Crucible of Gold

Page 42

Of that, Laurence had less certainty. "Particularly as we have only the crown prince's invitation, and not the Emperor's; and no certainty of success when we have arrived," Laurence added soberly, "but I am persuaded we must make the attempt. If we should indeed find it possible to engage China in alliance, that may be our only hope now of standing for long against Napoleon. But we may have to make the passage overland and far to the north, at the Bering strait . I have no confidence in Blaise's diverting the Potentate at our request: he is not Riley."
He stopped and said again, low, "He is not Riley," and swallowed regret once more: the loss not only of a friend, but of that still more priceless treasure, a man on whom he could rely.
"No," Temeraire said, and bent his head to nose gently at Laurence's back in comfort.

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