First paperback edition cover
|Cover artist||Dominic Harman|
|Genre||Alternate history / Fantasy|
|Publisher|| Del Rey (US) |
|April 25, 2006 (US) |
August 2007 (UK)
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
|Preceded by||His Majesty's Dragon|
|Followed by||Black Powder War|
Throne of Jade is the second novel in the Temeraire alternate history/fantasy series written by American author Naomi Novik. It was published by Del Rey first in the United States on April 25, 2006 and was published in the United Kingdom in August 2007 by Voyager.
The story is set during an alternate history version of the Napoleonic Wars, in which dragons not only exist but are used as a staple of aerial warfare in Asia and Europe. The dragons are portrayed as sapient and intelligent, capable of logical thought and human speech. The series centers on events involving Temeraire (the titular dragon) and his handler, William Laurence. The first book of the series centered on how Laurence, formerly a Captain in the Royal Navy, becomes Temeraire's handler, and their early training in preparation for battles against Napoleon's aerial fleet.
After defeating Napoleon's forces at the battle of Dover, Laurence and Temeraire are confronted by envoys from Imperial China, including Prince Yongxing, brother of the Jiaqing Emperor. The Chinese are eager to recover their rare Celestial dragon from the British. According to Chinese law, Celestials are only allowed to accompany royalty; Temeraire was intended for Napoleon, Emperor of the French, while Laurence, a mere commoner, is deemed unworthy. This raises consternation within Government, as a Napoleon allied with China -- the most powerful nation in the world, isolationist and able to keep other countries at bay through their superior draconic husbandry -- would be impossible to oppose.
After several failed attempts to convince Laurence and the Royal Aerial Corps to return Temeraire to China, the Chinese and the British agree to have Temeraire and his flight crew — including Laurence — accompany the Imperial envoys back to China. As the land routes are deemed unsafe, the Navy has a dragon transport, HMS Allegiance, captained by Laurence's former second officer Tom Riley, ferry the Celestial and his crew to China. During the voyage, attempts are made on the life of Laurence in order to remove him from Temeraire. In addition, political machinations on the part of the British, French, and Chinese are discovered that threaten the position of Britain in the East, as well as the stability of the Chinese throne. News of the defeat of the Third Coalition at the Battle of Austerlitz and subsequent death of Prime Minister William Pitt casts a pall over the voyage. Finally, Laurence has ongoing difficulties with both Captain Riley, a staunch supporter of the slave trade (Laurence himself descends from known abolitionists), and the diplomat Arthur Hammond, sent along to smooth the operation.
During the sea voyage, Temeraire catches a respiratory illness from Volatilus, a slow-minded though sweet-natured Greyling serving in the courier corps who visits the Allegiance with dispatches. They stop at Cape Town, lately captured in the Battle of Blaauwberg, to look for a remedy. By use of a posset made using an extremely smelly mushroom, the cooks of the Chinese delegation are able to restore Temeraire to health. This event, though seemingly unimportant at the moment, shapes the next two novels of the series.
After their arrival in China, Temeraire gets to meet his family, including his mother, and observes the conditions of dragonkind in China, which he deems far superior to British custom: Chinese dragons are citizens in their own right who, amongst other things, may take the Imperial Examination. He begins courting an Imperial dragon named Mei, and is exposed to a young boy of Yongxing's company, who attempts to befriend him. Laurence, for his part, attempts to learn Chinese, liaises with the French ambassador de Guignes, and suffers more direct attempts on his life, including confrontations with Yongxing and his companion, the albino Celestial Lien. Hammond is able to deduce that Yongxing has designs on Prince Mianning, the heir-apparent whose dragon is Temeraire's twin brother, and that Temeraire was sent to France not because the Chinese esteem Napoleon -- indeed, the British are relieved to learn that the Chinese have no particular esteem for Napoleon at all, laying their greatest fear to rest -- but so that Temeraire himself could not be used to complicate the line of succession. Indeed, Yongxing has had him returned to China so that Temeraire may lend legitimacy to a puppet king Yongxing intends to set upon the throne.
At a theatre production in the British delegation's honor, Yongxing attempts to put his plans in motion, but is prevented by the actions of Temeraire and Laurence, and is himself killed in the ensuing scuffle. As a result, the Emperor of China himself adopts Laurence as an honorary son, at a stroke resolving the issues with Laurence's social status and easing relations with Britain. Temeraire, after much deliberation, decides to return to Britain, partially out of love for Laurence and partially to attempt to bring the greater civil liberties of the Middle Kingdom back to the Commonwealth.
