Thursday, 26 July 2012

Steampunk Thursday: Pax Britannia Reviews

It would appear that some people are still only just discovering the joys of my Pax Britannia series of steampunk novels. And here's what some of them have been saying...

I started reading these books for something to do whilst waiting for my spouse in a local public record office and library and got hooked... I'm going to work my way through the whole series in every anticipation of a feast of steam-punk mayhem, monsters, and mystery... So, jolly good show we say to Mr. Green, the Empire is with you!

Pax Britannia: The Ulysses Quicksilver Omnibusexplores the modern world, had England embraced technology and out-invented the United States. The Babbage Machine was built, and steam really did get the world ahead. Into this world of brass and teak jumps Ulysses Quicksilver, a man with abilities straight out of comic book’s Golden Age... It reads as a literary version of the old serials that used to play in cinemas before the main feature. There is a lot of high-flying adventure backed by some solid plot and characters. The world itself is fully-developed, with a number of really nice touches, and technology is embraced here, unlike a lot of steampunk where the technology is the enemy at best. Fans of Doc Savage and Indiana Jones will love this book, and it’s a great read for everyone else.

I admit it, was was predisposed not to like this book for the most shallow of reasons: its title reminded me too much of one of my favourite novels, Anno Dracula by Kim Newman... Despite my early misgivings, it is my favourite in the series so far... This book is one you could easily read without having read any of the others in the series; while there are references to events in the other stories, it's not critical to the plot that you know any of them. And if you like foolish but fun adventure stories, I recommend it.

I haven't read any Pax Britannia before and after reading this I am actually wondering why, it's a mesmerising alternative universe that manages to blend Victorian era Steampunk within a more modern setting and with a resulting richly detailed world that keeps enough real elements to suspend the disbelief while still clearly being very different. There is a real dark edge to the novel but this is lightened by the clever use of subtle humour (the author is also clearly a star trek fan) while the plot bounds along at breakneck speed. It's another of those books that I just couldn't put down and read nearly the whole novel in one sitting... There is an almost movie-like, visually acute style to the prose that really drags you in to the story and the relentless, energetic pace doesn't let up through the whole of the novel. The story too is very engaging with plenty of action and a tight dialogue... Anno Frankenstein is a rambunctious, effervescent story full of Victorian steampunk grandeur and James Bond style action, suitable for anyone with a pulse.

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