Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter (The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire #1) - by Rod Duncan Steampunk/Alternate History with the feel of a Sherlock Holmes story

4.5 of 5 Stars     Review copy

First I'd like to make note of the stunning and eye-catching cover by Will Staehle. Very nice work.

How best to describe The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter?  Well, there are certainly some elements of Steampunk, there is an Alternate History going on, and there is the feel of a classic Sherlock Holmes story as told by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  Rod Duncan weaves these elements deftly into a beautiful tale of mystery and intrigue.

The author has created a not so United Kingdom following a civil war which left England split into two separate countries, the Kingdom and the Anglo-Scottish Republic. Then there's the all-powerful Patent Office meant to protect the citizenry from technology and mechanical devices.

When she was fourteen, Elizabeth Barnabus, lived in the Kingdom with her father.  Through no fault of his own, and thanks to the Patent Office, his daughter is forced into the servitude of a Duke of the Kingdom.  Before that can happen, Elizabeth escapes to the Republic where we find her six years later helping her "brother" in his business as a private detective.

In an effort to find the missing brother of a client, Elizabeth infiltrates Harry Timpson's Laboratory of Arcane Wonders, a traveling circus of sorts.  The scene where Elizabeth wins a job with the troupe through a game of Wild Eights is brilliantly plotted.

The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter is wildly imaginative, entertaining, and a complete story. However, this is not the end of the line for Elizabeth Barnabus, since The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter is just book 1 in The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire series from Angry Robot Books. Unseemly Science  is due in February of 2015.  This is welcome news and I look forward to returning to the world Rod Duncan has created.

On sale in print and e-book formats from a variety of online retailers on August 26, 2014.

Highly recommended

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