Starry Night Sky with Bow

Dawn of Wonder


Have you ever wished you could capture a moment, but not just the moment, the feeling that made the moment what it was?

Dawn of Wonder was written to be an epic adventure and a far-reaching tale of mystery and love, but I wanted it to be more than that, I wanted to capture something I couldn’t quite define.

At first I thought it was atmosphere I was after – that wrap-around feeling that causes you to lose yourself within a story. As I wrote, I began to realise that, yes, it was that, but it was also more than that. It was something more engaging than atmosphere, more real than imagination that I was searching for. When I finally found it, I also found the title of the book.

Wonder and fantasy have much to do with each other. The fantasy genre, especially epic fantasy, opens a secret door to discovery on so many levels, from exploring the histories, hopes and motives of people to braving the shadows of lost and forbidden realms. One of the greatest things this genre has taught me is how to rekindle that sense of wonder. I might not actually be running my hand over the crumbling stone of ancient fortress walls, but I really am spellbound as I consider the possibilities behind the towering barrier. And I may not actually be standing in the forbidden shadows of the great northern forest, but there’s a prickle at the back of my neck none the less as leaves begin whispering to each other. In my imagination I experience all the emotions of life as well as the tingling of wonder – a voice returning from childhood like a lost friend, a voice roused from years of sleep.


(Above: The mystery in the Drumly forest)

Writing this book was a magical journey for me. It is my hope that readers will be taken on a similar journey and that Dawn of Wonder will be found a worthy contribution to the epic fantasy bookshelf.


(Above: The mountain fortress of Kultûhm)

Many Pairs of Eyes

It’s really difficult to spot the typos in our own writing, no matter how many revisions we do. As an English teacher, I’d pick up the errors in something I was marking almost without trying. When I review my own work, I’ll look at a sentence like “They jumped onto wagon” and my brain inserts the missing word without telling me. The trouble is that the correct sentence is in the back of my thoughts, and what my eyes are reporting is only a guide – I’m reading as much from the memory of what it should be as by sight. This is why I depend on many sets of eyes to spot the little typo-beasties that slip under my scrutiny.

The beta readers are all listed in the back of the book, but as people mail me to point out mistakes they’ve noticed, I’ll add them here. I am enormously grateful for those mails, so for the sharp eyes and the time taken to contact me, many thanks to:

Chris Dax, Jeff Thompson, Vernon Mitchell, Roy Miller, Bill Inman, Spencer Johnson, Glen Chung, Kiki Leon and Brenton Gabeler.

Reviews of Dawn of Wonder

“This is one of the best novels I’ve read all year. Readers will know what it’s like to be transported to a magical, compelling world within a book.” Five stars.
San Francisco Book Review.Full review

“An excellent fantasy coming of age story. Each of the characters is filled out with a range of emotions and actions. Similarly, their interactions with one another are filled with amusement and feeling. Renshaw’s world building and character development are just incredible. There were many times during the listen that I actually laughed out loud! It is definitely a long book, but it lets the reader soak in every part of it with all the detail. The plot is dynamic and there are many highs and lows for Aedan and his companions, which keep it from getting boring with its length. I actually wanted it to keep going! The end is satisfyingly set up for the next novel, which I’m really looking forward to.”
Audiobook Reviewer Full review

“I can’t describe the plot of Dawn of Wonder because it is very much its own story.  It’s the kind of story where you say “I think I’ll give this a try for three paragraphs and then move on if it doesn’t work out” only to find yourself unable to put it down even for your doctor’s appointment. It’s worth at least a look.  If it’s not for you, set it aside.  (That’s what I told myself.  Two days later I came up for air and have hardly stopped raving the book’s praises since.) I flat out love this book.”
Book in the Bag Full Review

“Renshaw’s talent for building unique worlds and characters, and simply letting them loose to face their circumstances, is on full display. Dawn of Wonder’s crisp flow coupled with constant plot and character development in a fascinating world will draw readers in for a wonderful reading experience.”
Recommended – The US Review of Books. Full review

“Mr. Renshaw’s writing is simply astounding. His elegant, poetic prose turned a very good story with themes that touched my heart into one that is wondrous. One of the finest fantasy novels I’ve read in the past few years, period.”
Davis Ashura, Award winning author of A Warrior’s Path. Full review

Dawn of Wonder foregoes ‘quick and saccharine’ for the satisfying choice of ‘long and compelling’, building the details of a vast production. I can’t wait for Book Two. If this first story is any indicator, it will be along the lines of a Robert Jordan ‘Wheel of Time’ epic series.”
D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review. Full review (scroll down)

