Sometimes the biggest threat and thrill is trying to blend in.
However she’s disguised, 13-year-old Aruba “Ruby” Teach is true to herself: she’s the swindling daughter of a faux pirate. Groomed to pick locks and pockets, when Ruby pulls a knife on a dandy in a capsized, horseless barouche, she gets a slash of the sword and a warning to leave without loot. Back on the boat, Ruby is horrified to learn that the two new passengers who have chartered her father’s ship are none other than the dandy, Lord Athen, and his footman. An attack from the Royal Navy soon forces Ruby, Athen, and his footman to hide while the crew surrenders. Why would they attack the ship? Why hasn’t Lord Athen turned her in? Why is everyone suddenly so interested in capturing Ruby? In an alternate Colonial America where steampunk takes center stage, a war looms between governing powers and illegal alchemical practice. Though not starving for action, the narrative is initially made weighty by a barrage of nicknamed characters (Cram, Gwath, Skillet), and the establishing of period tone is so saturated with metaphors some sentences need to be triple sifted. Once readers have sailed through the introductory choppy waters, this tale of revolutionary intent, self-discovery, and double-crossing cross-dressing is worth the trip.
Sailors seeking espionage and a cast of characters who can’t sit still should embark on this series’ maiden voyage. (Steampunk. 10-13)