Tuesday 15 October 2013

Book Review: Fiendish Schemes by K W Jeter

Title: Fiendish Schemes
Author: K W Jeter
Publisher: Tor
Publication Date: 15 October 2013
Pages: 352
Format: E-Book - PDF
Genre: Steampunk
Source: ARC via NetGalley

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In 1986 K. W. Jeter coined the term "steampunk," applying it to his first Victorian-era science fiction alternate-history adventure. At last he has returned with Fiendish Schemes, a tale of George Dower, son of the inventor of Infernal Devices, who has been in new self-imposed exile…accumulating debts.

The world Dower left when he went into hiding was significantly simpler than the new, steam-powered Victorian London, a mad whirl of civilization filled with gadgets and gears in the least expected places. After accepting congratulations for his late father's grandest invention—a walking, steam-powered lighthouse—Dower is enticed by the prospect of financial gain into a web of intrigue with ominously mysterious players who have nefarious plans of which he can only guess.

If he can locate and make his father’s Vox Universalis work as it was intended, his future, he is promised, is assured. But his efforts are confounded by the strange Vicar Stonebrake, who promises him aid, but is more interested in converting sentient whales to Christianity—and making money—than in helping George. Drugged, arrested, and interrogated by men, women, and the steam-powered Prime Minister, Dower is trapped in a maelstrom of secrets, corruption, and schemes that threaten to drown him in the chaos of this mad new world.
(Goodreads Synopsis)

Whilst I still enjoyed reading Fiendish Schemes, I feel it lacks the punch of Infernal Devices and, at least until towards the end of the novel, the wit and humour from the original is missing as well.
The storyline meandered for a while before finding its way and the characters at times seemed like cardboard cut-outs.

If you read and enjoyed the first book, you might, like me, find something to enjoy in this one, but, if you are coming to Jeter's writing for the first time, this is not likely to be a good book with which to start.

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