Will Laurence is a captain in the British Navy. Britain is currently at war with Napoleon and France. When his ship captures a French warship, they discover a dragon egg on board. Their doctor says that the egg is close to hatching. Each country has its own dragon breeds and they jealously guard their breeding secrets. Britain is in desperate need of more fighting dragons, so Laurence arranges to have one of his crew members bond with the dragon when it hatches. If no one bonds with the dragon, it will fly away. When the dragon hatches the young seaman tries to bond with the dragon but it ignores him. It then turns to Laurence and asks him a question, so Laurence is forced to sacrifice his career in the Navy and bond with the dragon. He decides to name him Temeraire, and then he turns his captaincy over to his first mate, so that he can concentrate on his new dragon. Over the next few weeks Temeraire grows rapidly. The ship is in danger of running out of their food stores, so Laurence teaches Temeraire how to fish. Temeraire learns quickly, and continues to grow so rapidly that he is in danger of out growing the ship. By the time they reach the coast Laurence and Temeraire have grown very close. Laurence is constantly surprised at Temeraire's intelligence and ability to learn. When they reach the coast they must wait for direction from the aerial headquarters, so Laurence seeks out a dragon expert to learn what breed of dragon Temeraire is. The man identifies Temeraire as a Chinese Imperial dragon, second only to the Celestial, a dragon only Chinese Emperors can bond with. Laurence is stunned, because Temeraire is Chinese, not French and he is extremely rare and valuable. Right away this causes some problems, because the aerial corps wants a trained dragon rider, not a lowly seaman, to ride with Temeraire. So they try to replace Laurence, by telling Temeraire that Laurence wants to stay a sea captain. Temeraire is hurt and refuses to bond with anyone else, even if Laurence no longer wants him. When Laurence finds out he rushes to Temeraire and reassures him that he wants to be Temeraire's rider. So the aerial corps has no choice but to accept Temeraire and Laurence. The next hurdle will be intensive combat training, which will enable them to survive battle.
This report prepared by Michelle