The Guns Above

Robyn Bennis. Tor, $25.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-7653-8876-6
Napoleonic military fiction gets a steampunk spin in this debut novel of battling airships and an embattled captain. Josette Dupre, who’s been made the first female commander in the Garnian Royal Aerial Signal Corps thanks to her heroic wartime action, is handed a “revolutionary” new design (which is to say, a dangerous untested prototype) by a senior general who wants to get rid of her. With her well-trained crew, including the general’s snitching nephew, Dupre improves the design, uncovers a second-front invasion by the enemy, wins over the spy, and makes a spectacular last-stand defense of her homeland. Bennis writes a pleasing mix of banter (“Hoping to leave a good-looking corpse?” “I couldn’t avoid it if I wanted to”) and gritty battle scenes, combining both the adrenaline rush of combat and its horrifying results, and never indulging in too-sudden social victories that might cheapen the long struggle against embedded prejudice. Agent: Paul Lucas, Janklow & Nesbit Associates. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/13/2017
Release date: 05/02/2017
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-7653-8878-0
Ebook - 978-0-7653-8877-3
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