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Publisher's Summary

"Narrator Kate Reading's steady voice powers this exciting airship adventure...Reading also captures everyday life amid nations constantly at war, adrenaline-filled skirmishes and battles, and mind-numbing bureaucracy." — AudioFile Magazine

Robyn Bennis' The Guns Above is an adventurous military fantasy debut about a nation's first female airship captain.

They say it's not the fall that kills you.

For Josette Dupre, the Corps' first female airship captain, it might just be a bullet in the back.

On top of patrolling the front lines, she must also contend with a crew who doubts her expertise, a new airship that is an untested deathtrap, and the foppish aristocrat Lord Bernat, a gambler and shameless flirt with the military know-how of a thimble. Bernat's own secret assignment is to catalog her every moment of weakness and indecision.

So when the enemy makes an unprecedented move that could turn the tide of the war, can Josette deal with Bernat, rally her crew, and survive long enough to prove herself?

©2017 Robyn Bennis (P)2017 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"Full of sass and terrific characters. Great storytelling. Loved it." (Patricia Briggs)
"The audiobook was [a] great listen because of the superb narration. As always, Kate Reading nailed the performance, her voice being the perfect match for Josette's poise and strength." ( The BiblioSanctum)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • a
  • jackson, US, Canada
  • 09-19-17

Well written and narrated

Any additional comments?

This was fantastic! A witty musket/steam punk book with a determined and smart heroine and a number of other 3 dimensional characters (I love the ensign). The dialog here is superb and the author has a gift for humour even in the midst of truly gruesome and horrific events.

This is not a book which elides the horrors of war but it does manage to find humanity and moments of grace even amongst the worst of it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Want to know how an airship works?

Droll and very, very believable as far as characters and story are concerned. Excellent narration from Kate Reading as usual. If you want to know how to captain an airship, this is your book. If engineering and mechanics don't appeal, I would skip it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A good tale well told. A very enjoyable read

Strong characters that you grow to love. Well developed story and world with characters that grow with the world around them. Quick and dry wit that at times made me laugh out loud.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

like drinking diet coke when you expected regular

it had a great premise and who can't get behind period steampunk. this book is filled with airship battles and gunfights and I really enjoyed those. Unfortunately, that's all this book has going for it. what really sticks out is the lack of character development. the most well developed character in the book was the MILF loving aristocrat that had a money problem, and he wasn't even the MC the only thing she has going for her is that she's a woman in the army and was poor growing up. there is no real emotional connection to any of the notable characters and if the MC had died mid way through, I don't think I would have been upset or felt any sense of loss.
If you're looking for realistic airship combat scenes and enough story to connect them together then this is a great book.
if you're looking for a compelling story driven by action scenes and rich dialogue between diverse and endearing characters fighting not only for their nation but for equality, then I would suggest giving this book a pass until it's on sale.
the only thing that got me through was the exceptional narrator!

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  • CT
  • Ashland, Ky USA
  • 01-25-18

Amazing steampunk adventure

THE GUNS ABOVE is an excellent steampunk novel which manages to include a lot of the tropes of the genre while combining them with an action movie. The book has its flaws: it tends to take the view of the aristocracy as a complete bunch of mouth-breathing incompetents and the heroine is unlikable at times. On the other hand, there's a lot of entertaining bits and a surprising bit of character development from one of the antagonists.

The premise of the book is Josette Dupre, Auxiliary Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, oversteps her rank after the death of her captain to command her ship in battle. This results in a resounding victory and her position as the first female airship captain.

Unfortunately, her victory also humiliates the head of the Garnian military. Assigned an experimental airship which may fall out of the sky at any time, she's ready and willing to prove herself in action against the invading army of Vinzhalia. Unfortunately, she's been assigned a spy in the foppish Lord Bernat who has the job of digging up dirt to ruin her career before it's even begun.

Josette is a hard nosed character and deeply bitter about her position. Having worked incredibly hard to move through her position, the fact she's being held down because of her sex is less galling than the fact the people doing so barely remember doing so. Her contempt for the nobility and the society she fights for is oftentimes fascinating but also a bit depressing. It's hard to root for Garnia when they're a nation of such jackasses. The only real thing they have over Vinzhalia is they're probably no worse.

Lord Bernat is an intriguing character as while he starts as a gross parody of a nobleman: spoiled, lazy, not terribly bright, and addicted to older women--he's also a master rifleman. Gradually, we get a good deal of insight that provides him with a chance to grow and expand. While not a big fan of "the military will straighten out a character", I think it was believable here. I also like his and Josette's "not relationship" that I hope turns into something more.

Much attention is paid to the specifics of flight and how battles between airships might be waged. I enjoyed these technical aspects and how the various things which might go wrong actually do go wrong. The action scenes are quite memorable and exciting as well as terrible. I also like how the dark side of them is also treated. Our protagonists winning isn't all glory and honor since the people they're killing are just like them. They also suffer casualties which can be horribly brutal like individuals losing their hands.

In conclusion, I really enjoyed this novel and am definitely going to pick up the sequel. The audiobook narration is tip top too.

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Sassy characters and airship combat

A perfect balance of great characters and well researched airship technical details. Plus, Kate Redding does a fantastic job reading it.

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Napoleonic air war at its best

I really enjoyed this book.It is an imaginative account of what Napoleonic War might have been like had armies possessed airships. My only real complaint about the book is it felt like a pilot for a television series where the two principal characters were revealed and the scene was set, but nothing more. Hopefully this book is just the first in a series .

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Amazing Book!

Can't remember when I had a book nail it like this from story to the narration.
Kate Reading was perfect for this novel!

It is not even too steampunky, if you are concerned about that. This was so good, I am emailing the author to tell her as much. And I don't do that kind of thing...

Can't WAIT for Book 2!

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A great adventure in military airship combat

A great little adventure and wonderful characters along for the ride. The overtones and undertones of what people say verses their true meaning is wonderful. The description is fairly accurate and I wish I had listened sooner.

Haven't read many books about airships and trying to fight the enemy as well as keeping a crew alive. (This actually makes number 2). It inspires that feel of adventure and tension found in naval combat adventures and pirate books.

I enjoyed this novel for the same reason I enjoy The Expance series. The danger is always high and the science is hard. Math will save your life!
Now I don't know if the science or math is accurate per say, but it is presented as true and kept at the forefront of danger the characters must respect to stay alive. Weight and the distribution of it is a big factor of running an airship and always at the forefront of life aboard.

Now I will say this. A few sites and comments of this book described it as a romance adventure, which it is not. It is a military fantasy throughout. The idea of a supposedly​ romantic subplot undercuts the characters and belittles their growth and development. The two main characters are male and female, but they don't fall in love by the end or have a romantic tension. They gain a respectful understanding of each other and a battle born friendship. Now this could be developed later in the series, but by the end the are not swooning in each other embrace. The act more as friends or siblings and have fought and ran into danger side by side. So if you are on the sidelines about this book because of the idea it is a romance in disguise, fear not.