His Majesty’s Dragon. Photo via Ballantine Books
The Books: Temeraire by Naomi Novik
The Story: A little bit of fantasy, and a little bit of alternate history. The Temeraire series by Naomi Novik reimagines the Napoleonic Wars with an air force of dragons. The completed series has nine novels: His Majesty’s Dragon, Throne of Jade, Black Powder War, Empire of Ivory, Victory of Eagles, Tongues of Serpents, Crucible of Gold, Blood of Tyrants and League of Dragons.
The books follow Captain William Laurence, a member of the British Royal Navy serving in combat against Napoleon’s army, and his Chinese dragon companion, Temeraire. The series follows the two throughout the battle against Napoleon, staying close to historical events (minus the army of dragons part).
Throughout the series, they see Europe, South America and Asia, and real cultures and histories are woven into the stories. It’s a sprawling story that combines interesting real world events with entertaining fantasy elements, so it’s surprising this hasn’t been adapted yet.
The Adaptation: Peter Jackson was interested in adapting the series back in 2006, but nothing came about. Novik stated in a Reddit AMA that there were no current plans for an adaptation.
The series would be great on TV – although the action sequences and war scenes would look great on the big screen, with nine novels there’s just too much to condense into a film. It would need a healthy, HBO-style budget to make the larger set pieces, and need someone behind the scenes who understands blending history, fantasy and action – maybe Pirates of the Caribbean’s Jerry Bruckheimer?