Tor, out now
An action-filled fantasy novel with a difference.
Guns of the Dawn, the new novel from Adrian Tchaikovsky, is something of a departure for the author of the well-received Shadows of the Apt series.
The land of Lascanne has been plunged into war by its king – a reaction to an act of regicide by its neighbour and long term ally, Denland. To start with, the people of Lascanne expect the war to result in an easy victory, but as time moves on and the draft begins to lay waste to the population, life gets ever more difficult.
When Emily Marshwic, daughter of a nobleman, answers the latest call, she believes that surely things must almost be over now – but learns all too quickly what the reality of life as a soldier in the Lascan army is.
Guns of the Dawn is a deceptive novel. Well written from the start, the book begins with Emily fighting for her life before moving back to the beginning of the crisis – and through the author’s use of Emily’s point of view we get to see the devastation caused both nationally and on a personal level. Yet, as we see Emily’s relationships suffer and fragment while she forges new ones in battle, we get to experience so much more. As we follow Emily’s progress through the novel we find ourselves rooting for her to survive, and to overcome overwhelming odds as she does so. By the time you reach the end of the book you’ll find yourself totally invested in how Emily fares, and in what the endgame will be.
Verdict: A fantasy novel that has enormous heart. 9/10