Guns Of The Dawn

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Books -

Step­ping out of the Shad­ows

Re­lease Date: 12 Fe­bru­ary

700 pages | Hard­back/ ebook Au­thor: Adrian Tchaikovsky Pub­lisher: Tor

Adrian Tchaikovsky’s

lat­est fan­tasy novel leaves be­hind his popular Shad­ows Of The Apt se­ries. The au­thor’s work­ing ti­tle for Guns Of The Dawn was A Woman’s War, and this neatly sums up a story that Tchaikovsky de­scribes as “Jane Austen meets Bernard Corn­well by way of Ur­sula le Guin” – a heady mix of ro­mance, mus­kets and magic.

Emily Marsh­wic is the woman in ques­tion, drafted into a civil war against the neigh­bour­ing Den­lan­ders be­cause all the able- bod­ied men have al­ready been called to fight. She leaves be­hind two sis­ters, a big old house and the un­wanted at­ten­tion of the slimy Mr North­way, swap­ping them for a swampy bat­tle­field, slow- fir­ing mus­kets and mys­te­ri­ous war­locks. For the lat­ter, think Mr Darcy with fire­balls.

Guns Of The Dawn is slow to ig­nite, more plod­ding Pride And Prej­u­dice at first than Corn­well’s Sharpe. But once the mus­ket balls start to fly, Tchaikovsky weaves to­gether a story that keeps you hooked with breath­less battle scenes, well- drawn char­ac­ters and an un­easy feel­ing in your gut that while Marsh­wic and her red- coated com­rades are win­ning bat­tles, they’re slowly los­ing the war.

Don’t baulk at the men­tion of ro­mance – it’s a small part of the story and is as primly and prop­erly han­dled as in any of Austen’s tales. Or “plod­ding ”. Judge this book by its first 160 pages and you’ll miss out on an en­gross­ing story, beau­ti­fully told. Dean Evans Tchaikovsky’s dream cast­ing in­cludes “Robert Car­lyle as tat­tooed scout and gen­eral lu­natic Mas­ter Sergeant Mallen”.

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