An endearing romp through a joyously conceived steampunk world.


This sci-fi debut brings a young man through time and into the company of an eclectic airship crew.

In 1867, former burlesque dancer Millicent Darlington captains the airship Elizabeth Anne. She and her crew, based in the gold mining settlement of Grahamstown, prepare to take cryptozoologist Lady Elspeth Lovelace to investigate “several mysterious disappearances of whaling ships.” The Elizabeth Anne’s odd crew includes Jonas Enoch Emerson, a secret assassin for the Ministry of Dark Affairs; Dr. Persephone Mockett, a specialist in mechanical body enhancements; and Lenore Ravenwood of the Ministry of Technology and Alchemy, among others. While heading out to sea, Lenore detects an open time portal, disguised as a cloud. Millicent’s crew confronts a pirate ship run by time-traveling “time slavers” and rescues a young farmer, covered in cow dung. They learn that he’s a New Zealander named Kev and explain to him that, if not for their intervention, he would have been sold on the black market and lost forever. Persephone assures him that after completing Lady Elspeth’s research, the crew will return him to the past, where she thinks that he belongs. However, after some adventures involving a kraken and the mistaken arrest of crewman Sherlock Whitley, Kev realizes that his return will be more complicated than initially thought. In this jubilant steampunk adventure, McLean plays with the culture shock of time travel by having the crew assume Kev is from the past, when he’s actually from 2017. After all, the year 1867, as presented here, features bionic body parts (including Millicent’s left eye) and personal aircraft like the Hummingbird, which impress Kev but leave him thinking that “there must have been some kind of apocalypse or something.” The author’s episodic narrative develops many members of her large, outlandishly named cast and allows a romance between Kev and Persephone to blossom. Further complications arise, however, when Kev begins to recognize the landscape of Grahamstown, and Professor Archibald Quatermain Popkiss is enlisted to solve the mystery of the farmer’s origin. A sublimely orchestrated twist ensures that readers will return for a planned sequel.

An endearing romp through a joyously conceived steampunk world.

Pub Date: May 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5144-6689-6

Page Count: 154

Publisher: XlibrisNZ

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

Did you like this book?


Thoroughbreds and Virginia blue-bloods cavort, commit murder, and fall in love in Roberts's (Hidden Riches, 1994, etc.) latest romantic thriller — this one set in the world of championship horse racing. Rich, sheltered Kelsey Byden is recovering from a recent divorce when she receives a letter from her mother, Naomi, a woman she has believed dead for over 20 years. When Kelsey confronts her genteel English professor father, though, he sheepishly confesses that, no, her mother isn't dead; throughout Kelsey's childhood, she was doing time for the murder of her lover. Kelsey meets with Naomi and not only finds her quite charming, but the owner of Three Willows, one of the most splendid horse farms in Virginia. Kelsey is further intrigued when she meets Gabe Slater, a blue-eyed gambling man who owns a neighboring horse farm; when one of Gabe's horses is mated with Naomi's, nostrils flare, flanks quiver, and the romance is on. Since both Naomi and Gabe have horses entered in the Kentucky Derby, Kelsey is soon swept into the whirlwind of the Triple Crown, in spite of her family's objections to her reconciliation with the notorious Naomi. The rivalry between the two horse farms remains friendly, but other competitors — one of them is Gabe's father, a vicious alcoholic who resents his son's success — prove less scrupulous. Bodies, horse and human, start piling up, just as Kelsey decides to investigate the murky details of her mother's crime. Is it possible she was framed? The ground is thick with no-goods, including haughty patricians, disgruntled grooms, and jockeys with tragic pasts, but despite all the distractions, the identity of the true culprit behind the mayhem — past and present — remains fairly obvious. The plot lopes rather than races to the finish. Gambling metaphors abound, and sexual doings have a distinctly equine tone. But Roberts's style has a fresh, contemporary snap that gets the story past its own worst excesses.

Pub Date: June 13, 1995

ISBN: 0-399-14059-X

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1995

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet