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4.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining read but with few surprises
Red Mercury by Rod Giles.
I am new to ‘Steampunk’ having only ever read William Gibson & Bruce Sterling’s ‘The Difference Engine’ previously, but I remain curious. ‘Red Mercury’ popped up on a Kindle advertiser, I can’t remember which one, and I thought that I would give it a go as I was intrigued by the premise...
Published 24 days ago by Peter Whitaker

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An imaginative story, a bit like a text version of a sixties war-comic, limited appeal
It may seem unfair to contrast this with the WW1 episodes of BlackAdder on TV, but the limitations of this story invite the comparison
Read for what it is, then it is enjoyable enough. The contrast between the thought-provoking achievement of the apparently light-entertainment TV episodes and the speed with which this story fades from the memory sums up a missed...
Published 11 months ago by ed. g.


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4.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining read but with few surprises, 28 July 2014
By 
Peter Whitaker (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Red Mercury (Paperback)
Red Mercury by Rod Giles.
I am new to ‘Steampunk’ having only ever read William Gibson & Bruce Sterling’s ‘The Difference Engine’ previously, but I remain curious. ‘Red Mercury’ popped up on a Kindle advertiser, I can’t remember which one, and I thought that I would give it a go as I was intrigued by the premise.

To begin with the book was easy to get into, taking what seems to be a genre convention of setting the story in a slightly alternative version of history. The alterations seemed subtle to me and so maintained points of reference that would be familiar for anyone who has read the history of Europe in the years immediately prior to the outbreak of World War One. The story is one of espionage and danger with a small team of British agents, accompanied by soldier from Florida, which I believe is an independent state from the USA in this alternate history, being inserted into Serbia to foil the plans of a Communist Russia.

There are no real surprises in the plot as it develops despite the suggestion of a traitor being in the midst of the team. I found this aspect a little disappointing as it could have been used, I believe, to increase the tension considerably once the team had reached Serbia. Some of the other plot devices were also a little unimaginative, or perhaps already overused in this kind of writing, hence the lack of surprise. Even the characters were not that engaging, a clever British spy with a stiff upper lip and a wise-cracking yank who is good in a fight. It would be a disservice, however, not to accept that this is the first book in which these characters appear, the second being ‘Neptune Rising’, so there may well be further development of them to come.

Despite these criticisms I found that I very much enjoyed reading the book. The pace is good, punctuated with some good action scenes. I particularly liked the inventiveness in some of the ‘alternate’ equipment used by the agents, in fact more of that would have made this a thoroughly engaging book. Perhaps most importantly it is well written, Rod Giles clearly can write. I had no trouble reading his prose whatsoever. ‘Red Mercury’ is an entertaining adventure that would work as a modern day ‘techno-thriller’ as well. I would prefer to have fewer espionage and/or adventure clichés in the story, and a more involved plot that delivered genuine surprises, if you know James Bond then you will have a good idea of what I mean.

In conclusion ‘Red Mercury’ is a good book with much to recommend it. I am not sure if I understand Steampunk any better but I found an author who I would be interested in reading again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast moving and atmospheric., 14 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Red Mercury (Kindle Edition)
I liked it a lot. Fast-moving and atmospheric with two lead characters who are likable, believable and about whom I would like to read more. These can be further developed I want the back story for these two.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An imaginative story, a bit like a text version of a sixties war-comic, limited appeal, 21 Sep 2013
By 
ed. g. (plymouth, england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Red Mercury (Kindle Edition)
It may seem unfair to contrast this with the WW1 episodes of BlackAdder on TV, but the limitations of this story invite the comparison
Read for what it is, then it is enjoyable enough. The contrast between the thought-provoking achievement of the apparently light-entertainment TV episodes and the speed with which this story fades from the memory sums up a missed opportunity.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Turn Up The Heat!, 11 Sep 2013
By 
Warren Stalley (Bradford, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Red Mercury (Kindle Edition)
I was very impressed by this short debut novel by Mr Gillies. It's a steampunk themed action adventure where a small group of soldiers are dropped behind enemy lines in Siberia to rescue a scientist and his daughter. The basic plot is Boy's Own adventure while the steampunk setting gives this work an interesting flavour. One reviewer compares it to The Guns of Navarone and Where Eagles Dare and he's absolutely right. The story rattles along keeping the narrative tight and focused. To summarise this is a great action novel which I fully recommend and I look forward to reading further books by this author. Enjoy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Action packed, fast paced fun!, 10 Jun 2013
By 
T. Howarth (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Red Mercury (Kindle Edition)
'Steampunk' isn't really a genre I'm familiar with and I would normally steer clear of war novels so I really wasn't sure what to expect when this was recommended to me; what I got was an absorbing, action filled adventure story which soon had me hooked. Fast paced with distinctive characters, Rod painted a very vivid picture and convinced me of his universe. Yes, it's a 'boys own' adventure, but I'm a middle aged woman who really enjoyed it - maybe we all need to stretch our boundries from time to time to discover new realms!

Suspend your disbelief and dive in headfirst - you won't regret it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great first book, 11 July 2012
By 
A. Townshend (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Red Mercury (Kindle Edition)
From what I understand, this is the first book that the author has written... I really hope it is not the last. I sat and read it on a flight last night and was really hoping for a delay at destination so I could finish reading it in one go. The story is a great " boys own" adventure set in a steam-punk type world and the Russian revolution. Real world names and events mixed with fiction make for a great read.

I dearly wish I could sit down and achieve something like this... The fact that Rod has done this at a first attempt is fantastic. It is most certainly worth the price, and I would not have been disappointed if I had paid more...

Great stuff!

Andy
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4.0 out of 5 stars Read it, liked it., 1 Aug 2013
By 
T. Lord - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Red Mercury (Kindle Edition)
Bought this because it was cheap and wasn't disappointed at all.
The story moves along at a brisk clip, great characters you can easily visualize and bond with.
I love a novel that is all story, not all describing this that and every little thing.
I wouldn't have a hesitation reading another of the author's books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars More, please., 28 May 2013
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This review is from: Red Mercury (Kindle Edition)
Steam-punk (as I now know it's called) isn't my normal genre, but I gave this book a whirl based on the recommendation of some trusted friends. I was instantly drawn into the story and found myself eagerly turning the pages (er, um, clicking the next button on my Kindle). I enjoyed the wry humour that was served up on each page, along side a fascinating 'alternative history'.

I rarely give a book 5 stars but this one gets it because it was entertaining - and because it is credited with introducing me to a new genre. I'm looking forward to reading Mr Gillies' next book!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent thriller., 23 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Red Mercury (Paperback)
I can hardly believe that the author has a full time day job and wrote this story in his spare time. It was a real page-turner with a very well thought out plot which, in my view, was very similar to the film "The Wild Geese" with Richard Burton and Roger Moore. If this book was widely available at station and airport bookstalls I suggest that it would be a great success.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great 1st Book, 19 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Red Mercury (Kindle Edition)
What a great wee novel. Real boys own adventure, left you wanting more. Well worth a punt if you like any adventure stories.
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