Series: Dawn of Steam #3
Genres: steampunk, alternative history
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.
1817 sees the first signs of recovery from the Year Without a Summer – and the beginning of the end of the journey of the airship Dame Fortuna. The crew first accept a unique offer from the Shogun of Japan, traveling with the Dutch contingent from the island of Dejima into the isolationist nation. From there, their travels will take them through the English colonies in Australia and India, into darkest Africa, and eventually home to England. Along the way, confrontations loom, and both personal secrets and national conspiracies are uncovered. By the time a future queen is born, nothing less than the fate of England and the direction of world events are at stake. Dawn of Steam: Rising Suns is an alternate-history, emergent Steampunk epistolary novel, following after Dawn of Steam: First Light and Dawn of Steam: Gods of the Sun.
Like the other books in this series, Dawn of Steam: Rising Suns was well-researched and well-written. While the story itself is an alternative timeline of events that happened in real life, Cook and Symonds use a lot of real information from history to create this saga. They also continue to use the journal and letter style of writing as the other books.
The action scenes and events that unfold have the reader held captive as each event unfolds. However, as well-written as this entire series is, it’s not for the faint of heart. It’s not a fast read. Each of these books is meant to be savored and enjoyed at a slow pace. However, none of them have failed to hold my attention across the several days each book takes to read.
Gaining an insight into the history of Japan, India, and Africa in this book was wonderful. It’s like learning your world history in a much better way than a school could even think of teaching it. Throw in the fantastic idea of dirigibles and multi-shot weapons with moving battle suits, and it will keep many lovers of history and steampunk deep in the book while you learn something on the side.
I have recommended, and will continue to do so, this entire series to multiple people. While purists of historical fiction might not like the inclusion of random things that never happened, it’s still a terrific read. The entire series is also a gentle introduction to the Steampunk genre. I know it has fueled my interest in this genre and I read as much of it as I can now. So, good job, Jeffrey Cook and Sarah Symonds! You have a winner here.