without giving major spoilers, so I’m going to just gloss over the major events and try to address some of the overarching themes without ruining any surprises.

Previously, in Throne of Jade, Temeraire traveled to China by boat, stopping at several ports in Africa to resupply. The story is set during the Napoleonic wars, which means that the British slave trade is still a booming business. In this book, Temeraire and his crew have to return to Africa, in search of something of vital importance to the Royal Dragon Corps.

This book also revives the issue of ‘ownership’ of people and of dragons. Temeraire is incredibly possessive of his crew. As far as he is concerned, they belong to him, but that’s different from them being his slaves – being on his crew is an honor. So far in the series, two former members of his crew have been promoted to Captain and are now serving with other dragons. Temeraire is kind of offended by this, and tends to treat these two as if they had stolen something from him.

Now for the spoileriffic twist that can’t be avoided. Take the whole continent of Africa and add dragons. A lot of dragons. Mix in the dragons’ possessive and covetous nature, and then start subtracting people. If Temeraire was annoyed that people were promoted out of his crew, just imagine how the dragons of Africa feel about their people being kidnapped, chained, and sold into slavery.

Yeah. Things are going to get really, really messy.

Page Count: 416

Total page count: 5277

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