The Wake of the Dragon

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The Wake of the Dragon: A Steampunk Adventure

Last Free on: 29th Oct 17
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...Steampunk and speculative fiction fans will probably adore it....

This is a fantastic Steampunk adventure,pirates, runaways,stowaways, heists, betrayal and all fuelled by the Victorian desire for opium. After a large opium theft the captain of the ship has to escape, landing in a cornfield, which is where the Captain picks up a problem. Stealing the opium won’t be as hard as living to sell it.

Written by Jaq D. Hawkins, which is either a pen name, or the most appropriate author name in history, this is a tale of pirates and drugs and daring, mixed with real world grit and themes.  Just as the Dragon in the title has multiple meanings, being both an opium reference, and a seafarer’s. There are plots within plots, wheels within wheels, and even the bit part characters have their own desires and designs.  Most of the plot happens when they collide.

Nothing and no one in this book is one-dimensional, and the author loves subverting expectations. Alliances change, friendships shift, and people develop under pressure in unexpected ways. Khana, the golden-eyed tabby ship’s cat is as much a supporting character as any of the airmen with her own foibles and scrapes. At the end I found myself wondering about her fate first, a question the author mercifully answers.

This is absolutely beautifully written. The writing isn’t just immersive, it is evocative. The scenes leap off the page, and the characters come to life. There was only one typo that took me out of the story: a confusion of palfrey and paltry that made me laugh. Paltry means small but palfrey is a type of women’s horse. Mind you, ‘Palfrey wages’ would definitely be something to complain about, and expensive to maintain.

Steampunk and speculative fiction fans will probably adore it, but so may readers of Victoriana, heists, and lovers of quasi-historical fiction. If you like good writing and excellent characterisation in general, then I’d suggest you give this a look.

 

Rating: 4
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Discussion

Anna (2 November 2017)
This is a glowing review of what sounds like an amazing book. I've never read a novel centered around a desire for opium; how intriguing! Also, dynamic characters who subvert expectations? That makes this a need-to-read. Thanks for the great review.

Tregaron (2 November 2017)
I picked this up on *@Reader*'s say so through the boards and I could not put it down. The Victorian genre of "Scientific Romance" is about all I can fit to this: real people, in a real Vicorian world of slums and pirates, and airships. The entire book's difference to the real world could be summed up as "If airships had been invented fifty years earlier and become the main source of transport..."

Donna (3 November 2017)
Wow! What a review. Makes me want to read this right away. It also reminds me of *Ruby in the Smoke* by Phillip Pullman. That was one that I couldn't put down. I do hope this one will be the same. Thank you!

C. Lee McKenzie (4 November 2017)
I agree. Your review was very tantalizing. I also think the cover is a winner! I'm not much into Steampunk, but I may have to reevaluate.

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