GUNS OF THE DAWN

PrintE-mail Written by Ed Fortune

BOOK REVIEW: GUNS OF THE DAWN / AUTHOR: ADRIAN TCHAIKOVSKY / PUBLISHER: TOR / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

Adrian Tchaikovsky is better known for his vast and sweeping Shadows of the Apt fantasy series, a set of novels that gained a cult following partially due to their clever use of simple ideas implemented in complex ways. His latest work, Guns of the Dawn is a flintlock fantasy adventure that can easily be described as Pride and Prejudice versus Sharpe.

To put it another way, Guns of the Dawn is the story of Emily Marshwic, a high society lady with wit and pragmatism (much like Elizabeth Bennet from Austen’s famous book). She had a pretty good life until the neighbouring nation decided to rid itself of their monarchy and have violent and bloody revolution.  With all the men in her family either dead, at the front, or both, the state demands that she pick up a flintlock and go to war. This she does, and doing so, is plunged into a world of violence and intrigue that far surpasses anything one finds in a Sunday tea-time period drama.

World building is steady and relentless; this is a fantasy novel with muskets, magic, war machines and social hierarchies. The reader is never overwhelmed with exposition, but it is a dense world and it’s a credit to the skill of the author that both the world and the characters contain plenty of surprises.

Guns of the Dawn does have its flaws, though. Tchaikovsky’s flowing style gets carried away sometimes and, with this being a book that is just shy of 700 pages long, some scenes could be shorter. There are two scenes, one physical and the other psychological, which might be a little bit too much for more sensitive tastes, though we recommend ploughing on as they are both worth the pay-off.

Guns of the Dawn is one of those books that you should set aside a quiet evening for; it’s a standalone story written in a linear sort of way. Combined with the author’s style, this means you’ll want to swallow it in one gulp. This is a book to enjoy as part of an evening’s self-indulgence and is strongly recommended.
 

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