Tongues of Serpents: A Novel of Temeraire
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Convicted of treason despite their heroic defense against Napoleon’s invasion of England, Temeraire and Capt. Will Laurence have been transported to a prison colony in distant Australia—and into a hornet’s nest of fresh complications. The colony is in turmoil after the overthrow of military governor William Bligh—aka Captain Bligh, late of HMS Bounty. And when Bligh tries to enlist them in his bid to regain office, the dragon and his captain are caught in the middle of a political power struggle. Their only chance to escape the fray is accepting a mission to blaze a route through the forbidding Blue Mountains and into the interior of Australia. But the theft of a precious dragon egg turns their expedition into a desperate recovery operation—leading to a shocking discovery and a dangerous new complication in the global war between Britain and Napoleon.
to look at Temeraire, and remarked, “They don’t look so big, from below,” as he stirred his chocolate so many times it must have grown quite cold. Temeraire was quite fond of chocolate, but he could not have that, either; not properly, without enough milk, and the expense so dear; it was not worth only having the tiniest taste, which only made one want more. He sighed. “Quite prodigious,” MacArthur repeated, looking at Temeraire again. “He must take a great deal of feeding.” “We are managing,”
grounds waiting; the second a disappointing and extremely stunted little thing which had unaccountably been produced out of a Parnassian and a Chequered Nettle, both heavy-weights. The last and most promising of the three, large and handsomely mottled and striated, was the offspring of Arkady, the feral leader, and Wringe, the best fighter of his pack. There was no great enthusiasm for this egg in Britain, where the breeders for the most part viewed the newly recruited ferals as demons sent to
here; but now he must make the best of it, for himself and for Laurence. Temeraire dismally recognized that he had solaced himself, by thinking that Iskierka was only a wretched pirate, really, and her excesses for Granby in poor taste, which Laurence would not have liked, anyway. But now here was Rankin, too, also wearing gold buttons, and he was a captain still, as Laurence ought have been. There was no thinking two ways about it: Temeraire had not taken proper care of him; he had quite
please; and I will thank you not to make any more great noise of yourself: it would be just as well if there is not a word to be said of you in the next reports from the colony, good or evil, but that you have been meek as milk. Of that, however, there was certainly no hope, from the moment when Bligh had blotted his lips and thrown down his napkin and said, “I will not mince words, Captain Riley: I hope you see your duty clear under the present circumstances, and you as well, Captain Granby,”
sanguine of their chances of finding still more traces of the smugglers’ route, and did not encourage the fervent searching for scraps which Temeraire and Iskierka would have indulged in, left to their own devices. “If they are not going to some central location lying in this direction we have been given, as limited as it may be,” Tharkay said, “then we have no hope of catching them: a few shards of five years of age and half-buried samples do not make a trail worth following. We may as well