Title: Fiendish Schemes
Author: K W Jeter
Publication Date: 15 October 2013
Format: E-Book - PDF
Source: ARC via NetGalley
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.
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.