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Summary

Short-listed for the 2016 British Fantasy Society Award for Best Novel.

Guns of the Dawn is a pacey, gripping fantasy of war and magic from Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning author Adrian Tchaikovsky.

The first casualty of war is truth....

First, Denland's revolutionaries assassinated their king, launching a wave of bloodshed after generations of peace. Next they clashed with Lascanne, their royalist neighbour, pitching war machines against warlocks in a fiercely fought conflict.

Genteel Emily Marshwic watched as the hostilities stole her family's young men. But then came the call for yet more Lascanne soldiers in a ravaged kingdom with none left to give. Emily must join the ranks of conscripted women and march towards the front lines.

With barely enough training to hold a musket, Emily braves the savage reality of warfare. But she begins to doubt her country's cause, and those doubts become critical. For her choices will determine her own future and that of two nations locked in battle.

©2017 Adrian Tchaikovsky (P)2017 Macmillan Digital Audio

What listeners say about Guns of the Dawn

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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Not for me

I really enjoyed this as a printed book, but I disliked the voice of the narrator of this audio more and more as I continued. I just didn't think it matched the material at all. Others may disagree, I suppose. I will return this.

4 people found this helpful

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Slow burner

This book is really good. However two things, one it takes ages for the book to actually kick off, reckon half way through is when it got really interesting. Performance was not the best choice in my opinion.

3 people found this helpful

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Long and underwhelming

I have listened to dogs of war which I liked and children of time which I thought was alright. This one is much worse the storyline is indifferent and unnecessarily protracted. The voice of the narrator is grating which makes the main character unlikeable. I bought as a deal otherwise I wouldn't be happy

2 people found this helpful

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Utterly phenomenal

My book of the year (that I read this year obviously). Great setting, characters and narration, pretty much flawless.

1 person found this helpful

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Poignant dramatisation of reality

Another brilliantly crafted novel by Adrian Tchaikovsky. Under the fiction it perfectly illustrates the lies, deceit and artificial patriotism or loyalty used as the foundation and justification for all conflicts since time out of mind.

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Thoroughly enjoyable

This was excellent. The prose was delightful, the reading performance excellent, and the story was well-rounded and heartfelt. Beautiful work.

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excellent story of war

I really loved this story of Emily and her experiences in a brutal war. Very well written and read.

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Wonderful

I’m not sure quite how to describe this. It’s a Great War story and a great romance. Tchaikovsky is quickly becoming my favourite author. His range is superb and this fantastic standalone story is a gift you should not miss out on.

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A rich and welcoming story

It is a fascinating read. The way Adrian takes your through the versions events does not present any drag. Rather, every page and every aspect of the story seems to be well placed and on purpose.

It is a really lovely read (or listen).

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slow and steady

Didnt enjoy it as much as I'd hoped... disappointed by storyline as took far too long to get going and felt like the ending was drawn out unnecessarily across 4hrs.
thankfully the authors style does improved as I've listened to 4 of his previous works and had been very impressed.

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  • M. McCormick
  • 27-01-18

Stand alone book

I truly wish more authors would follow Mr. Tghaikovsky’s lead and write strand alone books that did not end with some minor character development left open: which is a sure hint of a future book. This is not YA, not gory, not dark, not full of offensive language or warped minds and deeds. This is an easy listen with interesting character that wraps up nicely in the end. I do not need a continued story for Emily, I need more great stories like this.

41 people found this helpful

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  • david
  • 10-05-18

Pride and Prejudice without the good characters

Short version is this is a period romance, not a war story or fantasy. The performance was outstanding. The writing felt like he took the characters from Pride and Prejudice, got rid of the father and the mother and Mr.Darcy, and tried to drop them into another setting. He even included the clueless little sister who runs of with a brigand and has to be rescued. Mix in some Dickensian villains and now you know what you are getting.
The story was good and PG. while the idea was interesting it felt cliche.

