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Retribution Falls: Tales of the Ketty Jay (Tales of the Ketty Jay 1) [Paperback]

Chris Wooding BA
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)

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Book Description

18 Jun 2009 Tales of the Ketty Jay 1

Frey is the captain of the Ketty Jay, leader of a small and highly dysfunctional band of layabouts. An inveterate womaniser and rogue, he and his gang make a living on the wrong side of the law, avoiding the heavily armed flying frigates of the Coalition Navy. With their trio of ragged fighter craft, they run contraband, rob airships and generally make a nuisance of themselves.

So a hot tip on a cargo freighter loaded with valuables seems like a great prospect for an easy heist and a fast buck. Until the heist goes wrong, and the freighter explodes. Suddenly Frey isn't just a nuisance anymore - he's public enemy number one, with the Coalition Navy on his tail and contractors hired to take him down.

But Frey knows something they don't. That freighter was rigged to blow, and Frey has been framed to take the fall. If he wants to prove it, he's going to have to catch the real culprit. He must face liars and lovers, dogfights and gunfights, Dukes and daemons.

It's going to take all his criminal talents to prove he's not the criminal they think he is ...

Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (18 Jun 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575085150
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575085152
  • Product Dimensions: 2.8 x 15.3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 511,484 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Chris Wooding grew up in a small town in the Midlands, where nothing very interesting happened. So he started to write. His first book contract was signed at age nineteen. By the time he left university he was working as a full time author and he has been writing professionally all his working life. Only in his early 30s, Chris Wooding is the author of eighteen books that have been translated into twenty languages. His books have won the Nestlé Smarties Silver Award and the Bram Stoker Award, among others, and have been shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the CILIP Carnegie Medal. He also writes for TV and film, and his first graphic novel is being published in 2012.

Product Description


If masterful plotting were the book's only attribute, then Retribution Falls would still be a first-rate read. What makes it exceptional is the psychological insight rare in fast-paced, adventure SF. Frey is a fully-rounded character whose selfishness and duplicity undergo a gradual transformation as events cause him to reassess his motivations, as well as to appreciate the qualities of his crew, themselves fascinating individuals. On every level, Retribution Falls is a triumph. (Eric Brown THE GUARDIAN)

Retribution Falls is the kind of old fashioned adventure I didn't think we were allowed to write any more, of freebooting privateers making their haphazard underhand way in a wondrous retro-future world. But Chris has dusted off the format and given it a sharp modern edge that makes for a fast exhilarating read (Peter F. Hamilton)

There's a neat combination of swashbuckling excitement and wisecracking patter with sometimes surprisingly hard-edged violence, moral ambiguity, and a cumulative depth. It pulls the neat trick of sucking you in with pure entertainment value, and delivering substance while you're not looking. Retribution Falls picks you up, and it whisks you swiftly and entertainingly along, and it sets you down with a big smile on your face (Joe Abercrombie)

Retribution Falls is all the pirate yarns, heist movies and spaghetti westerns you've ever seen. It's how Wooding tells it that makes the difference. The pace is furious, the action is full-screen, the style is sharp and polished, the air is full of whizzing bullets and strangled cries. What's not to like? About as good a telling of the old tale as you're likely to get. (Tom Holt SFX)

This is a cracking, if rather derivative, adventure yarn. (Jonathan Wright BBC FOCUS)

Retribution Falls is a rollicking good action-adventure yarn that absolutely doesn't take itself too seriously. from the first page to the last this is a book chock-full of dockside gunfights, aerial chases, dogfights and fist-fights and the pace is pretty relentless, slowing just enough to let you catch your breath between the action and that's why I loved it - it's FUN! (SCI-FI LONDON)

For the buccaneering spirit writ large across a realistic world of aerial technology, and some daemonic entities but little else of a genre form, this can only be highly recommended. (THE BOOK BAG)

Occasionally a book comes along which takes the concept of fun and turns it up to 11. Retribution Falls is one such book. The story powers along at a relentless, page-turning pace. (THE WERTZONE BLOG)

