Top positive review
Especially in war, doing the right thing can extract a high price.
Reviewed in the United States on August 5, 2019
In Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik, Laurence and Teremaire pay a heavy irreversible price for saving the dragons.
Laurence, disgraced and convicted of treason, awaits his execution. Teremaire, exiled to the breeding grounds, finds himself in worse circumstances than ever before.
Bonaparte invades England. British leaders would be crazy not to use Teremaire to help them repel the invasion. Since they aren't crazy, Laurence and his dragon are enlisted in the war, but that doesn't mean things are looking up.
Laurence is in dire circumstances, has lost the respect of his men, and faces death.
Then there are the breeding grounds. If Teremaire thought things were bad in general, dragons in the breeding ground have a terrible life.
Pretty much everyone is, to some degree, angry with Laurence. Even Jane, his ex-lover, barely speaks to him. Many of his men don't respect him.
Napolean's character is larger than life, and Novik captures his commanding presence and his influence.
Although he doesn't regret saving the sick dragons, Laurence's personal losses and heartaches travel with him throughout this book. Perhaps one of the most poignant moments is when they come to his father's estate, and it's untouched.
It's both a relief and a burden for Napolean singles him out and commands that his family is not to be touched. More fuel for those who despise him.
I wasn't sure how Novik would get our heroes out of the mess they created. She did two things that I thought were brilliant: first, she made the punishment fit the crime and didn't sugar coat anything, and second, she created a realistic and believable way for Laurance to sidestep execution.
That said, the future doesn't look brilliant for Laurence and Teremaire. I was okay with this because the story unfolded realistically.