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Steampunk Grows Up,
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This review is from: The Steam Magnate: .A Novel of the Broken Glass City (Broken Glass City Mosaic) (Paperback)
Judging from it's position in an Amazon backwater 'The Steam Magnate' seems likely to disappear into obscurity. This would be a terrible shame.
Like all good Steampunk novels, 'The Steam Magnate' takes place in a slightly altered reality, where steam is still used as major source of power. From there things rapidly diverge - There are no cyborg Queen Victorias or gun-toting Englishmen with large moustaches. Instead Copithorne has created a beautiful, lyrical city, in which nothing is quite what it seems.
The novel is a little wordy at first, and there are lot of long meandering sentences to read before anything of substance happens. At the centre of events is the mysterious steam magnate Eson, whose control over people is supernatural. Like a vampire, he leeches energy from the people he holds in thrall, in order to ensure his own survival. We see the Broken Glass City from three perspectives - Eson's and two of his vassals. The steam magnate's motives are never entirely clear. Is he friend or foe?
To Copithorne's credit, this question isn't really answered, even by the end of the story. The reader is left to make his own conclusions. This is a bewitching tale, meditating on the true nature of power, charisma and how the weak follow the strong. This is not Steampunk - it's a whole lot more emotionally sophisticated than that - Steamo perhaps?
Finally, the book itself is a work of art. High quality paper, thick start and end-pages and an elegant cover drawn by the author herself. Her wonderful pen-and-ink drawings punctuate the book throughout, adding a little something extra. This is a true book lovers book. I don't suppose the Steam Magnate will ever become a large seller, but if you do take the plunge and purchase a copy, you will become part of an exclusive and rather lucky group.