Temeraire v Underland

  • Beer: Underland
  • Brewery: Pope’s Yard| Experimental
  • Style: Unknown
  • Strengths: 8.2%

Off the bat this is going to be a hard one to review. What is it? Is it even a beer? (Yes it definitely is). It’s dark but doesn’t really taste like any dark beer I’ve ever had. It’s fruity like an IPA or APA but has a smokiness to it which is more reminiscent of a porter. Then there is also an underlying, almost, spicy note to it. Gingery maybe? It also doesn’t taste nearly as strong as it purportedly is which is very dangerous.

  • Book: Temeraire (His Majesty’s Dragon in the US)
  • Author: Naomi Novik
  • Publisher: HarperVoyager
  • Published: 2006

If your introduction to Novik’s work came through her standalone fairy-tale retellings – Uprooted and Spinning Silver – you’d be forgiven for finding her debut series fairly jarring. But please don’t let that put you off. Temeraire is excellent.

The set up alone should be enough to pique interest. It is an alternate history set during the Napoleonic Wars, but with Dragons.

Captain William Laurence, of the Royal Navy, and his crew capture a French ship. On board they find an unhatched dragon egg which is taken as the spoils of war. Before they can get it home the egg begins to hatch. None on board are experts in the affairs of dragons but they know the basics. For a dragon to be used effectively in the military it must be harnessed and imprint on a handler asap. The newly hatched dragon rejects all of Laurence’s officers, except he himself. Laurence then names the hatchling Temeraire.

The rest of the book then explores their growing relationship and the training they need to undergo in order to be of use in fighting Napoleon.

Besides all the amazingly detailed ‘what if-ing’ done to envisage how Dragons might have been used in the warfare of the early 1800s, and the exploration of Laurence and Temeraire’s relationship, the standout element of this book is how it introduces food. Yep, food.

I don’t think any series of books has ever made me feel so hungry while reading them 😂

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