Set during the Napoleonic Wars. The current stalemate is making the British nervous, despite Nelson having the French fleet pinned in port. The Navy isn’t the only force watching for an invasion force though. The skies are patrolled by the Air Corps, who ride dragons.
The French have more of the beasts, and bigger ones, so capturing a dragon egg as a prize is not just financially rewarding, it’s strategically important. That’s the fate of Will Laurence, a captain in His Majesty’s Navy. When the egg hatches before they can reach port and chooses Laurence as its rider, he must give up his chosen profession to become an aviator, a far less respectable profession.
Despite the fantastical element, the book has a tone similar to a historical novel, using real-life events, such as the battle of Trafalgar, to anchor it in reality. This helps to ground the story, but the attention to detail, both relating to species and history, as well as training and upkeep, really flesh it out too.
It evoked similarities to Harry Potter for me, with someone new to the world being thrust into school in Scotland to learn their craft, in the hope of them becoming an important player. We do spend a lot of time with the main duo during training, which isn’t always that interesting.
The details do help to keep it from becoming boring, and help make it an engaging story, though I did find the constant mentions of the main character taking offence at a turn of phrase or manners got a bit tiresome after a while, no matter how realistic it might be.
On a technical note, the book contains numerous examples of unnecessary spaces that split words, sometimes just the last letter, which was odd and somewhat jarring to read.
All in all, it was a very enjoyable book, and I’ll certainly look out for others in the series.