Novik includes an allusion to the legend of Hua Mulan, or at least the Disney version:
[Laurence's] dismay was evident, and Zhao Wei, perhaps feeling a need to defend his nation's unusual practice, proceeded to narrate the legend which was its foundation. The details were of course romanticized: a girl had supposedly disguised herself as a man to fight in her father's stead, had become the companion to a military dragon and saved the empire by winning a great battle; as a consequence, the Emperor of the time had pronounced girls acceptable for service with dragons.
The historical Chinese policy of isolationism is a major plot point. The smuggling of opium and other European activities in China influence Chinese attitudes, but the presence of dragons results in a greater capacity to fend off European powers and maintain control over the borders.
In the alternate setting, dragons are an important part of Chinese society. Unlike the European nations, which consider dragons to be barely controlled monsters, the Chinese folklore on dragons views them as symbols of power, wisdom, and good luck. Dragons are considered equal citizens and it is even mentioned in the text that dragons have sometimes held the throne. The book reveals that the status of Celestial dragons in China resulted in the events of the first book; rather than simply invoking dragons as symbols, emperors in the Temeraire setting have actual dragons (specifically the Celestial breed) as bond companions. In order to prevent a crisis of succession from two Celestials, the court decided to send Temeraire's egg to Napoleon because he held the title Emperor, perhaps unaware that it was self-styled.
The Daoguang Emperor is portrayed before his accession to the throne. Although he is considered by some historians to have been an ineffectual ruler,the British characters respect him, albeit due to their own interests. He does not favor an isolationist policy. Laurence and Temeraire's actions result in a strong diplomatic link between China and England that did not exist in history.
Prince Cheng, referred to by his name Yongxing, is the book's primary antagonist. He is a strong supporter of isolationism and attempts to usurp Mianning by placing Mianning's younger brother Miankai on the throne. He makes several attempts to kill Laurence, culminating in a mercenary attack on a guest house where the British characters are quartered; when the plot is revealed, Temeraire kills Yongxing in revenge. The book takes place in 1806; historically, Yongxing served in Mianning's military council and died in 1823. His character in the book is cold and aloof to the British, only occasionally letting slip emotion or opinions; however, he is shown to have genuine affection for the dragon Lien and made her his companion in spite of her albinism causing her to be viewed as cursed and unlucky.
De Guignes, as a Frenchman, is naturally an antagonist for Laurence and Temeraire. Although he does not secure an alliance with China, he gains Napoleon a significant asset by persuading Lien, a dragon, to join the French and revenge herself on Laurence and Temeraire. This action results in significant alterations to the historical timeline in future books, as Lien is shown to be an intellectual equal to Napoleon.
Throne of Jade was released to positive reviews; SF Reviews described it as having "sumptuous locales, thrilling action, and thematic and emotional heft,"while Bookmarks Magazine called it "a solid second entry in what is shaping up to be an intriguing series." Strange Horizons stated in their review that readers of the series "will find plenty to enthrall and captivate them."
Isolationism is a category of foreign policies institutionalized by leaders who assert that nations' best interests are best served by keeping the affairs of other countries at a distance. One possible motivation for limiting international involvement is to avoid being drawn into dangerous and otherwise undesirable conflicts. There may also be a perceived benefit from avoiding international trade agreements or other mutual assistance pacts.
Chinese dragon, also known as Long or Lung, are legendary creatures in Chinese mythology, Chinese folklore, and Chinese culture at large. Chinese dragons have many animal-like forms such as turtles and fish, but are most commonly depicted as snake-like with four legs. They traditionally symbolize potent and auspicious powers, particularly control over water, rainfall, typhoons, and floods. The dragon is also a symbol of power, strength, and good luck for people who are worthy of it in East Asian culture. During the days of Imperial China, the Emperor of China usually used the dragon as a symbol of his imperial strength and power.
The Daoguang Emperor was the eighth Emperor of the Qing dynasty, and the sixth Qing emperor to rule over China properly, reigning from 1820 to 1850. His reign was marked by "external disaster and internal rebellion," that is, by the First Opium War, and the beginning of the Taiping Rebellion which nearly brought down the dynasty. The historian Jonathan Spence characterizes the Daoguang Emperor as a "well meaning but ineffective man" who promoted officials who "presented a purist view even if they had nothing to say about the domestic and foreign problems surrounding the dynasty."
The Jiaqing Emperor, personal name Yongyan, was the seventh emperor of the Manchu-led Qing dynasty, and the fifth Qing emperor to rule over China proper, from 1796 to 1820. He was the 15th son of the Qianlong Emperor. During his reign, he prosecuted Heshen, the corrupt favorite of his father, and attempted to restore order within the Qing Empire while curbing the smuggling of opium into China.
