Guns of the Dawn by Adrian Tchaikovsky is a brilliant standalone novel in a market saturated with trilogies and sagas. I can’t state just how brilliant it is.

To begin with the main character Emily Marshwic, the middle daughter of two dead parents, is a complex and understandable character. Born into the gentry of a wealthy and heavily industrial country she has a rose tinted outlook on life. Believing that the war which grips her country is a crusade against the Republicans of Denland.

Lascanne, Emily’s country, is in the grips of a war of attrition with its former allie Denland. The people of Denland have overthrown their king and now march on their sister country in a bid to bring down the monarchy to end the time of Kings. A storyline borrowed directly from history as is much of the inspiration throughout.

The war for Emily is a long time coming, not that she doesn’t feel its effects, but is a mystifying and daunting experience for her. The action is brutal and expertly executed, the imagery masterfully used to bring you into the bloodshed. So much so that you can expect to smell the gunpowder and hear the shots.

After reading this I will definitely be reading more from Tchaikovsky, onto the Shadows of the Apt! Buy this and buy it now, I’ll even help: