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"You've met these two clowns, right? Reuben Evans, and Glim Peters. He pointed at each in turn, and the two men pulled cheesy grins. Peters even crossed his eyes. "What names, eh."

"Says Mikhail," Peters called. "Who names their kid Mikhail?"

"Ignore him," Michail said to Francis. "He's still sore his parents misspelled their feelings at having bore him as a child."

"What's that then?"

"Glum."

This word-play made me giggle. "Ruby Celeste and the Ghost Armada" has plenty of humour, plenty of action and a character who seems puffed up with his own importance, to say the least. Rhod Stein is always in the right and he can pretty much do what he wishes. Having had full control of his skyport - floating city - he seems to think that all he encounters will fall in with his plans. Not so.

Poor old Francis Paige is just not having a good day. Being kidnapped from down on earth, taken up into a floating city from which he might fall, ripped from his kidnapper and then chased and shot at is not something he is used to from home.

For having been through what he has, I think Francis pulled himself together quite well. I'm kind of like him. For a time I will bemoan whatever new thing it is that fate has thrown at me. Then I get sick of myself and get on with life as best I can. Francis' experiences are a bit more extreme than any I have ever experienced. So I feel he deserves a few days to pull himself together.

In his need he finds support with Natasha Brady (the ship's navigator and possibly the ship's talk-to person). Natasha is the kind of person that listens and is able to see past angry and fearful expressions. Would that I could always do that. She is exactly what Francis needs to conquer his fears - quite understandable ones for a land-dweller.

We don't get a whole lot of world-building, but there is some. The "Ruby Celeste" series is supposed to be a steam-punk universe. But it is not one with a great amount of technical explanations. There are a couple of unusual aspects to it. One of those is that the sky-vessel is powered by something called a Volum.

Like our "household" animals these Volums have been bred to serve the purpose humans want it for. At first I thought that the Volum must be in some sort of slave relationship to humans, but it seems the ones bred for the purpose are content as long as they are fed. I wonder if they have some effect on humans. Benjamin Thoroughgood seemed intensely interested in being with the creature, but whether that was "normal" for any person exposed to a Volum over time or if it was some character trait of Benjamin is impossible to say.

Ruby Celeste was the fourth character that was obvious in the novel. The Volum wasn't. I just became interested in what it was. Ruby is what I would call a person who draws the attention of others. She isn't physically intimidating, but that does not stop Ruby from being intimidating when she turns on her engines. Impulsive and stubborn are two words that fit her well. I am very stubborn myself but not exactly impulsive. I am, however, blessed with a son who is and that has brought a great many interesting experiences into my life - as any one who is associated with an impulsive person can attest to. Ruby has one quality that I treasure. She is able to admit when she is wrong and actually apologizes. Being the Captain does not stop her from "eating humble pie". I both like her and am frustrated by her.

After reading book number one of the "Ruby Celeste" universe, I would have to say that I had fun reading it and loved the action and humour present.

[...]
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on 23 September 2014
There is an old tag that in most forms of fiction you can include one impossible premise and providing you stick to it the story will work. I am afraid that in this the author has to a great extent failed which although I didn't totally dislike the story is why I have marked him down. As others indicate the basic premise of the story is fairly fast paced and has a fair number of thrills and spills and some of the characterisations and interplay of the crew and others are well thought out which I would normally give it a four rating but unfortunately as I read the first story, in what is now at least a trilogy, I kept wondering about the basic economics underpinning the universe that was being depicted.

OK we have a 'steam punk' universe and as such I can accept the mix of modern and Victorian era technology of the flying ships and the sky docks they travel between even if their motive power appears to be animate which somehow negates the weight of things surrounding. But apparently none of the vessels appearing in this first tale can get close to ground level without their weight returning to normal and the ship crashing to the ground. This is where the economics questions kick in loudly and clearly:

1. Where does all the steel, electronics, plastics and sundry other material including most importantly food come from?
2. What does Ruby Celeste buy, sell or otherwise do to make a living for her 18 strong crew?
3. Why do even relatively small flying ships carry enough heavy ordinance to take out two flying sky docks but the docks themselves with hundreds if not thousands of people on board seem incapable of defending themselves?
4. Who carries the insurance allowing new ships to be bought?
5. Who builds the new ships? (see 1 above)

Since I bought the Kindle version with all three current books bound together I may well attempt to read the other bocks but it will be more on the basis of seeing if the author answers those queries than to see where the story goes.

