Quotes from Black Powder War

Naomi Novik ·  365 pages

Rating: (22.7K votes)


“It is quite uninteresting; that is why one comes out."
— Temeraire, on being inside an egg
― Naomi Novik, quote from Black Powder War


“I will see you bereft of all that you have, of home and happiness and beautiful things. I will see your nation cast down and your allies drawn away. I will see you as alone and friendless and wretched as am I; and then you may live as long as you like, in some dark and lonely corner of the earth, and I shall call myself content.

-Lien, Albino Celestial (Dragon) ”
― Naomi Novik, quote from Black Powder War


“Justice is expensive. That is why there is so little of it, and it is reserved for those few with enough money and influence to afford it.”
― Naomi Novik, quote from Black Powder War


“Gentleness shown once is mercy, shown twice is folly.”
― Naomi Novik, quote from Black Powder War


“One man can go where a group cannot, and manage on very little, particularly a rough adventurer such as he. More the point, he risks only himself when he goes: you much consider that in your charge is an inexpressibly valuable dragon, whose loss must be of greater importance than even this mission."

"Oh, pray, let us be gone at once," said the inexpressibly valuable dragon, when Laurence had carried the question, still unresolved, back to him. "It sounds very exciting to me.”
― Naomi Novik, quote from Black Powder War



“Out ahead of them, Arkady began something very like a marching song, chanting lines answered by the other ferals, their voices ringing out across the sky, each to each. Temeraire added his own to the chorus, and little Iskierka began to scrabble at his neck, demanding, "What are they saying? What does it mean?"

"We are flying home," Temeraire said, translating. "We are all flying home.”
― Naomi Novik, quote from Black Powder War


“I think we must only a few of us go," Laurence said, low. "I will take a few volunteers - "

"Oh, the devil you will!" Granby exclaimed furiously. "No, this time I damned well put my foot down, Laurence. Send you off to go scrambling about in that warren with no notion where you are going, and nothing more likely than running into a dozen guards round every corner; I should like to see myself do it. I am not going back to England to tell them I sat about twiddling my thumbs whilst you got yourself cut to pieces. Temeraire, you are not to let him go, do you hear me? He is sure to be killed; I give you my word."

"If the party are sure to be killed, I am not going to let anyone go!" Temeraire said, in high alarm, and sat up sharp, quite prepared to physically hold anyone back who made an attempt to leave.

"Temeraire, this is plain exaggeration," Laurence said. "Mr. Granby, you overstate the case, and you overstep your bounds."

"Well, I don't," Granby said defiantly. "I have bit my tongue a dozen times over, because I know it is wretched hard to sit about watching and you haven't been trained up to it, but you are a captain, and you must be more careful of your neck. It isn't only your own but the Corps' affair if you snuff it, and mine too."

"If I may," Tharkay said quietly, interrupting when Laurence would have remonstrated further with Granby, "I will go; alone I am reasonably sure I can find a way to the eggs, without rousing any alarm, and then I can return and guide the rest of the party there."

"Tharkay," Laurence said, "this is no service you owe us; I would not order even a man under oath of arms to undertake it, without he were willing."

"But I am willing," Tharkay gave his faint half-smile, "and more likely to come back whole from it than anyone else here."

"At the cost of running thrice the risk, going and coming back and going again," Laurence said, "with a fresh chance of running into the guards every time through."

"So it is very dangerous, then," Temeraire said, overhearing to too much purpose, and pricking up his ruff further. "You are not to go, at all, Granby is quite right; and neither is anyone else."

"Oh, Hell," Laurence said, under his breath.

"It seems there is very little alternative to my going," Tharkay said.

