Today, for Book Review Wednesday, I have a book I’ve been looking forward to: the FINAL book in The Great Iron War series by Dean Wilson. I’ve read the books since the beginning, and I’m thrilled to have closure to the story of Jacob, Whistler, Rommond, and all the others.
The Resistance races against time to complete the missile-launcher known as the Hometaker, capable of opening a gateway to the land the Regime came from, and exposing the Iron Emperor for all the evils he has done.
Everything rests on the secrecy of the mission, but from day one tongues are wagging. The atmosphere is like dynamite. An overheard word could light the fuse. With no time left on the clock, General Rommond is forced to make an audacious plan: finish the construction of the Hometaker on the move, driving straight towards the enemy, who have assembled in unimaginable force.
The Great Iron War is coming to an end. It’s all or nothing—their world or ours.
My Review: 4 Stars
What I loved about this story: The circle is closed!
After years of reading these great books, I was happy to finally reach the end and receive that satisfying conclusion to the story. It did the rest of the series justice and closed the story in a way that I felt good about. Not necessarily a “happy ending”, but the fitting ending the series deserved.
I LOVED the various plot twists and turns in this book. I’m not going to spoil anything, but I’d have to say “I didn’t see that coming!” They totally caught me by surprise, and I found they made for a much more realistic plot.
What I didn’t love: I felt the book was a bit more “rushed” than the previous ones. There were parts that felt downright choppy and “first draft” than Dean’s usual writing style.
But all in all, it was a satisfying ending to a book series I’ve enjoyed from the very beginning. Can’t wait to see what comes next!
Here’s a Taste:
And so the fire came.
The first jet of flame reached out over thirty metres. There was no one in its path, but it fulfilled its aim: sending fear before them even faster. The light illuminated the black armour and black masks. Even the coverings of the eyes were dark. These troops did not really need to see. They were here to burn everything.
Rommond’s men split apart, spreading out as he gestured for them to take cover. They hid behind the upturned landships, but only those at the front of the battlefield. They could not retreat any further or they would leave the carrier exposed. If that was set alight, the aim of it all was lost.
Rommond used a rifle from one of his fallen comrades to make his first shot. It only had a single bullet left, with most already wasted on the mines, but it was enough. There were a lot of fallen rifles littered around the sand, and not enough hands to use them. The bullet struck one of the closest fire-flingers straight in the forehead. He halted suddenly, then toppled forward, still clutching his flamethrower. His mate instinctively unleashed a jet of flame before him, but was still out of range to hit the general.
Then the other Resistance fighters unleashed a spray of bullets into the oncoming force, killing several of them, making them look a little less daunting than they did before.
And then the gas came.
The first came in a barrel, launched from a modified artillery gun parked far back with the troop carriers, which formed a black wall across the horizon. The barrel burst open in the midst of the Resistance soldiers, swiftly unleashing a green cloud of vapour, which spread out in all directions, thick and blinding. They were now the vermin-killers, here to weed out the rats.
Rommond yanked open the escape hatch of the upturned landship he hid behind and crawled inside. On its side, it was difficult to get his bearings, but this was not the first time he was in a vehicle like this. He quickly rummaged through the debris, pushing the bodies of the driver and gunner out of the way. He was certain that there was a gas mask in there somewhere, but he could not find it. He could barely see anything. If it was not the night, which entered with him, it was the dark of the interior itself. Everything was charred from the explosion that knocked the vehicle over, even the faces of its unmoving occupants. Even the gas mask that he eventually put his fingers on. Much of it was burned clean through.
He clambered swiftly back outside, where the green cloud was expanding, and the black-masked horde was approaching. He could no longer see his companions, but he could hear periodic gunfire, along with the screams and shouts of someone, punctured by his vomiting. If he was lucky, he would vomit blood. It would be over quicker then. Yet it would never be over quick enough.
Rommond dived out into the clear air, dodging a wall of flame that spat out from a nearby gun, and charged towards another fallen landship. That one was less damaged than the previous, but it was a lot more out in the open, in the eyeline of the fire-flingers, and not long before it was in their jet-line as well. He pulled at the escape hatch door, but it would not budge. It was buckled slightly on one side. Brute force alone would not do it, and yet he had to try. He could already feel the good air fleeing from the battlefield, not just from his frantic tussle. He could already see the sky darkening, not just from the encroaching night.
He felt a sudden heat and only narrowly missed the lashing tongue of flame that came at him. It singed the whiskers of his moustache and left little embers in the rim of his cap. As he span away, he unleashed his pistol, firing two shots. It was more than he needed, he knew, but he was caught off guard. That would get you killed. Yet, having no bullets left would do it too.
The fire-flinger crashed to the ground, almost falling into his own flame. It was then that Rommond thought to grab the gas mask from the corpse. It remained just a thought, however, because another approached behind him, and another, both alive and breathing fire.
Rommond barely had time to pull the trigger before a stream of fire whisked by him as he ran. He was forced to dive into the toxic cloud, gasping one last puff of fresh air before he disappeared inside. From there, laying with his back on the ground, he could barely make out the shapes of people and objects outside. He had to hope they were as blinded by their goggles as he was by the stinging vapour. He also had to hope they did not stray too far, because he was going on guesswork now to fire his remaining bullets.
The first clearly hit, because he heard the squelch of flesh, and the squeal of the man it entered. The second struck metal, and the third seemed to make no noise at all. Who knew what it hit further afield. The fourth—there was no fourth, he realised, as the revolver clicked idly. He was out. He knew his pistol was out too. That one he had kept track of. There were cartridges and bullet boxes in the landships. He even recalled feeling one as he searched for the gas mask, but never thought to grab it in the frenzy.
And now his breath was out too.
He gasped, feeling the first needle-points of the gas prick away at his lungs. He coughed, then tried to disguise the cough, knowing it would lead the fire-flingers to him. He covered his mouth and nose with the edge of his coat and tried not to suck in any more of the noxious fumes, but his lungs chugged along like little pumps and pistons on autopilot. If he took a breath, he would soon die. Yet if he did not breathe, he would die even swifter.
Better to burn than go like this, he thought.
So he rolled back out into the open, where he was greeted with a breath of fire.
About the Author:
Dean F. Wilson was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1987. He started writing at age 11, when he began his first (unpublished) novel, entitled The Power Source. He won a TAP Educational Award from Trinity College Dublin for an early draft of The Call of Agon (then called Protos Mythos) in 2001.
He is the author of the Children of Telm epic fantasy trilogy and the Great Iron War steampunk series.
Dean also works as a journalist, primarily in the field of technology. He has written for TechEye, Thinq, V3, VR-Zone, ITProPortal, TechRadar Pro, and The Inquirer
Find the book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hometaker-Steampunk-Dystopian-Action-Adventure-ebook/dp/B01N6CF5VT/
Read his thoughts on his website: http://www.deanfwilson.com
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