Tongues of Serpents: A Novel of Temeraire
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Convicted of treason despite their heroic defense against Napoleon’s invasion of England, Temeraire and Capt. Will Laurence have been transported to a prison colony in distant Australia—and into a hornet’s nest of fresh complications. The colony is in turmoil after the overthrow of military governor William Bligh—aka Captain Bligh, late of HMS Bounty. And when Bligh tries to enlist them in his bid to regain office, the dragon and his captain are caught in the middle of a political power struggle. Their only chance to escape the fray is accepting a mission to blaze a route through the forbidding Blue Mountains and into the interior of Australia. But the theft of a precious dragon egg turns their expedition into a desperate recovery operation—leading to a shocking discovery and a dangerous new complication in the global war between Britain and Napoleon.
terms as any other Western nation. Jia Zhen with great courtesy pointed out that this agreement said nothing whatsoever about China’s granting her own merchants other and more favorable terms for export, as should be natural to any nation, and further that the port was not after all a Chinese port, but the possession of the Larrakia, if they had been so kind as to grant the Chinese the use of much of the land. “And certainly British merchants must always be welcome, in any case. The Pomfrey, I
the dark hole stood dreadfully jagged against the elegant line. “Oh!” Temeraire cried in distress, “Laurence, only look; and if anyone should have been below—” He darted a little closer—of course he would not do anything, not now he did see it must be still more wrong; but he could not help it— “Temeraire,” Laurence said. “No, of course I will not,” Temeraire said, despairingly. “I suppose I might not even knock down the cannonballs, as they flew?” He did not know if the divine wind would
leaning on each other they stumbled out of the courtyard and into the narrow, stinking alley-way outside, which yet seemed fresh out from under the makeshift tarpaulin; a fine misting rain was falling. Laurence leaned gratefully against the far wall made cool and light by the coating of dew, ignoring with a practiced stomach the man a few steps away who was heaving the contents of his belly into the gutters. A couple of women coming down the alley-way lifted their skirts over the trickle of muck
deepest part, some distance away, and come out wet. There were not very many trees or shrubs, although fresh grasses grew in abundance; but despite the lack of shade, Temeraire found it a great refreshment to sit upon the half-green shore and look away from the red sand and rock everywhere; and there were no bushes to hide lurking bunyips. It only lacked, to make the respite complete, Tharkay’s returning in a little while with a tiny scrap of blue silk he had uncovered, half-buried, near some
water came past the camp, not very much to drink from, and with no sign of bunyip management, which they now had a little cause to regret. They dug out a hollow in the curve of the creek, and it gradually filled; meanwhile Laurence stood with Temeraire watching the strange monumental stones blur and fade away into darkness, as all the stars of the Southern Hemisphere came wheeling out above. They were all quiet that night, in the unseen shadow of the monoliths. In the morning Temeraire said,