Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Impossible Cube-Steven Harper

The Impossible Cube

Steven Harper

Roc, May 1 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451464507

By 1857, the “clockwork plague” disease turned people into brainless zombies. A few of the inflicted become short-lived mechanical geniuses creating technological advances. England and China emerged from the calamity as superpowers, with both using clockwork geniuses to push their country to the top. However, in England a cure for the clockwork plague zombie syndrome was discovered but the government’s top secret Third Ward rationalizes that deploying it to save lives will destroy the kingdom as China would still have its mechanical gurus. They try to hide the cure in The Doomsday Vault, but Lady Alice Michaels and Gavin Ennock steal the elixir and begin releasing it while agents of the now defunct Third Ward led by Lieutenant Susan Phipps chase them in France.

Phipps and her goons (Glenda Teasdale and Simon D’Arco) catch Gavin who has caught the plague thanks to Alice’s late Aunt Edwinna. Alice, Click the Cat, Feng and Dr. Clef rescue Gavin. They flee to Luxembourg for supplies while on their way to China where they hope to find a cure for the clockwork mechanical genius syndrome before Gavin and Clef die. Using the new wireless communication technology invented by a clockwork genius, Phipps pursues the traitors.

The second Clockwork Empire steampunk alternate historical is an exciting adventure thriller that starts off with action and never slows down until a confrontation in the Ukraine. Fast-paced, readers will enjoy the escapes of the Bostonian and the lady as she is apt to rescue him even more than he does her. With a nod to Jules Verne’s Five Week in a Balloon (though an African crossing), readers will appreciate Steven Harper’s exhilarating trek across the European continent.

Harriet Klausner

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