This story can be read for free on the Fantasy Magazine website
Also published in The Dragon Book: Magical Tales from the Masters of Modern Fantasy edited by Jack Dann.
“Well, Antonius,” the magistrate said, “you are without question a licentious and disreputable young man. You have disgraced a noble patrician name and sullied your character in the lowest of pursuits, and we have received testimony that you are not only a drunkard and a gambler—but an outright murderer as well.”
With an opening like that, the old vulture was sending him to the block for sure. Antony shrugged, philosophically; he’d known it was unlikely his family could have scraped together enough of a bribe to get him let go. Claudius’s family was a damn sight richer than his; and in any case he could hardly imagine his stepfather going to the trouble.
Vici (Short Story)
Temeraire (Published as His Majesty's Dragon in the US)
Feast or Famine (Short Story)
Throne of Jade
Black Powder War
Empire of Ivory
Victory of Eagles
Tongues of Serpents
Crucible of Gold
Blood of Tyrants
League of Dragons
Golden Age and Other Stories (Short Story Collection)
Visit Naomi Novik's website for more information
Vici is a free short story in Naomi Novik's Temeraire series that can be read for free on the Fantasy Magazine website. Set in Ancient Rome this is long before events in the first book and there is no crossover of characters so this works well as a standalone or introduction to the series.
Antonius is the son of a noble but even a wealthy family will only get you so far when you've built up the amount of dept that he has. The magistrate has given him two options to clear his debt to society, the first is execution and the second is to singlehandedly slay a large dragon that has been terrorising local villages. Everyone knows he's very unlikely to survive a dragon but on the very narrow chance he does manage to kill it the magistrate will consider his debt repaid and he will be able to go back to his normal life keeping any treasure the dragon had collected.
I'm not going to give away anymore so you'll have to read the story for yourself to find out what happens next. I loved the dragon Vici and her partnership with Antonius, the dragons in this series are always fun to read about and she adds a lot of humour to the story with her strange way of looking at things. I also enjoyed seeing a few familiar historical figures mentioned.
Source: Read for free on the Fantasy Magazine website
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