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Moonlight, Murder & Machinery Paperback – 12 Feb 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: winstonsaintpress (12 Feb. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4990632001
  • ISBN-13: 978-4990632007
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,936,912 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Peej Maybe on 12 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback
The premise of Moonlight, Murder and Machinery had me hooked straight away. I'm extremely inspired by anything vaguely steampunky, mostly because of the works of Pat Mills and Bryan Talbot on the "Nemesis the Warlock" stories from 2000AD but since then, the genre has exploded and now Steampunk is more popular than ever.

But with this book we have "A gothic re-imagining of the Frankenstein story, set in a steampunk regency England where Steam has been outlawed" and it's very easy to see why I had to take a look at this book, after a description like that.

The story begins when young Mary Godwin, a woman troubled by recurring prophetic nightmares, meets the man who haunts her dreams, Master Shelley (Mary / Shelley? Got it?)

Shelley is a young recruit to His Majesty's Geomancers, a mysterious army of talented individuals that sound like a cross between the British Warlocks of Ian Tregillis' "Bitter Seeds" and Victorian "X-Men". Investigating mysterious deaths and reports of horrific creatures stalking the night, Shelley's counter-intelligence unit uncover plots and treasonous acts that threaten to undermine the very fabric of Nova Albion. As the events of Mary's nightmares unfold, she begins to fear for Shelley's life.

While I won't give away too much of the plot, there are so many elements to this book that tick all the right boxes for me. I loved the descriptions of the Luddites - now flipped on their heads from being machine-hating labourers to poor jobless folk clamouring for a lift of the ban on steam power.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Phill Evans on 30 July 2012
Format: Paperback
I must confess an involvement here. I drew the cover. But as I don't make any money on the book sales I feel I can give an honest review

JP (an old mate of mine) is an English author based in Tokyo. In M,M&M he has created an alternate Regency ( think Jane Austen or Patrick O'Brian) period England called "Nova Albion."

History diverged from our own with the discovery of the latent power of Ley lines. Harnessing this natural force allows the nation of Albion to skip the industrial revolution and develop advanced technology based on using teleurethic energies. As use of the new technologies spread so does the incidence of psychically endowed individuals. Some of these powerful individuals find their way into a life of crime. Others are recruited into the Flintlocks, the Kings Men, who's duty it is to defend Albion and protect the land from the black technologies of the steam age descending upon Europe.

Against this backdrop is the story of Mary Wollestonecraft, a young lady of the aristocracy. She is tormented by dreams of a beautiful young man in mortal peril. The man is Percy Byshe Shelley, a powerful new recruit to the Flintlocks and when they meet it is within the context of a series of great perils besetting Albion and a nefarious genius with whom they have a dramatic collision.

Although the book is billed as for young adults, like all good YA books it is in fact accessible to all readers of any maturity. JP keeps the pace rollicking along with witty dialogue and believable characters. The "magic" of Nova Albion is strange-yet-familiar enough to be accessible and the spin off technology moves along with the plot nicely.

Altogether JP has put together a charming and ripping yarn which will be accessible and enjoyable to all readers.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Moonlight, Murder & Machinery", as a shopping list title, doesn't really convey the cornucopia of retro-future pulp weirdness permeating this steampunk Gothic romance. A more accurate, if longer title, might be: "Moonlight, Murder, Machinery, Militias, Monsters, Mystics, and Machiavellian Madness".

The story is set in Nova Albion, an early-19th-Century Great Britain warped almost beyond recognition by the rediscovery of Druidic energy. It's a fairly progressive society, governed by paganism, psychics and alchemy, where machinery is outlawed, relegated to the sinister 'Thermidorian' empire across the Channel.

Our heroes are the Red Branch, a team of psychically-gifted military investigators charged with unravelling a complex conspiracy involving body-snatchers, an undead highwayman, the son of Benjamin Franklin and a young woman's prophetic nightmares.

You'd imagine a world so complex would require a tremendous amount of exposition in the early going, but the book isn't front-loaded with info. Instead, we're plunged straight into the action, with the rules and mythology of the land filled in along the way. It makes for a demanding read, but ultimately a rewarding one for those who are prepared to stick with it.

The book is obviously born out of a love of Gothic literature, with references peppered throughout (the names of the protagonists, for example, are "Mary" and "Shelley"), but it never feels like a parody. The world is so well-drawn, so intricately detailed, that it rises above its inspiration, feeling fresh, original and exciting. As genre-mashing tributes go, it's certainly far superior to the likes of the cynical 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies' and its depressing brethren.
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