I just finished Empire of Ivory yesterday, and I’m trying to guess how she can possibly get Lawrence and Temeraire out of this predicament. There will be spoilers for EoI, so here’s a cut for courtesy.
(Oops, sorry, cut fixed now. Not a great idea to put an LJcut in WordPress!)
My best guess is that Napolean will invade England (there’s a mention of that somewhere on her web page); Lawrence’s execution will be delayed because he and Temeraire will be so urgently needed for defense. (I have no idea how she can make this believable; traitors were certainly executed even during wartime. But then again, no actual Navy captain would have been as indispensable as a dragon and the only man he’d listen to.) After the immediate emergency is over, Soapy Sam (Bishop Wilberforce) will begin haranguing public opinion to get people to recognize that what Lawrence did was to preserve England’s morals by keeping her from perpetrating the mass killings of dragons, that dragons are people who have been effectively enslaved, driving the point home by illustrating the disaster caused by the slave trade in Africa.
I also don’t know how she’ll reconcile this with the concept that not all dragons really are fully self-aware. Temeraire is, of course, and Maximus, and Lily, and all the larger breeds, but Volly strikes me as more on the level of a chimanzee who’s learned sign language. Then again, when we have humans with sub-adult-human intelligence, we don’t consider them as animals.
It will be extremely interesting to see how she handles this.