In this seventh installment of Novik’s thrilling series, Temeraire, Captain Lawrence and his crew who have become close family were last left on the great continent of Australia, disgraced and abandoned by Britain in its plight against Napoleon and the French. But now things have quickly changed with Napoleon allying with the African empire of Tswana. Napoleon has occupied Spain and is also attacking Brazil, sending in Tswana to besiege the royal family in Rio de Janeiro.
Before they know it, Temeraire and the crew find themselves once again fighting for their country, as they are ordered to go to Brazil to negotiate with Tswana, which they have had past experience and interactions with. They set off on a dragon-carrying ship across the Pacific and soon find themselves in trouble with a devastating storm that destroys the ship, and then come face to face with pirates. Eventually they make it to South America, meeting with the Incas, and then make it to Brazil for their mission. It is there they meet some familiar friends, but also an unexpected nemesis.
Crucible of Gold adopts much of the same feel of the previous book, Tongues of Serpents, where too many pages are spent on the characters slowly moving from one destination to another, with little happening. Overall it makes for a slow book that the reader has to work at to finish, but events at the end do deliver and provide some much needed satisfaction.
Originally written on February 6, 2012 ©Alex C. Telander.
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