9 people found this helpful

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  • AmazonCustomer
  • 16-07-18

Takes forever to get interesting, but finally does

The book overall is decent. However the first 2-3 hours seem to drag forever. If i weren't on a long road trip and no other books to listen to, I probably would not have made it through. I am rather glad I did, because after they go off to war the book begins to pick up pace and in character development. I liked the way it ended, even if it was pretty clear that was the way it would. It surely wasn't the "shocker" that other reviewers have said it was. overall, I'd say its worth a listen if youre willing to drag through the beginning.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Robin
  • 30-03-18

Beautiful writing but too harrowing for me

This book probably deserves five stars. It’s beautifully written, and the characters and plot are complex and well-developed. But the book is absolutely devoid of any humor or levity. I found it terribly depressing, complete with echoes of WWII-style genocide. And the main character became a little too unbelievable in the end. I prefer books with at least a ray of sunshine and some wry humor, so while I appreciated the quality, in the end it just left me depressed.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Tina
  • 23-11-17

A Rare Gem!

Anyone that says this novel isn't good and that its not worth reading has no idea what good storytelling is, this author does such an amazing job that from the very beginning I was mesmerized and stayed that way throughout. The details of the war, the way people acted and reacted was what I can only imagine war would feel like, I felt that I was there on the battlefield with them, watching the carnage first hand. It Was a beautiful heartfelt story, with plenty of action, and bloodshed, it was an all around great read and I'm so glad that I gave it a chance. The Only thing I felt was lacking was the love story part, I felt the ending on that front could have been so much more but in another aspect maybe not. The Narrator was amazing, and done a wonderful job so all around it is so much worth your time and credit. Give It a chance you won't be disappointed!!!

8 people found this helpful

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  • SKP
  • 29-05-18

Great World Building, So-So Story

I recently read Children of Time, and it blew my mind — one of my favorite books in a long while. I loved it so much I decided to check out Tchaikovsky’s other works. This one had pretty good reviews so I gave it a whirl. And… sigh.

Here’s what was great:

The narrator. Good performance, food character voices without being annoying, lovely diction.

World building. Super detailed and rich, in the civilized places (estates and towns and such) and especially in the not-so-civilized ones (lookin at you, swamps).

What I didn’t love:

The love story / stories. Found them predictable and boring.

The beginning and end — basically all the non-war parts — I found draggy and tedious. I had no interest in the main character’s family (in fact I found both sisters to be quite annoying) and also had a hard time caring about her backstory.

At the end of the day, the gender stereotypes and goo-goo-ga-ga king worship rubbed me the wrong way, and I couldn’t get past it. That’s what I loved about Children of Time — pure sci-fi, gender issues either taking a back seat or turned on their heads.

I will say this though — throughout this story I could see the seeds of what became Children of Time. Pretty cool.

I recommend this if you like cool battles, solid world building, and early military strategy. If you’re looking for fantasy, this isn’t really that (although there are some wizards). I don’t regret listening to this, but I’m not telling all my friends about it either.

Happy reading!

6 people found this helpful

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  • Joe Chad
  • 29-01-18

Pride and Prejudice and War

When I first started reading this book, the first thing I noticed and couldn't get out of my head, is that this novel bares some striking resemblances to "Pride and Prejudice". The setting and era of time feels almost identical, something like early Elizabethian England. Also, the idea of several sisters making their way through the world, and the stories that surround them is the central premise of the aforementioned novel. However, after this point the novel loses most of the other similarities, there is virtually no violence in "Pride and Prejudice" and the same cannot be said for this war torn book.