347 thoughts on “Dawn of Wonder

  1. Walter Johnson

    The Dawn of Wonder was a great ride into new lands and new and interesting characters. It is nice to find a story teller that expresses romance and relationships without Fayetteville and easy sex. The pace was good. The people believable and the twist and turns maddening and enjoyable. I look forward to the next in the series.
    Walter J

  2. Linda Fulscher

    I, too, am awaiting the sequel to Dawn of Wonder, and I, too, will have to reread the first book in the epic if the second book is too long in coming. See, I’m a 60-year old (gasp) grandmother and am hoping to read the whole epic before I croak. So, please, Mr. Renshaw, get to writing and you will have made one grandmother happy.

  3. Mark, A Reader

    I found you through amazon books as I read a lot. The first book had a few teen angst moments early on that made me cringe but I became fulfilled with the world you created and the characters you developed. I started this book two days ago (19/11/17) and was just going to carry on to part two. The world you created has me entranced and I want to continue, as other people have mentioned I will have to reread the first if it is too long before the next instalment (hint hint). I realised book 2 was not available so this was not currently an option. I hope you are able to keep pursuing as a full time writer as your background has given you a great perspective of an audience. I hope this review reaches you as the praise it is supposed to be, please keep writing.

    yours as a keen reader.

  4. Stuart Shaffer

    Jon, its time to update your book progress. 12% is killing me! Let go for at least 13%, but 99% is preferable.

  5. Christopher Hauck

    I have loved reading for as long as I can remember. I was moved by books far more as a growing kid than I have been as an adult. I have often thought of the Wheel of Time as my favorite books as an adult. However, books like Ender’s game and The Pit Dragon Trilogy really hit on something in me while growing up and I’ve never quite had that again until now.
    The Dawn of Wonder not only brings you into this amazing world, it also brings itself back with you into our world. After reading this I couldn’t stop thinking about the book all year, but it went beyond that. I found myself reverted back to a younger mindset I’d not had for many years. This book will reawaken your longing for adventure, compassion for others, and ability to look at the world with an open perspective. I could not recommend this book enough to any reader young and old as this is truly a masterpiece and my new favorite book.

  6. LarsNull

    Adored the first book, then waited, and waited, and waited, and waited, and now, two and a half years later, the second book is released in alpha test. That’s -painful-, Jonathan. I very seldom reread books, but I find that I must reread your first novel because I have forgotten the characters and plot in that long time between the first two books. I am fairly certain that I will not wait through another eon for your third book, should there be one. Thank you for releasing it on Kindle Unlimited, the only way I can afford books on my limited income.

    1. Zagron

      Clearly you’ve never read, nor had to wait for: The wheel of time, The Dresden Files, The Name of the Wind, or numerous other books by authors who take their time.

  7. Ben Martindale

    I’m an old man and old reader . This book really touched me with interesting characters and interest in character . I will anxiously await the next book . As a former teacher and pastor , this is a book I would recommend to younger people who are thinking about what their lives should be . Please accept my gratitude for your work and my encouragement for you to write more .

    1. James

      I agree and this book is probably the best book I’ve read in a long time. I am a teen and I love to read books,I’ve read some good books. But this is by far the best book I’ve read. It really touched my heart. Not a lot books I read do that but this one did. I can’t wait for the next book to come out.

  8. Zageron

    Just re-listened to the book on audible, first time was earlier this year. It’s such a fantastic book, all of the building and build up to the last chapter, reading the entries, and then the final scene. It’s all so fulfilling and leaves you tingling and happy!

    Thank you for sharing such an excellent world and story. 🙂

  9. Maggie

    I really liked this first book. I like the world you’ve created and the characters are rich. You’ve done a good job of making us care about the main cast.

    spoiler alert!
    One of the things I don’t buy – that Aedan never recognizes his dad in outline or his voice. Really??!!! Please fix that as most people can discern that about people they are familiar with.
    1. Octavian

      Not really sure what you mean. I believe you are saying he never recognizes his father before a confrontation?

      spoiler alert!
      In chapter 63 it says “A third man approached with a deep stride. Aedan in-spite of his dizziness recognized him immediately.
      It was the man who called the warning. The one he’d assumed to be the mastermind, but now he began to hear the chimes of recognition from elsewhere from before the last gang round up, long before.”
      Then we learn its his father and he is all like “I try not to despise you but you’re determined to earn my hatred.”

      So if you mean recognition of his father as he does in this sentence, then I feel like the comment is redundant.
      It is possible I am confused on your POV though?

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