I love history and fantasy books, own dozens of them and have read hundreds. In Naomi Noviks Temeraire series I find a perfect combination of both. Set in alternative history of 18th century Briton, you are introduced to the aerial corps, a military service working along side the Nelsons Navy during the Napoleonic wars.
It is a ragtag version of the RAF in which aviators have a low life expectancy, hard labour with little reward and stiff upper lips of the Navy frowning upon them. The story follows adventures of a British Naval captain Will Laurence thrown into aerial service with little choice and the adventures that follow him and his newly acquired Dragon partner Temeraire.
The book is fast flowing with a fluid writing skill that makes reading very smooth. It avoids typical fantasy clichés, and still manages to engage the reader without too much depth or being overly informative. The fast pace means that the reader doesn't question the explainations so it does work quite effectively. The characters - human and dragon alike - are easy to understand and despite its swift story the reader is able to connect with them.
It covers very traditional brittish-ness and has quite a hooray henry sense of action and adventure, with swords cannons and set among romping waves. A thoroughly enjoyable easy read : )