This engaging debut from newcomer Novik takes the swashbuckling nautical adventure of Horatio Hornblower and adds dragons to the mix, resulting in an enchanting medley of history and fantasy. During the height of the Napoleonic Wars, Capt. Will Laurence of His Majesty's Navy captures a French man-o'-war-an already valuable prize made invaluable when the crew discovers an unhatched dragon egg aboard. Laurence finds himself taking up the duty of being the dragon's captain, forcing him to leave his beloved navy and enter into the unknown world of Britain's dragon-riding Aerial Corp. Thorn accurately captures the sound of 19th-century British dialects, and he varies his voice considerably (occasionally going too far) to differentiate between characters. One odd choice of Thorn's was his decision to give all dragons in the book a rather high, somewhat stilted voice-at odds with the booming speech one would expect from a creature of that gargantuan size. This quibble aside, Thorn does an excellent job of transporting the listener to the historical setting of the novel and brings Novik's richly imagined world vividly to life. A Del Rey paperback (Reviews, Jan. 23, 2006).