Empire of Ivory (Temeraire, Book 4)
Naomi Novik, 2007
Premise: (Follows Black Powder War) Lawrence and Temeraire return to Britain after a long and difficult journey, only to find that their troubles are still far from over. Sickness has struck the dragons of Britain, and Temeraire and Lawrence are eventually sent south with their squadron in search of a cure. While there, they run into more dragons, some feral, and some less so. A new potential world power is emerging, and their squadron is right in the middle of it!
Although I was frankly a little surprised that there had been a slave trade, given the presence of dragons in Africa, the exploration of the coalescing nation there was fascinating.
The minor characters solidify their places a bit in this one, and there's some funny scenes where Lawrence struggles with the fact that he hasn't fully left his stuffy upper-class upbringing behind after all, at least not when it comes to relations between men and women.
This is a good entry in this series, but not fantastic, except that it has a really amazing ending. Heartrending, gorgeous, perfect cliffhanger of an ending. Time to look up Book Five.
4 Stars – A Very Good Book