The sequel to The Inventor’s Secret (2014) finds plucky Resistance warrior Charlotte leading her small but trusty band of youthful rebels through the thickets and swamps of the New York Wildlands in a desperate bid to reach French-held rebel territory near a fictional New Orleans.
The British won what amounted to a civil war in this alternate history, and they now rule the provinces with an iron hand. The revolutionaries have to negotiate a host of conflicting and complex forces including Native American potentates, rapacious outlaws, and the titular conjurer, the powerful Nicodemus. Charlotte risks her life to protect her young charges, in particular the mysterious, invincible boy Grave, from threats from both sides. Her powerful mother and brother want to clone Grave to create an invincible army, while the two brothers Jack and Coe keep making amorous advances that she must fend off. A deus ex machina emerges in the person of glamorous pirate and captain of the Perseus, Frenchman LaChance, whose exotic ship/aircraft combo comes in handy in setting the stage for another sequel….This is classic steampunk, in which any unevenness in plot detail or characterization can be overlooked in favor of exotic and picturesque locales, lots of interesting machinery, and the adrenaline rush of following the adventures of an honest and fearless heroine.
A suitably swashbuckling sequel. (Steampunk. 12 & up)