May. 15th, 2017

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I suppose I'm cheating a little by including Naomi Novik's League of Dragons in this series, because technically the hardback was released in June. But the mass market paperback was a November book, so that's my excuse. And it isn't that Novok's Hugo-finalist series needs any extra publicity boost from me, but it's an opportunity to tell an amusing story about the power of the knowledgable independent bookseller. Back when the first book in the Temeraire series had been out for a little while, I wandered into my local SFF bookstore, The Other Change of Hobbit (now, alas, out of business) and while I was browsing the relatively new releases I idly remarked to Tom Whitmore that I was trying to remember the title of a new book that various friends thought I might like. He instantly handed me a copy of His Majesty's Dragon and I recognized it as the title people had been recommending. That was the extent of the clue: "a new book my friends thought I might like" and Tom's familiarity with my reading habits as a long-time customer. That's what we lose when we lose face-to-face independent booksellers. (P.S. They were all correct about me liking the book.) League of Dragons is the final volume in the Temeraire series.

Napoleon’s invasion of Russia has been roundly thwarted. But even as Capt. William Laurence and the dragon Temeraire pursue the retreating enemy through an unforgiving winter, Napoleon is raising a new force, and he’ll soon have enough men and dragons to resume the offensive. While the emperor regroups, the allies have an opportunity to strike first and defeat him once and for all—if internal struggles and petty squabbles don’t tear them apart.

Aware of his weakened position, Napoleon has promised the dragons of every country—and the ferals, loyal only to themselves—vast new rights and powers if they fight under his banner. It is an offer eagerly embraced from Asia to Africa—and even by England, whose dragons have long rankled at their disrespectful treatment.

But Laurence and his faithful dragon soon discover that the wily Napoleon has one more gambit at the ready—one that that may win him the war, and the world.


This blog series is all about recommending books, or at least featuring them (when I don't know enough about the specific work to recommend it). The fate of brick-and-mortar bookstores is not the only handicap that non-bestsellers face. While the rise of electronic self-publishing and small specialty presses has meant greater access of marginalized authors to publication, it has created a vast array of books that will never have shelf space in a physical bookstore. Other than the lost Other Change of Hobbit, and Laurel Bookstore in downtown Oakland, I have only once seen any of the Alpennia books on a physical bookstore shelf. (Though I have reports of sightings from readers.) This makes reader recommendations an invaluable resource. I am massively grateful to those readers who have enjoyed my books, including the most recent Mother of Souls, and who have shared that love with others.

The Great November Book Release Re-Boot is a blog series talking about November 2016 releases that may have been overshadowed by unfortunate political events.

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