Book Reviews – “Ash & Quill” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Rachel Caine (http://www.rachelcaine.com/). Ms. Caine (aka Roxanne Longstreet and Roxanne Conrad) has published more than 45 novels.
I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in an Alternate History where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived and now hordes, and controls all knowledge. The primary character is Jess Brightwell, a young man who has grown up being able to enjoy and treasure books. He has been in that unique position as his family are smugglers, and the black market trade in books is their specialty.
Brightwell and his group of friends and allies have fled from London and find themselves in the besieged American village of Philadelphia. They are taken prisoner by the Burners, rebels who would rather see books burn than turned over to the Great Library. Still sought by the Great Library, Brightwell and friends must find a way to escape Philadelphia, elude the Great Library army that surrounds the city and take the battle back to Alexandria.
I really enjoyed the 7.5 hours I spent reading this 351 page alternate history. The story incorporates technology of fantasy/science fiction, as well as having a steampunk feel. This is the third book of the series and I did have some problem with backstory. It would have read better if I had read the other two novels in the series first. I do really like the characters and the concept of the Great Library of Alexandria being the center of power. The chosen cover art is OK. I give this novel a 4.4 (rounded down to a 4) out of 5.
My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).