No more swashbuckling. The fight scenes in this installment are all pretty gruesome, with the one in which Laurence and his men were besieged in a Chinese palace being the most nightmarish. The dragon fight was anticlimatic after that.
Moments of levity mostly come from dragons.
- Like most dragons, he had a very casual view of property, saving, of course, jewels and gold belonging to himself: even as he spoke he was busy polishing the great sapphire pendant which Laurence had given him.
- Maximus swallowed and licked his chips, and said, "It would not be so very bad, I suppose, if there were nothing else handy, but (the tunny) is too slippery."
- The whole ship shivered: .. Temeraire's wings were acting as an independent and contrary sail.
- "Well, I have never seen anything so ridiculous in my life, but it is not likely to hurt him. The air-sacs will keep him afloat,... " Keynes said.. "But how we will ever get him back abroad, I have not the least idea."
- He fell heavily onto the deck without much grace, hind legs scrabbling for an undignified moment, but he indeed got aboard.. He hastily settled his legs underneath him again and busied himself shaking water off his ruff and long tendrils, pretending he had not been clumsy.
- When (Lily) sneezes, she cannot help but spit some of the acid, the muscles involved i this reflex being the very same.
- "Though it is difficult to keep the animals inside the pen, and the first time I learned how to open it, they all ran away," he added. "Maximus and I had to chase after them for hours and hours -- it was not funny, at all," he said.
- Temeraire blinked at this intelligence. "You do not hatch out of eggs?"
- "You may as well say, that if a creature will not serve people, and learn their habits, it is not intelligent, and had just as well be killed."
- "I do not understand what precisely capital is, but I am sure I have none of my own, nor any way of getting it."
- Any conquering dynasty made it nearly their first concern to stabilize the flow of funds, as one can well imagine the effects of a riot of angry dragons (jealous of their property)...
- A very cornerstone of foreign policy.. has been our certainty.. that the Chinese were no more interested in the affairs of Europe than we are in the affairs of the penguins. Now all our foundations have been shaken."
- "I believe Riley was saying that this boat needs something; it could not have been stars, Berkeley?" "Spars," Laurence said.. "But you must know, Warren, this is a ship, not a boat."