Mr. Tchaikovsky crafts a story of both exquisite beauty and tragedy at the same time. The pacing of this novel is perfect , and the same can be said for the writing, which borders on a poetic grace at times. The entire book is centralized around a pair of countries at war, which none of the soldiers or civilians seem to understand or agree upon the purpose of. The book is unlike that of many fantasy war novels, in that there is no glory in this war, only ruthless, desperate survival. The war is one long slog, which decimates both country's populations, and virtually does nothing else. Mr. Tchaikovsky does his best to show us the true vision of war, and what it does to individuals who participate in it. Despite this grim topic, there is still a special beauty in the lives of the people involved in this conflict, which is shown in the friendship they have for one another and the little things they do to try and make their lives somewhat normal amid all of the tragedy. Tchaikovsky does a masterful job of juggling both sides of this conflict, the nameless, faceless travesty of war, and the sentient, living people who fight to survive every day. This perfect novel is capped by an ending as predictable as it is fitting, and which shows the resilience of man and his or her ability to make tough decisions even if they know they are right. For me personally I had the ending of this book figured out about three quarters of the way through the book, and this knowledge did not detract in the slightest from the swan song of words Mr. Tchaikovsky treated me to.

As a last note the narrator was good if not amazing, and she didn't really hurt or hinder the story at all. This book was a masterpiece of both literature and storytelling in my personal opinion, but I will say the pace is not especially fast and for some readers the speech patterns of the characters may be grating. However, if you are looking for a cultured, gorgeous book, that really makes one appreciate excellent characters, the hardships of war, and mouthwatering prose, this is definitely the book for you.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Matthew
  • 18-04-18

The sample is enough to convince you to buy.

208, I counted it. I have finished 208 books since the last time I had one this good (Seveneves). Totally different settings, somewhat similar themes, definitely as amazing.

Let me tell you about this book. It follows Emily Marshwic with no shifting character perspectives first of all. It starts with her in a firefight in a jungle swamp and it took only a few minutes of this book's riveting sample to convince me to IMMEDIATELY buy it and continue where the sample left off. After this enrapturing start to the book, it bounces back to a few months prior to when Emily was part of the gentry instead of a soldier. From here, the book maintains momentum and never stops surprising or gets boring until the story catches up to that intro chapter (probably not a quarter of the way in). At which point it stays just as mesmerizing as the sample and first chapter was. All the way to the end, not once did I dislike this book, which is something that not even the above referenced Seveneves can claim.

This book is technically fantasy, but I find that misleading. The world and countries are fictional, but they could just as easily be as real as all the weapons and other aspects portrayed. The war setting felt like World War I with Civil War technology, and as for the warlocks mentioned in the synopsis, they could just as easily be replaced with flamethrower users. The magic aspect is barely touched upon. Frankly everything is both realistic and believable. Not once was my suspension of disbelief tested.

Something that bears repeating, I saw a reviewer mention that they were happy that the book is standalone and not part of a series. While I dearly want more time with Emily, I'm satisfied at the end and appreciate not having to slog through a series that would muddle the amazingness of this book.

So in conclusion, if you want a riveting war story of an amazing character that feels like it could be a true story, that doesn't once play into tired cliches, and maintains your undivided attention, then GET THIS BOOK!

5 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Alex
  • 09-11-17

A brilliant author but not a brilliant book

A slow, verbose, and relatively bland book from an author who certainly has been brilliant previously.

Hopefully we will get to see his true talent once again in the future, for now though I suggest skipping this.

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Grace Ausley
  • 30-03-18

Solid, Original and Riveting

This is a solid 3 1/2 stars rounded up, military style fantasy novel that is very character focused. My second standalone novel from the author, this is another solid book that demonstrates a strong understanding of character.

Guns of the Dawn demonstrates the horror of war for the sake of a ruler or a nation’s pride, and how often misinformation controls the conflict and how a misled people can fanatically follow a cause simply out of sheer willful belief. It strongly demonstrates the evil that one person can cause when an entire people follow them blindly, and the injustice that can come from such a following.

The main characters felt very real and fleshed out, and the author did a great job of depicting the female POV in my opinion, making the main character a warrior without losing their femininity. The ending is definitely not your typical heroic fantasy fare, yet feels very satisfying.

4 people found this helpful