Anyone who likes to sympathise with rogues and shady characters, such as fans of Scott Lynch¿s Locke Lamora, will surely enjoy the reprobates of Retribution Falls. I am certainly looking forward to their continuing adventures (Simon Appleby BOOKGEEKS)

By the time the story ends, only the grimmest of readers won't be smiling (and/or punching the air). Sequel soon, please: the Ketty Jay's crew deserve to fly again. (TOTAL SCI FI)

"Retribution Falls is a rip-roaring full blown space-pirate adventure, SF with a touch of Fantasy, driven at a pace that scarcely leaves the reader time to deal with its implausibilities. It is a plot and character driven piece that opposes airships with machine guns, magic with science, betrayal with loyalty. It's also one of the best pieces of fun I've read in a long while." (Mark Yon SFF WORLD)

Retribution Falls is a superb, ripping yarn. Great characters, tight plot, relentless pace, and a fascinating world full of promise for future instalments. Prepare to be entertained. (James Long SPECULATIVE HORIZONS)

What's not to love in this book - fast action, great characters, great setting and superb one-liners? Highly, highly recommended and another notable sff novel of 09 for me. (FANTASY BOOK CRITIC)

"A thoroughly enjoyable read that I¿d recommend to anyone who¿s after a does of rip roaring adventure. There¿s enough here for me to want to pick up the next book and see what Wooding has in store for us. (GRAEME'S FANTASY BOOK REVIEW)

"This is one of my favourite books ever! I've already recommended this book to my friends as I liked everything about it - the cover, the storyline and the characters." (TEEN TITLES)

Book Description

A fast, furious, tongue-in-cheek romp

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb 23 Feb 2009
Retribution Falls is the first novel in The Tales of the Ketty Jay, which promises to be a series of semi-stand-alone novels set in the same world and focusing on the crew of the airship Ketty Jay and its crew of miscreants and scoundrels. If I had to provide a quick soundbite for this it would be Firefly meets Crimson Skies, with a dash of Locke Lamora sprinkled on top.

Darian Frey is the captain of the Ketty Jay, a battered old freighter which he keeps running by the skin of his teeth, by accepting jobs on the dubious side of the law and trying not to get into too much trouble. When Frey is offered the chance of a lifetime - an easy theft in return for a massive fortune - he overrides his common sense and accepts the job. When it goes hideously wrong and a lot of people die, Frey realises he has been set up, and must prove his innocence even though he and his crew are now Public Enemy #1. Frey's quest to redeem himself takes him and his crew through multiple aerial dogfights, double-crosses, high society soirees and lowlife gambling dens. At the same time we get to know his crew, from the troubled new navigator harbouring a dark secret to the former aristocrat-turned-demon-summoner to the alcoholic ship's surgeon to the powerful and dangerous metal thing they keep in the hold...

Occasionally a book comes along which takes the concept of fun and turns it up to 11. Retribution Falls is one such book. The story powers along at a relentless, page-turning pace. The characters are a diverse and fascinating bunch and Wooding uses skillful economy in getting into their backstories and motivations quickly and convincingly without bogging the story down in unnecessary detail.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riproaring adventure in a Steampunk world 2 Oct 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Retribution falls is the first in the "Tales of the Ketty Jay" series of books, of which there have been three thus far.

It tells the story of Darian Frey, Merchant, Smuggler, Scoundrel, his much loved battered old ship the Ketty Jay and his crew of misfits. The first in the series introduces us to Frey and his world and to his crew and builds the cast and characters, who they are and how they got there setting up the series whilst being an excellent and exciting adventure of betrayal and intrigue.

I decided to give this a go as I was looking for something fresh and new to read in the sci-fi or fantasy genre and saw this was very popular and doing well, and I noted the oft stated appeal to fans of Firefly and ordered it.

