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Dorset was the dragon-surgeon assigned to Temeraire's crew after Temeraire returned from China and Keynes, the previous surgeon, left to care for the dragons afflicted by the Dragon Plague. At first, Dorset struck Laurence as a "rather thin and nervous young man, bespectacled and given to stammering." However, Laurence was bemused to find that the moment Dorset was presented with a patient needing his care, the stammer vanished and Dorset spoke with "a quite casual authority." He proved to be extremely competent.