First Light (Dawn of Steam #1) by Jeffrey Cook (Review by Valerie – #NerdGirlVal)

First Light

Title: First Light (Dawn of Steam #1

Author:  Jeffrey Cook 

Published Date: February 27th 2014

Genre:  Steampunk


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n 1815, in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, two of England’s wealthiest lords place a high-stakes wager on whether a popular set of books, which claim that the author has traveled to many unknown corners of the globe, are truth or, more likely, wild fiction. 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.


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***Valerie  – #NerdGirlVal’s  Review***
Gregory Conan Watts of 1815 is a reporter and was in the Napoleonic War. Sir James Coltrane owns a airship called Dame Fortuna and wore a steam-powered suit to fight in the war.
Two of England’s wealthiest Lords placed a high stake wager to see who’s team can map and cross the America’s east coast to west coast first, by way of Dr. Robert Bowe’s book. The Two men and Sir Coltrane’s sister, Jillian her cousin Harriet Wright and a Mr. Toomes were sent by Lord Donovan to recruit others for the mission.
This story is told by Dr. Cordelia Bentham-Watts, Gregory Conan Watts wife, from every detail and depth of his letters to her, journal Mr. Watts kept during the mission, letters to the London News Paper and Lord Donovan. Mr.Watts spared no detail in his writings. All the more you feel part of the journey.
It is written just as Mr. Watts wrote them in letter form. They cover the journey and adventures, war with Spain in Florida, Grand Parties with assigns to capture in New York City. A trip to New Orleans to prevent Spain from taking it over and to keep the pirates out of port. All this before they could even start their mission for Lord Donovan.
They add a bunch of characters to help with the mission and run the dirigible and learned a lot about each other that didn’t show on the surface. They meet a crazy old Professor that invents steam machines, big and small. They discovered the railroad and how far it went west. They meet a tribe of Indians in the Rocky Mountains.
As they mapped out the same path that Dr. Bowe took, you learn of their good and bad times and can they make it to the Pacific Coast where their first part of the mission finishes.
This was my first Steampunk book and at first I had a hard time getting into it, but as I read on and learned more about Steampunk and how it works, I liked it much better. If you like machines, adventure, and history, you will love this book!


***Review has been done in conjunction with Nerd Girl Official. For more information regarding our reviews please visit our Fan Site:***



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