First Light is an epistolary novel, told primarily through the eyes of former aide-de-camp Gregory Conan Watts, describing the journeys of the airship Dame Fortuna and its crew through journals and letters to his beloved fiancee.
The first recruit is, necessarily, the airship's owner: war hero, famed genius, and literal knight in steam-powered armor Sir James Coltrane. Persuading him to lend his talents and refitted airship to the venture requires bringing along his sister, his cousin, and the crew that flew with him during the Napoleonic Wars. Only with their aid can they track down a Scottish rifleman, a pair of shady carnies, and a guide with a strong personal investment in the stories.
When they set out, the wild places of the world, including the far American West, the Australian interior, darkest Africa, and other destinations are thought to be hostile enough. No one expects the trip to involve a legendary storm - or the Year Without a Summer of 1815-1816. The voyage is further complicated by the human element. Some parties are not at all happy with the post-war political map. Most problematic of all, the crew hired by the other side of the wager seem willing to win by any means necessary.
Dawn of Steam: First Light follows these adventurers, as they open up the world. In the process, their journey helps lay the foundations for an age of enlightenment and technology to come.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.68(d)|
About the Author
Co-contributor Sarah Symonds also lives in Washington. Born and raised in Seattle, she left for college and promptly came back. Sarah has been writing for fun since high school and tends towards short-shorts or novels. When not working on her own novels, Sarah enjoys costuming, fiber arts, and making Jeff explain football.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Dawn of Steam: First Light is an early 1800's Steampunk novel. The book is set up as a compilation of letters, journal entries, and other correspondences between the characters in the book, mainly Mr. Watts. This is the book's strength as well as its weakness. I loved the idea of doing a non-narrative, non-first-person, non-omniscient novel. It gave the story a very different feel, almost like reading history, or a real research paper. The down side was that the main character, Mr. Watts, was exceptionally dry. The first 150 pages are about how everyone dressed, how well-mannered or ill-mannered they were, how everyone fit in socially, and what was proper as well as what was not. I understand that there is quite a following for this as Downton Abby is like this and is hugely popular right now. But it's just not my taste in books. Once you get through the very long and boring set-up the story is actually quite good. Mr. Cook stays consistent with his characters. I know that a lot of people don't see the value in consistency, but having read a lot of Indie works lately, I can say that this is a rare gift. His characters, though a bit dry, are like real people. They don't suddenly change. Some have hidden secrets (the story wouldn't be fun if they didn't) but they are true to who they are. Mr. Cook's writing is true to the era. The tone is correct, and the history (except the parts which are intentionally changed for the sake of the story) is accurate. The story is a good one. At first I thought it was a copycat of "Around the World in 80 Days", but it is oh so different. The premise is that of a bet, but instead of "how fast can you get around the world," it's "did a famous explorer really do all he claims he did." And the end leaves the series open to several sequels. If you like Steampunk, and you like the intricacies propriety in 1800's British culture, you'll love the book.
Early on I’m exposed to Watts’ intentions to his recipient as well as his intentions on his impending journey and I’m hooked. His quest is exciting and he hasn’t even departed yet. It takes a bit of reading to get into the action but I found a lot of humor in Watts’ observations of the other people surrounding him, which made the read quite fun. The book is very well spoken and paints a vivid and fun picture for the reader in a style of writing I haven’t before seen which makes it all the more enjoyable for me. Cook manages to merge futuristic technology with a time behind us – making for a fascinating experience.
I received this book free from the author in return for a fair and honest review. This final book in the Dawn of Steam trilogy gives us much more of the characters that we have grown to love. We see them through their final struggles and into their lives after their journey finally ends. I'm not sure it ends how we may have expected it, at least not the way I expected, but it did end exactly how it should have. Great job all around on this unique and intriguing series. Thank you Jeffrey Cook for sharing your work with us mere mortals. I look forward to starting Sound & Fury: Shakespeare Goes Punk next.
When I first started reading this book, I was sort of prepared for the fact it’s written in the form of journal entries and letters. At first, I was leery of reading it because I’ve attempted to read other books in this format before and was unable to. However, Jeffrey Cook and Sarah Symonds pulled it off brilliantly. Honestly, I was surprised at how well it was done. Another interesting thing is, I’m a fast reader. I can zip through a book in a single evening without too many problems. With this book, I slowed way down and took my time. Each journal entry and letter evoked powerful images that demanded my full attention. So I took my time and savored every word. I’ve never read steampunk before, so this was all new to me. I’m glad there are at least 2 more books for this series as I’m excited to continue reading. Jeffrey and Sarah make an excellent team.