He felt himself caught between shoals and a lee-shore, in an unfamiliar channel: MacArthur's machinations were no more noble than Bligh's in their ends, and likely less; even if in their forthrightness more appealing, and with the benefit of MacArthur's greater charm of person. And they were neither of them looking beyond the parochial boundaries of their quarrel, to the titanic struggle creeping ever more widely over the world. If either of them gave a thought to the war, Laurence could not discover it, and though they might gladly make him any promises which would make of him the useful ally they desired, they neither of them recognized in any real way the colossal folly of wasting Temeraire in this isolate part of the world.
The fascinating thing about these books is that the author takes actual history, and gives it enough of a tweak to include dragons. Both William Bligh (yes, of the mutiny on the Bounty fame) and MacArthur are famous names from Australian colonial history.
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