"Not you either!" Temeraire contradicted, to Tharkay's startlement, and settled down as mulish as a dragon could look; and Granby had folded his arms and wore an expression very similar. Laurence had ordinarily very little inclination to profanity, but he was sorely tempted on this occasion. An appeal to Temeraire's reason might sway him to allow a party to make the attempt, if he could be persuaded to accept the risk as necessary for the gain, like a battle; but he would surely balk at seeing Laurence go, and Laurence had not the least intention of sending men on so deadly an enterprise if he were not going himself, Corps rules be damned.”
― Naomi Novik, quote from Black Powder War


“I do not know that the Chinese system is any worse; there is a limit to the evil one despot alone can do, and if he is truly vicious he can be overthrown; a hundred corrupt members of Parliament may together do as much injustice or more, and be the less easy to uproot.”
― Naomi Novik, quote from Black Powder War


“Well, I only wish you may all not have your throats slit by Uygurs," Riley said in deep pessimism, giving up, after he had tried once more at dinner to persuade them to remain. . .
"I will not let anyone slit your throats at all," Temeraire said, a little indignantly. "Although I would like to see an Uygur; is that a kind of dragon?"
"A kind of bird, I think," Granby said; Laurence was doubtful, but he did not like to contradict when he was not sure himself.
"Tribesmen," Tharkay said, the next morning.
"Oh." Temeraire was a little disappointed; he had seen people before. "That is not very exciting, but perhaps they are very fierce?" he asked hopefully.
"Have you enough money to buy thirty camels?" Tharkay asked Laurence, after he had finally escaped a lengthy interrogation as to the many other prospective delights of their journey, such as violent sandstorms and frozen mountain passes.”
― Naomi Novik, quote from Black Powder War


“The crew were all of them inclined to cough and sneeze, the boys particularly, and Keynes said, "We ought put them all in the water: to keep the chest warm must be the foremost concern."

Laurence agreed without thinking and was shortly appalled by the sight of Emily bathing with the rest of the young officers, innocent of both clothing and modesty.

"You must not bathe with the others," Laurence said to her urgently, having bundled her out and into a blanket.

"Mustn't I?" she said, gazing up at him damp and bewildered.

"Oh, Christ," Laurence said, under his breath. "No," he told her firmly, "it is not suitable; you are beginning to be a young lady."

"Oh," she said dismissively, "Mother has told me all about that, but I have not started bleeding yet, and anyway I would not like to go to bed with any of them," and a thoroughly routed Laurence feebly fell back on giving her some make-work, and fled to Temeraire's side.”
― Naomi Novik, quote from Black Powder War



“He says to land,” Tharkay translated, with improbable brevity; at Laurence’s frowning look he added, “and he calls us a great many impolite names; do you wish them all translated?”
― Naomi Novik, quote from Black Powder War


“They moved out of Jena early the next morning, with Prince Louis and the rest of the advance guard, for the town of Saalfeld,”
― Naomi Novik, quote from Black Powder War


“I am not whimpering, at all,” Temeraire muttered, and added, “ow!” There”
― Naomi Novik, quote from Black Powder War


“(Temeraire:) "Can one hire a translator to say things properly?"
"Yes; they are called lawyers," Tharkay said, and laughed softly to himself.”
― Naomi Novik, quote from Black Powder War


“We leave tonight," he continued, very cold and calm, "and we take the eggs with us.”
― Naomi Novik, quote from Black Powder War



“Feiglings!” Eroica bellowed after them at the top of his lungs as they clawed and scattered his wing dragons.”
― Naomi Novik, quote from Black Powder War


“The French seized his arms and put a blade to his throat, calling to Eroica, “Geben Sie oben,”
― Naomi Novik, quote from Black Powder War


“We may meet again; the world is not after all so very large a place.” He”
― Naomi Novik, quote from Black Powder War


“Laurence could make no real quarrel with the aims, which were natural and just; but England was at war, after all, and he was conscious, as Temeraire was not, of the impudence in demanding concessions from their own Government under such circumstances: very like mutiny. Yet”
― Naomi Novik, quote from Black Powder War


“Justice is expensive,” Tharkay said. “That is why there is so little of it, and that reserved for those few with enough money and influence to afford it.”
― Naomi Novik, quote from Black Powder War



About the author

Naomi Novik
Born place: New York, The United States
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