Naomi Novik's His Majesty's Dragon as a free download

Danny sez, "Naomi Novik, the author of the excellent (and Peter Jackson-optioned) Patrick O'Brian-meets-Anne McCaffery historical fantasy series, Temeraire, has announced that Del Rey is putting it the first volume as a free, DRM-free, PDF download! Novik's series is perfect for this. I know a lot of people who love Hornblower Napoleonic barnstormers, but who might be put off by the dragons: now's their chance to get drawn into this historical fiction on the sly!"
So I am very very happy to announce that my publishers have gotten onto the pixel-stained technopeasant bandwagon, and you can now find His Majesty's Dragon available as a free download at Del Rey's brand-new Suvudu Free Library, along with many other fine works including Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson, Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb, Settling Accounts: Return Engagement by Harry Turtledove, and Blood Engines by T.A. Pratt. \o/
His Majesty's Dragon now available online!

Her Majesty's Dragon on Amazon


  1. Knowing how involved Ms Novik is with the Organisation For Transformative Works, this doesn’t surprise me at all. She is one extremely cool lady. And the Temeraire series is awesome ;-)

  2. This is great if it’s what it appears to be (and I don’t know enough about the author to make any actual personal criticisms!). I just worry that we’re only going to ever see the first volume of a trilogy released like this – i.e. that it’s not about being “free & DRM-free”, it’s about dropping promotional copies of old books on the market to increase sales of new releases (i.e. vol 2!). It’s not that there’s anything wrong with this… but if this is the motivation, I don’t want them to dress it up as anything else.

  3. Kudos to Del Rey for putting this up online. It’s too bad they only offer it in pdf, so unlike the Baen Free Library offerings, I can’t put it on my Sony ebook reader.

  4. Progress continues. Now, let’s see what the sales numbers say after 6 months. I’d like to think that more books sell because of the free one. But I’m also wondering if increased sales of Kindles will put a quick end to free E-books.

  5. from Sony

    displays Adobe® PDFs, plus TXT, RTF, BMP, JPEG, GIF, PNG and Microsoft® Word files

  6. Not only does she write some totally awes Napoleonic War WITH DRAGONS OMG but Naomi Novik is totally a fellow geek and an awesome lady.

  7. On Part II Chapter 5 – great book so far. Not quite buying the “dragon-riders are socially inferior” angle, though… but it’s early yet, maybe she’ll convince me.

  8. I started the Temeraire series a while back on a whim and recently finished the latest book. They are quite excellent!

  9. _Temeraire_ is a solidly-written, well-paced book filled with lovely *moments* that will stick with you as few other works do (at least if you are me).

    If you can read through the [spoilers redacted] unmoved, then your vile obsidian heart pumps a dark and sinister fluid — entirely unlike human blood — through your black veins.

    The book makes a good “gateway drug”, also, for those who dismiss the fantasy genre ghetto as unworthy. (I tend to regard genre categories as an organizational convenience rather than the thing in and of itself — the map, not the territory. _Temeraire_ is strong evidence in the case to support this view.)

    Finally, why, O dear publishers, did you feel obligated to change the perfectly well-seeming title for the “benighted colonial” edition? Assuming that your potential audience hasn’t heard of the ship, or the painting: fine. But “His Majesty’s Dragon”? *Really*? You think that’s better, do you?

  10. I wish they’d release these things in RTF format. Then I could read them at work in Word while pretending to review product documentation.


  11. Fireweasel @#10: I Don’t Do Windows(tm), and I smile a wan smile showing no teeth when RTF is about.

    But a quick google suggests no shortage of things to convert PDF to RTF, some free for the stretching out of a hand to take them. (Have a care, though — some of the results links are setting off my “Here there be spyware!” alarms.)

    I, for one, welcome our new Adobe overlords. (Well… not really welcome, but grudgingly accept so long as there are FOSS-y ways to read a PDF, or convert it to something like plain ASCII text.)

  12. A couple of friends of mine really like these books, and I’ve read them myself. There’s a few faults I just can’t get past:

    1) Bad editing. There is a boat called a snow, did you know? A snow, gentle snow, that drifts (one imagines) o’er the water, lovely delicate snow. No. It’s a SCOW. Ess Cee Owe Doubleyou. This misspelling appears over and over again, so it’s not a one-off: it’s due to a computer being used instead of a human being and an editor who doesn’t know anything at all about ships.

    2) Bad economics. The author has established that dragons require great steaming piles of meat, tons of it, a cow or two a day. How many people will a butchered cow feed, meat, marrow and tripes? I’m guessing a few hundred. I can (just) accept that England, which she describes as having few dragons, has herds large enough to feed them all. I can’t accept that the China she describes – thickly populated with both people and dragons, China which even today produces less meat per capita than the West – I can’t accept that her China can feed its dragons.

    3) Prudishness. I felt as if she were blushing whenever she referred to a sailor consorting with a woman. It all happens off-page and she takes great pains to ensure that her sailors and aviators say nothing which is in the least bit coarse.

    4) Eating One’s Cake And Having It. She has female aviatrices (although she calls them aviators) because, she says, some dragons insist upon female companions. Very well, I won’t argue about the social preferences of her imaginary creatures. On the other hand, she doesn’t want her image of 9th century mores to be disturbed. People are regularly surprised to find that there are female aviatrices despite the fact that these women are RIDING BLOODY DRAGONS. You would think that some civilian might have spotted one by now and spread the word.

    5) The science is so risible that she shouldn’t try to defend it. Dragons can fly because they’re magic. Please don’t go on about air sacs with lighter-than-air gas. Even if the gas in the sacs were weightless it wouldn’t provide more than about a kilogram of lift per cubic meter. Unless it has negative weight, in which case the decomposition of dead dragons ought to be very interesting, as their intestines rip themselves out of the corpses and fly into the heavens.

    The books are not *bad*: they irritated me but I suppose I enjoyed reading them. But Lord, they’d be so much better some more editing.

  13. @ Joe in Australia: Actually a snow is also a type of ship, different from a scow.

    Fictional economics, fictional dragon anatomy, and fictional sexual politics being slightly more difficult to research on the internet, I’ll just have to go hunt for information on the appropriate quantity of smut in a novel…

  14. Joe in Australia : I realise this comment comes more than a year after you made yours, but the ‘dragons can fly because they’re magic’ line is such utter rubbish I can’t let it pass. There were dinosaurs capable of flight (the Archeopteryx), your line of reasoning that ‘dragons are too heavy to get off the ground’ is equally risible and devoid of logic.

    Also, I didn’t find the books prudish at all, considering that they are set in the early eighteenth century. Laurence himself may be quite the prude (or stiff-neck, as Granby would say), but the world of Temeraire, overall, is not.

Comments are closed.