When I first began reading Romulus Buckle & The City of the Founders by Richard Ellis Preston, Jr., I was reminded of Terry Pratchett's Disc World. Not that Preston's world is "like" the Disc World stories. It's not. But the energy is there and the fun. And I do believe fans of Pratchett will enjoy this story which is book one in the steam punk series called The Chronicles of the Pneumatic Zeppelin.
Romulus Buckle, age eighteen, is the Captain of the Pneumatic Zeppelin, a fantastic, steam-powered airship stolen by Buckle when he was fifteen years old in retaliation for a raid by the Imperialist clan that killed his sister. Captain Buckle and his crew are on a mission to rescue Buckle's adopted father Balthazar Crankshaft, the leader of the Crankshaft clan. Before their daring descent into the city of the Founders they bring on board the grizzled field commander, Pleuteus Brassballs and his Ballblasters. Admiral Crankshaft and two other clan members were kidnapped when they attended a meeting to engender a truce between the clans. The secretive Founders hold the Admiral in their fog-shrouded stronghold centered in old Los Angeles at the La Brea Tar Pits. The adventure turns dire before the zeppelin even reaches the Founders. Captain Buckle, out on the envelope of the ship to repair a large tear, is attacked by "flying beasties" called tanglers. The intrepid captain survives after falling off the zeppelin and parachuting into the territory of another clan called The Alchemists. The Alchemists build robots--steam powered, of course--and decide to join Buckle's rescue crew rather than kill him. The reason: their leader, the beautiful and enigmatic Andromeda Pollux, was also kidnapped by the Founders.
Romulus Buckle and The City of the Founders is a swashbuckling tale, steam punk all the way, My guess is these stories will be widely read and talked about for years to come. Although this fast-moving story is my first steam punk novel, it won't be my last. What a page turner! With Preston's short, crisp chapters all ending on a hook, this book is truly hard to put down. I loved the world-building, the story, and especially the characters' names. But it was the writing that really grabbed me--wonderful character development and turns of phrase that would make any author proud. Masterful!
Author of Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction
Published by Guardian Angel Publishing December 2014:
Jeremiah Lucky and the Guardian Angel
Jeremiah needs a little help and he gets it with the sudden appearance of his guardian angel. Chapter book for ages 7-10.
Jeremiah Lucky Finds Puppy Love
Jeremiah dodges a kiss from a princess and falls head over heels for a lost puppy. Chapter book for ages 7-10.
Watch for these titles coming soon:
The Whispering Chimney
Eleven-year old Bethany finds a stone chimney and discovers a beautiful but terrifying past. (upper middle grade)
(Beyond the) Stone Eagle Gate
David, age fifteen, flees a false accusation and takes refuge in a haunted, abandoned mansion. (YA, historical fiction ghost story)
The Interplanetary Adventures of Yan Sunnara: Book I Rescue on Lato
Cultural scientist Yan Sunnara rescues an unusual child on the planet of Lato with the help of an exotic and beautiful Uvian archaeologist. (Adult, soft Science Fiction, Rescue on Lato is the first of a series of four novellas.)
Three teens are connected by a mysterious and sometimes frightening ability to cross over from one dimension here on earth to another. This YA novel placed in the top three in Florida Writers 2013 RPLA competition. Speculative Fiction.
Some Great MG and YA books
- Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman
- These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
- Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
- Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby
- Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
- Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood
- The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
- Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt
- Red Blood Road by Moira Young
- On Little Wings by Regina Sirois
- Nation by Terry Pratchett
- Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
- Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley (Printz 2012)
- The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
- Fire by Kristin Cashore