Lady of Devices, a steampunk adventure novel (Magnificent Devices)
by Shelley Adina
- File Size: 309 KB
- Print Length: 210 pages
- Publisher: Shelley Adina (May 29, 2011)
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0053CYXS0
My Rating: 4.75 of 5.0
Publication Date: May 29, 2011
Book One of the Magnificent Devices series, a novel of 54,000 words.
London, 1889. Victoria is Queen. Charles Darwin’s son is Prime Minister. And steam is the power that runs the world.
At 17, Claire Trevelyan, daughter of Viscount St. Ives, was expected to do nothing more than pour an elegant cup of tea, sew a fine seam, and catch a rich husband. Unfortunately, Claire’s talents lie not in the ballroom, but in the chemistry lab, where things have a regrettable habit of blowing up. When her father gambles the estate on the combustion engine and loses, Claire finds herself down and out on the mean streets of London. But being a young woman of resources and intellect, she turns fortune on its head. It’s not long before a new leader rises in the underworld, known only as the Lady of Devices.
When she meets Andrew Malvern, a member of the Royal Society of Engineers, she realizes her talents may encompass more than the invention of explosive devices. They may help her realize her dreams and his . . . if they can both stay alive long enough to see that sometimes the closest friendships can trigger the greatest betrayals . . .
Claire Trevelyan would much rather experiment in a laboratory than chat over tea or dance at a ball. When her father dies and the family fortune is lost her mother retires to the country with Claire’s infant brother. Claire remains behind to sell off the property in London and, although her mother will object, to find employment.
Claire makes a wrong turn in her steampowered landau and is attacked and robbed. She is helped by a group of orphaned, street children, complete with a half starved chicken, Rosie. The group has been guided and lead by Snouts who has taught them the fine arts of pickpocketing and living off the streets. The group includes 5-6 year old Willie who does not speak but adorably dragged the Lady from danger. The “Mopsies”, Maggie and Lizzie, are twin girls of 10 who are designated scouts. Tigg is a rapscallion who has a keen interest in learning mechanics and is quick to become Lady Claire’s ‘chauffeur.’ Then there is Jake, a sullen boy who doesn’t trust strangers but who has an almost photographic mind. Claire determines to take the children under her wing and teach them skills that will allow them to earn their way.
Claire introduces the children to explosive weapons for protection and to assist in retrieving her stolen vehicle from another gang. Claire comes into possession of a “lightening” rifle during the battle and she also takes control of a house and a treasure as she becomes the Lady of Devices protecting her adopted “flock.”
Claire meets Andrew when she applies to be his office assistant. She is excited for the chance to work for a true scientist and hopes that she may earn a recommendation to enter University to study engineering. Unfortunately, Andrew’s partner turns out to be Lord James who has taken an interest in courting Claire and objects to her working for Andrew or going on to study. Claire is not one to take orders well so Lord James has moved from a person of possible romantic interest to one in opposition.
This is a delightful story with enjoyable characters in the intrepid Lady Claire and her flock of children. The steampunk elements are wonderful, including, in addition to the vehicle and rifle, messages sent through vacuum tubes and mother’s helper robots that clean floors like a modern day “roomba”! The writing is easy and light so the reading moves quickly. Ms. Adina has set the stage for adventures to ensue in the next books and I am very glad I had book 2 so I didn’t have to wait to move along!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~Claire teaches important but subtle lessons. She makes Lizzie return a stolen purse and the clerk is so grateful that Claire explains:
You have received thanks you did not deserve, and forgiveness that you did. Location 3226.
I am very glad to discover this author by winning books 1- 3 of this series.