cover image Golden Age and Other Stories

Golden Age and Other Stories

Naomi Novik. Subterranean, $25 (184p) ISBN SBN 978-1-59606-830-8

Novik collaborates with her fans in this welcome return to the alternate 19th-century world of her Temeraire series, in which English naval captain William Laurence befriends the newly hatched Chinese dragon he names Temeraire and the two of them enjoy adventures around the globe. Perhaps the best story in the collection is “Golden Age,” which tells an alternate version of the first meeting between Temeraire (here called Celeste) and Laurence and the formation of their unusual bond. Returning readers will also recognize Capt. Jane Roland and Excidium as they prepare to swoop down on a fleet of French ships in “Dawn of Battle.” Other entries feature different characters (“Dragons and Decorum” is a lengthy and unnecessary retelling of Pride and Prejudice) or moments of historical significance (longtime readers will recognize the events of “Succession” as the moment when the Chinese decide to send Temeraire’s egg to the French, inadvertently placing it in the path of Laurence’s ship). The collection closes with a flurry of microfiction, each fragment attached to a different piece of fan art. This collector’s item is meant for devoted fans; readers new to the series shouldn’t start here. Agent: Cynthia Manson, Cynthia Manson Literary. (Aug.)