Publisher: Snow Books | Publication date: 1st September 2014 | Edition: Paperback
I knew I’d set course for a rollicking adventure of epic proportion from the get-go when I read that Charles Darwin had shipwrecked the Mayflower on a Jurassic Park style Island, and I discovered he was fuelled by a furnace in his abdomen fed tiny bits of coal. Yes, this is a tale where imagination knows no bounds. And that’s only the beginning.
Very soon, a magnificent woman in her flying machine will ferry a team across the globe to complete a quest to save the girl (a mechanical girl), oh, and maybe a brass dragon too. Well, it would be rude not to!
Here, Gideon Smith, the Hero of the Empire, will cross paths with a mysterious Nameless Stranger in the Wild West, but not as we know it. He will protect the innocent, right the wrongs of wicked villainy from a half-man half-machine called Pinch, while battling his henchmen who terrorise anyone that enters their town and beyond it. But things don’t always go according to plan and our good guys will find themselves in all kinds of hot water…
Each chapter finishes with a suspenseful pause making you crave the next. The re-writing of historical events was first class, just casually dropped into conversations, as if these were the authentic versions – it’s very convincing!
This tale is packed to the brim with bizarre and unique characters. But the journalist, wind-breaking champion and king of the one-liner, Aloysuis Bent, took centre stage for me. I’d have loved to have seen much more action from Gideon, whose name is featured in the title of the book. Then again, Bent was a tough act for anyone to follow.
Right. I’m off to have a nosy at the other books in the series, as that one was quite a ride.
For now, I’ll leave you with a little quote from the book:
Sometimes bravery’s just about having the gonads to stick your head above the parapet and say, hey, I’m different. And I don’t give a rat’s ass.
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
(My thanks to the publisher and Anna Torborg for sending a paperback copy of this book as a result of a competition they ran.)
Nineteenth century London is the center of a vast British Empire, a teeming metropolis where steam-power is king and airships ply the skies, and where Queen Victoria presides over three quarters of the known world-including the east coast of America, following the failed revolution of 1775.Young Gideon Smith has seen things that no green lad of Her Majesty’s dominion should ever experience. Through a series of incredible events Gideon has become the newest Hero of the Empire. But Gideon is a man with a mission, for the dreaded Texas pirate Louis Cockayne has stolen the mechanical clockwork girl Maria, along with a most fantastical weapon-a great brass dragon that was unearthed beneath ancient Egyptian soil. Maria is the only one who can pilot the beast, so Cockayne has taken girl and dragon off to points east.Gideon and his intrepid band take to the skies and travel to the American colonies hot on Cockayne’s trail. Not only does Gideon want the machine back, he has fallen in love with Maria. Their journey will take them to the wilds of the lawless lands south of the American colonies-to free Texas, where the mad King of Steamtown rules with an iron fist (literally), where life is cheap and honor even cheaper.Does Gideon have what it takes to not only save the day but win the girl?
David Barnett is an award-winning journalist and author based in West Yorkshire. He was born in Wigan, Lancashire, in 1970 and has worked in regional newspapers since 1989. He is the author of the Gideon Smith alternate history series from Tor Books, beginning in 2013 with Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl. David is also the author of Hinterland (2005, reprinted 2008), Angelglass (2007) and The Janus House and Other Two-Faced Tales (2009), all published by Immanion Press, as well as popCULT!, published in 2011 from Pendragon Press. His work has been translated into Czech, Russian and German. He is represented by the literary agent John Jarrold. David is married to Claire, also an award-winning journalist, and they have two children, Charlie and Alice.