An Atomic Moo Book Review of James P. Blaylock’s New Steampunk Novel!
Alright, steam (and/or punk) love’n El Moochadores. There’s a new book out from Titan Books and the master of steampunk that’ll have you iching all over to polishing your brass googles and doft a bowler hat. Beneath London is an exciting new Langdon St. Ives adventure from author James P. Blaylock, that takes readers back to the late 19th century, and deep beneath London. It’s a strange world of macabre science and man eating mushrooms. Good stuff.
The adventure starts soon after Blaylock’s last novel, the The Aylesford Skull, and when St. Ives crashing dirigible opened up a chasm to the deep underworld beneath London. Now, St. Ives is all set to explore this gaping maw, but unfortunately a head collecting sociopath has other plans for St. Ives… and his knowledge rich noggin. Oh, and then there’s a flute playing dwarf, a kidnapped blind girl, the man eating mushrooms, talking -goo filled- heads, and an electric head shaver. The whole head, that is.
In a way, I thought this novel had a “Lovecraft” like feel to its dark journey, and though some steam-era tech does make an apperance, for the most part the story stays away from retro tech re-imagining that seem to overburden most steampunk stories. Dammit, not every one can get their hands on a dirigible! However; I did like the idea of the electric guillotine and the new villain, Klingheimer. The man is wealthy, English, and a total sociopath. All ingredients for a great bad guy. A lot of credit goes to Blaylock for consistent imagining of sinister fellows like Dr. Norbondon, Klingheimer, and their assorted henchmen. The only criticism (and its more of a personal dislike) I have of this book is Blaylock’s writing of the main characters. Can someone by so English it actually gets them killed? Well, maybe. Read the book to find out, but the main, “good”, characters are almost too flawless to really be enjoyed. I get that there’s an ideal behind characters like these, but were a whole generation raised on the “anti-hero,” and it has always been a little hard for me to enjoy Blaylock’s sinless good guys. Then again, there’s the dwarf.
Beneath London is now available in all major book stores or you can find your copy online at titanbooks.com.
Check out Beneath London’s full synopsis below!
The collapse of the Victoria Embankment uncovers a passage to an unknown realm beneath the city. Langdon St. Ives sets out to explore it, not knowing that a brilliant and wealthy psychopathic murderer is working to keep the underworld’s secrets hidden for reasons of his own.
St. Ives and his stalwart friends investigate a string of ghastly crimes: the gruesome death of a witch, the kidnapping of a blind, psychic girl, and the grim horrors of a secret hospital where experiments in medical electricity and the development of human, vampiric fungi, serve the strange, murderous ends of perhaps St. Ives’s most dangerous nemesis yet.