Blog Archives

#CBR4 Maneuver #1 – The Court of the Air

Target: Stephen Hunt’s The Court of the Air

Profile: Speculative Fiction, Steampunk, Fantasy, Adventure

Summary: From the Back Cover, “When streetwise Molly Templar witnesses a brutal murder at the brothel she has just recently been apprenticed to, her first instinct is to run back to the poorhouse where she grew up.  But there she finds her fellow orphans butchered, and it slowly dawns on her that she was the real target of the attack.

Oliver Brooks has led a sheltered existence in the backwater home of his merchant uncle.  But when he is framed for murder he flees for his life, accompanied by an agent of the mysterious Court of the Air.  Chased across the country, Oliver finds himself in the company of thieves, outlaws and spies.

Soon Molly and Oliver will find themselves battling a grave threat to civilization, an ancient power thought to have been quelled millennia ago.  Their enemies are ruthless and myriad but the two orphans are also aided by indomitable friends in this endlessly inventive tale full of drama, intrigue, and adventure.”  Read the rest of this entry

CBRIII Maneuver #21 – Empire in Black and Gold

Target: Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Empire in Black and Gold

Profile: Fantasy, Steampunk, Something else…

Summary: From the back of the book, “The city-states of theLowlandshave lived in peace fore decades, bastions of civilization, prosperity, and sophistication, protected by treaties, trade, and a belief in the reasonable nature of their neighbors.

But meanwhile, in far-off corners, the Wasp Empire has been devouring city after city wit hits highly trained armies, its machines, its killing Art… And now its hunger for conquest and war has become insatiable.

Only the aging Stenwold Maker, spymaster, artificer, and statesman, can see that the long days of peace are over.  It falls upon the shoulder to open the eyes of his people, before a black-and-gold tide sweeps down over theLowlandsand burns away everything in its path.” Read the rest of this entry

CBRIII Maneuver #14 – The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man

Target: Mark Hodder’s The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man

Profile: Steampunk, Speculative Fiction, Alternate History

Summary: Sir Roger Tichborne: Lost at sea.  But now he’s back to claim his family’s fortune.  Or is he?  To the upper classes, he’s obviously a cunning swindler; to London’s laborers, he’s the people’s hero… while to Sir Richard Francis Burton, he’s the focus of a daring plot to gain possession of the legendary black diamonds known as the Eyes of Naga.  Burton’s investigation takes him to the cursed Tichborne estate… and to an encounter with the ghost of a witch! Read the rest of this entry

CBRIII Maneuver #13 – The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack

Target: Mark Hodder’s The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack

Profile: Steampunk, Speculative Fiction, Alternate History

Summary: From the back of the book, “Sir Richard Francis Burton.  An explorer, a linguist, a scholar, and a swordsman.  His reputation tarnished; his career in tatters; his former partner missing and probably dead.  Algernon Charles Swinburne.  A promising young poet, a thrill-seeker, and a follower of the Marquis de Sade.  For him pain is pleasure and brandy is ruin.  They stand at a crossroads in their lives and are caught in the epicenter of an empire torn by conflicting forces: Engineers transform the landscape with bigger, faster, noisier, and dirtier technological wonders; Eugenicists develop specialist animas to provide unpaid labor; Libertines opposed repressive laws and demand a society based on beauty and creativity; while the Rakes push the boundaries of human behavior to the limits with magic, drugs and anarchy.  The two men are sucked into the perilous depths of this moral and ethical vacuum when Lord Palmerston commissions Burton to investigate assaults on young women committed by a weird apparition known as Spring Heeled Jack, and to find out why werewolves are terrorizing London’s East End.  Their investigations lead them to one of the defining events of the age – and the terrifying possibility that the world they inhabit shouldn’t exist at all!

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