The Spires have towered over the mist covered earth since anyone can remember. During that time, aristocratic families have ruled for generations. They have developed great marvels in science while fostering trade alliances. To help keep the peace, they also built great fleets of airships.
Captain Grimm commands one such ship. A merchant ship named Predator. He is fiercely loyal to Spire Albion and doing what he can to help disrupt the shipping lines of Spire Aurora. Unfortunately, during a skirmish, his ship took a huge hit and he and his crew were grounded. After helping to repel an attack, Captain Grimm is offered a chance to restore Predator to full fighting condition again by the Spirearch of Albion. The only thing he needs to do is join a team of agents and see them safely to the lower levels of Spire Albion. Something that is easier said than done.
While Grimm undertakes the dangerous task, he and the agents learn there’s more at stake here than a fight against Spire Aurora. An ancient evil that has been silent for ten thousand years is waking up.
I quite enjoyed Jim Butcher’s first foray into the steampunk genre. Each and every character we’re introduced to is given an amazing amount of depth. By the end of the book, you feel as if you could walk up to any one of them and start up a conversation as if they were real people.
Gwendolyn is wonderfully snooty and outspoken, expecting her lineage to protect her from everything. Bridget is from a minor noble house that’s dying out, and we join her as she learns how to gain confidence. Gwendolyn’s cousin, Benedict appears to be an easy going sort from the outside, but his own warriorborn lineage makes that a lie. Captain Grimm is incredibly loyal and brave, no matter what history says about him. His crew is fiercely loyal to him as well. That is definitely a sign of a great man. One of my favorite characters is Rowl, a golden cat who decides he too shall join the guard of Habble Morning with Bridget. This group, along with two others, makes up the team that tackles the Spirearch’s mission.
As an owner of two cats, I adored the cats in this book. Jim Butcher did a wonderful job weaving their independent personality through the story. Everything has to seem to be their idea, of course. They wouldn’t even consider taking any kind of orders from humans. It was grand fun watching the cats come to life.
The Aeronaut’s Windlass is a grand tale of loyalty, bravery, and doing whatever it takes to complete a mission they believe in. It’s full of action and breathtaking imagery. Even though the ideas and concepts Jim Butcher rolls out are new and unique, you have no problems picturing exactly what he means. The book was a wonderful read and I can’t wait for the next book in The Cinder Spires series.