The Jade Emperor in Chinese culture, traditional religions and myth is one of the representations of the first god. In Daoist theology he is the assistant of Yuanshi Tianzun, who is one of the Three Pure Ones, the three primordial emanations of the Tao. He is also the Cao Đài of Caodaism known as Ngọc Hoàng Thượng đế. In Buddhist cosmology he is identified with Śakra. In Korean mythology he is known as Haneullim.
Admiral Charles Middleton, 1st Baron Barham, PC was a Royal Navy officer and politician. As a junior officer he saw action during the Seven Years' War. Middleton was given command of a guardship at the Nore, a Royal Navy anchorage in the Thames Estuary, at the start of the American War of Independence, and was subsequently appointed Comptroller of the Navy. He went on to be First Naval Lord and then First Lord of the Admiralty. Middleton also played a crucial role in the abolition of the slave trade.
Téméraire or Temeraire may refer to:
Menshen or threshold guardian are divine guardians of doors and gates in Chinese folk religions, used to protect against evil influences or to encourage the entrance of positive ones. They began as the divine pair Shenshu and Yulü under the Han, but the deified generals Qin Shubao and Yuchi Gong have been more popular since the Tang. In cases where a door god is affixed to a single door, Wei Zheng or Zhong Kui is commonly used.
Monkey Magic (モンキーマジック) was a television series that aired in the late 1990s. The story is an adaptation of the 16th century novel Journey to the West. To avoid religious implications, the Buddha was named "The Guardian". Sunsoft produced a PlayStation video game based on the anime. It was aired in Japan in 2000 but later aired in the USA on UPN.
Naomi Novik is an American author of speculative fiction. Novik won both the Nebula Award for Best Novel and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award in 2016 for her novel Uprooted. Her novel Spinning Silver won the American Library Association's Alex Award in 2019, the 2019 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel, and the 2019 Audie Award for Fantasy. Spinning Silver was a 2019 Hugo Award for Best Novel Nominee, a 2018 finalist for the Nebula Award for Best Novel, and a 2019 Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Fantasy. Other novels by Novik were nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2007, 2016, and 2019.
Temeraire is a series of nine novels written by American author Naomi Novik. The novels are works of both fantasy and alternate history: they are "a reimagining of the epic events of the Napoleonic Wars with an air force—an air force of dragons, manned by crews of aviators". The first book, His Majesty's Dragon, won the 2007 Compton Crook Award in the genre. The book was also nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2007.
His Majesty's Dragon, published in the UK as Temeraire, is the first novel in the Temeraire alternate history/fantasy series by American author Naomi Novik. It was first published in 2006. It won the 2007 Compton Crook Award for best novel in the Science Fiction/Fantasy genre during 2006 by a first-time author.
Black Powder War is the third novel in the Temeraire alternate history/fantasy series by American author Naomi Novik. The novel was first published in the United States by Del Rey publishing on May 30, 2006 and by Voyager in the United Kingdom in August 2007.
The Dragon Throne is the throne of the Emperor of China. As the dragon was the emblem of divine imperial power, the throne of the Emperor, who was considered a living god, was known as the Dragon Throne. The term can refer to very specific seating, as in the special seating in various structures in the Forbidden City of Beijing or in the palaces of the Old Summer Palace. Metonymically, "the Dragon Throne" can also refer to the head of state and to the monarchy itself. The Daoguang Emperor is said to have referred to his throne as "the divine utensil."
Empire of Ivory is the fourth novel in the Temeraire alternate history/fantasy series by American author Naomi Novik. The series follows the actions of William Laurence and his dragon, Temeraire.
Victory of Eagles is the fifth novel in the Temeraire alternate history/fantasy series by American author Naomi Novik. The series follows the actions of William Laurence and his dragon, Temeraire.
Tongues of Serpents is the sixth novel in the Temeraire alternate history/fantasy series by American author Naomi Novik. This installment follows William Laurence and his dragon, Temeraire's adventures in Australia.
Crucible of Gold is the seventh novel in the Temeraire alternate history/fantasy series by American author Naomi Novik. This installment features the adventures of William Laurence and his dragon, Temeraire, in South America.
Blood of Tyrants is the eighth novel in the Temeraire alternate history/fantasy series by American author Naomi Novik. It was first published by Voyager Books in August 2013. This installment features the adventures of William Laurence and his dragon, Temeraire, in Japan, China, and Russia, as they attempt to muster up new allies in the year 1812.