Temeraire Reading Order, an alternate history fantasy series by Naomi Novik

Dive into the Napoleonic Wars… with dragons! Written by author Naomi Novik, Temeraire is a series of nine alternate-history fantasy novels following the adventures of Captain William Laurence and his dragon, the eponymous Temeraire.

In this alternate reality, the Napoleonic Wars feature dragons piloted by aviators, offering a fresh angle to the epic conflict.

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Temeraire Books in Order

The Temeraire series consists of nine novels and several short stories – that are optional reading. The first three books form what we can call the original trilogy, released the same year, and have since been re-released twice in an omnibus edition: the first time in 2006 under the title Temeraire: In the Service of the King and a second time as In His Majesty’s Service: Three Novels of Temeraire (2009), containing a short story (listed below) as a bonus.

“Vici“ (2009, short story) – available in the anthology The Dragon Book: Magical Tales from the Masters of Modern Fantasy.
His Majesty’s Dragon (2006) aka Temeraire.
“Feast or Famine“A short story available online about dragons having their breakfast.
Throne of Jade (2006)
Black Powder War (2006)
“In Autumn, a White Dragon Looks over the Wide River“ (2009, short story) – printed in the omnibus In His Majesty’s Service.
Empire of Ivory (2007)
Victory of Eagles (2008)
Tongues of Serpents (2010)
Crucible of Gold (2012)
Blood of Tyrants (2013)
League of Dragons (2016)

Following the conclusion of the series, Naomi Novik released a collection of short stories, with each tale inspired by a piece of fan art. The book of several short stories and drabbles (a story of 100 words)

Golden Age and Other Stories (2017)

The Temeraire series is also available on audiobook, narrated by Simon Vance.

More Information on Temeraire

Writer Judith Tarr described the Temeraire as “Patrick O’Brian meets Anne McCaffrey,” while The Time wrote, “it’s like Jane Austen playing Dungeons & Dragons with Eragon’s Christopher Paolini.”

The Temeraire series centers on William Laurence, a Navy captain who captures a French frigate carrying a precious dragon egg. With the egg on the verge of hatching, Laurence faces a dilemma – a dragon not bonded to a captain within a day turns feral. Taking the leap, Laurence bonds with the hatchling, naming him Temeraire after a renowned naval vessel.

Plunged into the world of the Aerial Corps as Temeraire’s master, he must quickly adapt to the tactics of airborne combat as he is thrust, with his dragon, into the heart of the conflict. What follows for the duo are many adventures as their friendship grows stronger.

The origins of the Temeraire series

During an AMA on Reddit, Naomi Novik talked about the origins of the Temeraire series, where she explained that, while it didn’t initially stem directly from fanfiction, it certainly evolved from that environment:

What happened with Temeraire was, I got into Aubrey/Maturin fandom and started writing fic, then started writing AU (Editor’s note: Alternate Universe) stories, and the AUs started getting longer and longer and more elaborate, until one day I started noodling a dragon-riding AU that kept not working as fanfic; the characters weren’t feeling like themselves and the relationship didn’t match, and and I didn’t actually want to FIX it, I wanted to keep going with MY characters, and that’s when I realized I was writing original fiction, so I scrapped it and started writing Temeraire.

For more stories with dragons set during the Regency era, see also the Jane Austen’s Dragons series. Of course, don’t hesitate to take the sea with Aubrey and Maturin or dive into the world of Pern!