Who does not like a great steampunk novel? In By Fire Above, you do not juts get a steampunk story but one laced with the darkness of war. For in this tale, it is kill or be killed, with little time left for life itself.
Decidedly different than what I was expecting, this book hooked me from chapter one. It probably would have been even easier had I read the first book in this “Signal Airship” series.
As far as sequels go, this is an easy standalone work. I can truly attest to that because, as I stated earlier, I failed to read book one, titled The Guns Above. Robyn Bennis spins a wondrous tale of war, love, and feminism. For in this series, the protagonist is Josette Dupre, and she is the first woman to command an airship in the Garnian Signal Airship Corp. Tough as nails and commanding the respect of her entire crew, she handles everything the war throws at her with the same surgical precision one would expect of a courageous captain in what is arguably the most dangerous branch of the military. Possibly the only thing that would be a detriment for her is her inability to hold her tongue. Her biting comments and quick wit endear her not at all to her superiors but her results seem to make it easier for them to overlook any issues.
This story finds her teasing and provoking one Bernat, a local lord with an agenda all his own. Against all odds, a tense friendship grows between them. One that is soon tested when Bernat finds that his new friend the captain is enamored with his own brother. And while at first the brother, named Roland and elder of the two, seeks but a mere conquest, he finds himself wanting more. This piece of the story weaves itself through the primary plot and slowly binds these characters whilst always seeming to be on the edge of destroying everything they have built. But then, this sort of thing would be complicated, would it not?
The book revolves around the war but really creates a multifaceted background around which a multitude of stories are told. For instance, the mother of our esteemed captain is trapped behind enemy lines. And through the contact of the two brothers, Josette is able to meet and entreat the King to make a move towards freeing the town in which her mother resides. Well-laid plans are created and soon enough discarded information obtained turns out to be inaccurate. Bloody fights, pitched battles, and betrayal all play prominent parts in this amazing adventure featuring a well-rounded and diverse crew.
There is enough action to appease even the biggest fan of blood and guts style writing. It is, as I said, tempered with a touch of love and more than a lot of technical information on airships and weaponry. I was awestruck at how involved I was with the characters, how endearing they had become and so quickly, too! I highly recommend this title and I am quite sure after I read the first one, I will feel these about it. Make your way to your local bookstore or hit up Amazon in the links above to grab your copy. I always love finding a new author to read, don’t you?
By Fire Above is the rip-roaring new adventure in Robyn Bennis’s Signal Airship military fantasy series that Patricia Briggs hails as “full of sass and terrific characters.”
“All’s fair in love and war,” according to airship captain Josette Dupre, until her hometown of Durum becomes occupied by the enemy and her mother a prisoner of war. Then it becomes, “Nothing’s fair except bombing those Vins to high hell.”
Before she can rescue her town, however, Josette must maneuver her way through the nest of overstuffed vipers that make up Garnia’s military and royal leaders in order to drum up support. The foppish and mostly tolerated Mistral crew member Lord Bernat steps in to advise her, along with his very attractive older brother.
Between noble scheming, under-trained recruits, and supply shortages, Josette and the crew of the Mistral figure out a way to return to Durum”•only to discover that when the homefront turns into the frontlines, things are more dangerous than they seem.