Gingerly because I'd assumed it'd be my mother's Penguin c.1935 with the Raverat illustrations surely falling apart by now. But at some forgotten point I'd bought me a newer copy, complete with notes on English usage at the time that I'd never noticed. So geeklike I read the notes (and mourned that this editor too fails to explain how it is visitors could come and view a gentleman's house long before the invention of the Nat'l Trust) and then reread a chunk of the novel.
Which is much as I remember it, yay. It's also and oddly much as I remember The Throne of Jade. That I think is the answer to those people who say Laurence is a shallow character and Temeraire is far more interesting. I don't think Laurence is shallow at all. He reads to me as a 19th century character written by a lady who understands decorum. Novik will certainly tell us what is going on in Laurence's head, but she won't go over the line and tell us everything he feels. There's a polite distance at work here. And there's also the fact that Laurence is a sane and likable person in and of himself, someone who doesn't angst and who pays more attention to the people around him than to himself. (Quick, name the last male character you read in mainstream fic who does this.) Bingley with a bit more bottom, to use the eighteenth century phrase, and less personal liberty. I very much approve the result.
I'm also aware that the model may be Master and Commander, a book that I managed to read ten pages of before giving up. Boats so do not do it for me. The only reason I can see for having a Navy at all is to provide a setting for lurid smut about the awful things that happen to cabin boys who are Illya Kuriakin the rest of the time.