The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I talk about books I got over the last week – old or new, bought or received for review consideration. Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included.
This week brought two books, a steampunk and an urban fantasy that I’ve been hearing great things about!
For book reviews, I’m currently writing one of Omens by Kelley Armstrong. It’s not nearly as glowing as the last few reviews I’ve written (Shattered Pillars by Elizabeth Bear, Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews, and The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord).
On to the books!
Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl by David Barnett
This steampunk novel, the first book in a new series, will be released on September 10 (trade paperback, ebook). An excerpt from the beginning of Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl can be read on Tor.com, as well as a short story about Gideon Smith titled “Work Sets You Free” and a series-related novelette titled “Business as Usual.”
Nineteenth century London is the center of a vast British Empire. Airships ply the skies and Queen Victoria presides over three-quarters of the known world—including the East Coast of America, following the failed revolution of 1775.
London might as well be a world away from Sandsend, a tiny village on the Yorkshire coast. Gideon Smith dreams of the adventure promised him by the lurid tales of Captain Lucian Trigger, the Hero of the Empire, told in Gideon’s favorite “penny dreadful.” When Gideon’s father is lost at sea in highly mysterious circumstances Gideon is convinced that supernatural forces are at work. Deciding only Captain Lucian Trigger himself can aid him, Gideon sets off for London. On the way he rescues the mysterious mechanical girl Maria from a tumbledown house of shadows and iniquities. Together they make for London, where Gideon finally meets Captain Trigger.
But Trigger is little more than an aging fraud, providing cover for the covert activities of his lover, Dr. John Reed, a privateer and sometime agent of the British Crown. Looking for heroes but finding only frauds and crooks, it falls to Gideon to step up to the plate and attempt to save the day…but can a humble fisherman really become the true Hero of the Empire?
David Barnett’s Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl is a fantastical steampunk fable set against an alternate historical backdrop: the ultimate Victoriana/steampunk mash-up!
Happy Hour in Hell (Bobby Dollar #2) by Tad Williams
Happy Hour in Hell was just released on September 3 (hardcover, ebook). It follows The Dirty Streets of Heaven, which is now available in hardcover, ebook, and mass market paperback. The beginning of Happy Hour in Hell can be read on the publisher’s website (and if you missed the first book, an excerpt from The Dirty Streets of Heaven is also available).
A third book in the series, Sleeping Late on Judgement Day, is forthcoming.
I’ve been told to go to Hell more times than I can count. But this time I’m actually going.
My name’s Bobby Dollar, sometimes known as Doloriel, and of course, Hell isn’t a great place for someone like me – I’m an angel. They don’t like my kind down there, not even the slightly fallen variety. But they have my girlfriend, who happens to be a beautiful demon named Casimira, Countess of Cold Hands. Why does an angel have a demon girlfriend? Well, certainly not because it helps my career.
She’s being held hostage by one of the nastiest, most powerful demons in all of the netherworld – Eligor, Grand Duke of Hell. He already hates me, and he’d like nothing better than to get his hands on me and rip my immortal soul right out of my borrowed but oh-so-mortal body.
But wait, it gets better! Not only do I have to sneak into Hell, make my way across thousands of miles of terror and suffering to reach Pandemonium, capital of the fiery depths, but then I have to steal Caz right out from under Eligor’s burning eyes and smuggle her out again, past demon soldiers, hellhounds, and all the murderous creatures imprisoned there for eternity. And even if I somehow manage to escape Hell, I’m also being stalked by an undead psychopath named Smyler who’s been following me for weeks. Oh, and did I mention that he can’t be killed?
So if I somehow survive Hell, elude the Grand Duke and all his hideous minions and make it back to the real world, I’ll still be the most hunted soul in Creation. But at least I’ll have Caz. Gotta have something to look forward to, right?
So just pour me that damn drink, will you? I’ve got somewhere to go.