If you can ignore these questions then as others have indicated you may well enjoy this tale but if not I would strongly advise you to avoid it instead.
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on 22 April 2013
This is a brilliant story set in a captivating universe. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and cannot wait for the next one to come out! I highly recommend you read this.
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on 13 April 2013
This is an excellent and thoroughly well written book. The plot is interesting and captivating yet also a light hearted read ,which is always a welcome treat. There are a variety of very believable characters all of whom have their own personality, which shines through even in the most minor of characters making it easy to imagine yourself there among the characters as you're reading it.
I don't usually read this genre and it is the first ebook I have ever read, so I am glad I made the decision to try something different. I think the best thing about this book is that it can be enjoyed wholly by anyone; men or women, younger or older readers.
I finished it very quickly and I can't wait for Dire Kraken to be released as I'm really interested in seeing how the story and characters evolve. I'm sure we can expect many more brilliant things from this author.
Overall Verdict: An excellent light hearted read, the only thing I would say is lacking is that I would love a hard copy of it (I'm still a lover of paper books).
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on 11 December 2014
The first volume of a new series and what an installment it was. This is the world of Ruby Celeste and her crew, a group of adventurers exploring the skies in their airship.
I found this book very hard to put down once it got going, which was almost straight away. Most of the book did feel like a setup for the series, introducing characters and so on, but quite frankly that's where the book shines as the characters are some of the best I've read in a good long while. You want pick up the next volume just to see how they are all doing. The captain herself is very intriguing and I look forward to see how she developed.
This volume may be bait to lure me into the rest of the series, but it worked and I can't wait to read the next book. The only problem being that I'm going in with very high expectations.
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on 15 March 2014
A great idea with a decent array of characters, a wonderful setting and an easy-to-follow (if somewhat Hollywood) plot.

Not perfect, but certainly worth a look for any steampunk fan (or indeed any pirate/adventure fan) at this bargain price. May well take a look at some of the sequels.
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on 14 August 2013
So today for an hour and 45 minutes of my time (I'm a pretty fast reader) I read the first ever book in the Ruby Celeste series. And what a fantastic book!So fantastic in fact that I wasn't distracted by anything else (T.v/ computer etc). I couldn't put it down and I'm thoroughly looking forward to buying and reading the next books in the series. Now I'm not usually a fan of these genres of book but this one has changed my mind. It's defiantly one I'll be reading again.
Now to end the review: a massive well done Nick! :)
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on 26 August 2013
This is a well written and imaginative book and the authors insight into the complexities of human nature is commendable. His imagination has us transported to a dimension in which Ruby Celeste, her crew and their futuristic ship really do exist and we live their adventures with them. I could not put this book down and am now about to start on the second book in the series.
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on 6 October 2013
What can I say? The 1st Ruby Celeste novel is a fantastic read and a brilliant start to what I'm sure is going to be an amazing series. Ambrose has created a captivating universe with its own mythos in the same expert way as other authors like George R.R. Martin and J.K Rowling.

If you're getting this on Kindle, it's free, which for something like this is an absolute steal. I look forward to starting the next book in the series as well as picking up the spin-off novel (The Final Flight of Castle Adeline) which promises to extend and elaborate upon this dangerous, exciting and thrilling world that Ambrose has crafted and introduced in 'Ghost Armada.'

Highly recommended!
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This book was unexpectedly good! I downloaded it on the recommendation of others but I'm really glad I did. This was an enjoyable, pacey read and I will definitely be buying the next in the series.

This is a real departure from my usual reading genres, but I'm glad I stepped out of my comfort zone in that regard!
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