At first I was a little surprised. I'd half expected it to be set in space and for the Ketty Kay to be a spaceship (why I expected it to actually be firefly I've no idea) but I quickly got absorbed by the story and the world and in no time was in love with it. No lasers, no spaceships, a steampunk world of airships and guns and swords and utterly compelling for it. The world of Vardia is more than big enough for these adventures and provides a wonderful setting, mixing magic and a steampunk world of airship and dogfighting planes, rapidly moving the story through a host of settings and scenes and evoking a feeling of a vast world with as much variety as our own.

I absolutely loved this and went on to read the whole series in a few weeks, I really couldn't put the Kindle down when I was reading them. As a fan of adventure and Sci-Fi and, yes, Firefly, I couldn't recommend it enough, it's my favourite series of the last few years.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I have a confession to make about this book. 19 Dec 2009
My confession about this book is that I really didn't like it for about the first 100 pages. And I really wanted to like it because a friend had gone to a lot of trouble to send the book to me. He liked it, a lot. So what was wrong? I picked it up and put it down three different times. I didn't like the characters, not a single one of the motley crew of dysfunctional malcontents. My favorite characters so far were Bess the golem and Slag the cat. Not a ringing endorsement there. I didn't see much sense in where the story was headed, mainly because I didn't see WHERE the story was headed. It just seemed to ramble and wobble around, getting the crew in and out of one scrape after another. Then something happened. For me it was that the author made me interested in the captain of the aircraft, Darian Frey, and I began to wonder why he had been set up to take the blame for something he had not done. From then on, the action in this book simply flew. The mishmash of disconnected characters began to come together into a cohesive unit to try to help each other out of the troubles they were constantly landing in. They began to seem like people who deserved to be liked, people who had to clear up this terrible wrong by whatever means was at their disposal.

I ended up absolutely loving this book. The crew went from one disaster after another and yet they were always focused on their final objective, which was to prove their innocence. With their awful luck, success was never a certainty. The author, Chris Wooding, created quite an unusual mixture in his fantasy world. The aircraft in the story, including Frey's Ketty Jay, were the most otherworldly things in the book while the pirates still fought with cutlass, knife, pistol, and shotgun.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Spiffing Tale
Good old escapism novel containing all the elements of myth; fantasy; humour and ease of read. Thank you, I will now download book 2
Published 1 month ago by US TV Couch Potato
2.0 out of 5 stars One star for effort, and one for the Golem
Trying hard to be a rip-roaring adventure set in a nameless world – this is Steampunk. I never quite got on with steampunk. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Eileen Shaw
4.0 out of 5 stars If Firefly's cancellation left a hole in your life....
If Firefly's cancellation left a hole in your life then here is a great steampunk replacement, page turning action with some nice humour too... All with a slightly dark edge
Published 4 months ago by N W MacKenzie
3.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't finish it
No matter how well written or wheel drawn, or well imagined, I can't face a book that has nothing but venal, self centred and self serving characters. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Brunneria
5.0 out of 5 stars They just don't make them like this any more!!
A true rip-roaring story, picked it up just because the front page looked impressive, I have pre-ordered the last 3 books of this series. A must read!!
Published 10 months ago by Pen Name
4.0 out of 5 stars Agreat yarn
IT takes some time to get into the book and start to now the characters. The characters develop through the book.
The action is great and the story is interesting. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Peter Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars Cracking read
Well-thought out characters, good pacing and a great plot to keep you turning those pages. The captain's luck would fit well into an Abercrombie novel. Read it
Published 15 months ago by Mr J N Dawson
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant.
I was first introduced to Chris Wooding's books back in school when I read the first few Broken Sky books and really enjoyed his writing style. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Daniel L Lee
2.0 out of 5 stars Retribution Fails
I pushed through to 100 pages and gave up. I know these stories are popular and I can see why. On it's own merit it was bowling along and the characters were sort of coming... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Anglo
5.0 out of 5 stars Fill up your aerium tanks! You're in for one helluva ride!
Retribution Falls is the first in Chris Wooding's Tales of the Ketty Jay. It follows the ever charming Darian Frey and the crew of his airship, the Ketty Jay. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Idlewilder
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