Friday, May 8, 2015

Unseemly Science - by Rod Duncan - Book 2 in The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire series

4 of 5 Stars     Review Copy

Unseemly Science is the followup to the well-received first book in the series The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire.  In both books there are some elements of Steampunk, certainly an element of Alternate History, and the feel of a classic Sherlock Holmes story as told by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Rod Duncan continues to weave these elements deftly into a wonderous tale of mystery and intrigue.

Slipping back into the world Rod Duncan has created for his characters to play in was a bit like putting on a well-worn, comfortable, pair of gloves. Set in the not so United Kingdom following a civil war which left Englad split into two separate countries, the Kingdom and the Anglo-Scottish republic.

The back-story of Elizabeth Barnabus follows.  Elizabeth once 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 could happen , Elizabeth escaped to the Republic where we find her 6 years later helping her "brother" in his business as a private detective.

In this new volume there is talk of an extradition treaty looming between the divided countries.  This would not bode well for our heroine.  While trying to avoid the authorities, Elizabeth stumbles onto a dark mystery putting her very life into jeopardy.

To be honest, I didn't care for Unseemly Science as much as I did The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter.  For a good part of the book the writer broke no new ground, bringing back the same characters from book 1, but  once we got into the mystery in the second half of the book, I found it much more enjoyable.

In addition I found the notes that begin each chapter to be very entertaining, particularly those from The Bullet-Catcher's Handbook.

Unseemly Science Book 2 in The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire series is available now in both paperback and e-book formats from Angry Robot Books.  No word on book 3, but if this one is a success, I wouldn't be at all surprised.

Recommended.  BTW, this story works as a stand-alone, but I would recommend reading book1 as well.

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