Jan 032024

Shelf Awareness: A secret superweapon capable of wiping out entire populations tips a world into full warfare in the action-packed The Olympian Affair, second in the steampunk Cinder Spires series from Jim Butcher (The Aeronaut’s Windlass).

Humanity has long lived in the Spires, high above the dangers of the planet’s surface. Fleets of airships sail among them, powered by ether and carrying out trade–and, of course, war. The Spire of Aurora’s armada has unleashed a new weapon that has completely destroyed some smaller outposts, and it won’t be long before they take on more ambitious targets. Spire Albion will need all its diplomatic force at the upcoming trade summit at Spire Olympia in order to gather allies to stand against them, but there may be dissent growing in the Auroran ranks. Not everyone is comfortable with wielding Spire-destroying weapons.

The result is a thrilling tale of high-stakes duels, monstrous creatures, and diplomatic negotiations featuring a wide cast of appealing characters, including some talkative cats. Although this is the second in the series, new readers and those who haven’t read The Aeronaut’s Windlass since its release in 2015 will quickly be able to orient themselves. The multiple plot threads, including battles between airships and opponents facing each other down with crossed blades, sometimes move around so much that a chapter’s cliffhanger may dangle for some time, but any frustration is purely due to the successful creation of suspense. Readers will be eager to see where the series goes next.