Publishing Date: july 2013
Publisher Description: In a post-apocalyptic world of endless snow, Captain Romulus Buckle and the stalwart crew of the Pneumatic Zeppelin must embark on a perilous mission to rescue their kidnapped leader, Balthazar Crankshaft, from the impenetrable City of the Founders. Steaming over a territory once known as Southern California – before it was devastated in the alien war – Buckle navigates his massive airship through skies infested with enemy war zeppelins and ravenous alien beasties in this swashbuckling and high-octane steampunk adventure. Life is desperate in the Snow World – and death is quick – Buckle and his ship’s company must brave poisoned wastelands of noxious mustard and do battle with forgewalkers, steampipers and armored locomotives as they plunge from the skies into the underground prison warrens of the fortress-city.
Review: I love the Steampunk fantasy genre, especially when it is a well crafted story-line coupled with interesting characters. This novel delivers everything you could want in this genre. Romulus Buckle is an airship captain for the Crankshaft clan (Crankers) whom rule the skies over what I presume is a long time past the apocalypse of Earth. This novel starts with a BANG, where we find Buckle and crew fighting the onslaught of a nasty 500 lb bird called the Tangler, whom ends up ripping Buckle off the airship and fighting to the death as they fall to Earth.
The character development is superb as is the scene descriptions. It feels as though you are there and experiencing what occurs. Max the half Martian is a great character as is the Imperial clan’s leader, Katzenjammer Smelt. Not real sure that Sabrina is a good addition or not. Not a real compelling character. The world this author creates is a fascinating blend of the old and futuristic. From the wildlife to the current clan tech then back to alien referents of wars and the current integration of those aliens. While this novel is primarily focused on the clash between numerous clans, the author gives a compelling peak at this history of his created world.
On a side note, I always think of Buffalos as real integral part to any futuristic world where Steampunk predominates. Trains, Indians and buffalo evoke images where the new world was discovered and subsequently born that evokes the Steampunk ideal. Would have been cool if the Crankshaft clan’s representative animus were Buffalo.
Get this novel. The next in the chronicles is even better.