Steampunk – It’s All the Rage

February 25, 2011 | Author Friend New Releases

British author Robert Appleton is a creative genius. His critically acclaimed books range from erotica to science fiction. Never one to stymie himself, Rob tackled the new Steampunk genre and produced a well-plotted mystery that keeps the reader guessing.

Robert Appleton
ISBN: 9781426891151
Carina Press


In a time of grand airships and steam-powered cars, the death of a penniless young maid will hardly make the front page. But part-time airship waitress and music hall dancer Julia Bairstow is shattered by her sister’s murder. When Lady Law, the most notorious private detective in Britain, offers to investigate the case pro bono, Julia jumps at the chance—even against the advice of Constable Al Grant, who takes her protection surprisingly to heart.

Lady Law puts Scotland Yard to shame. She’s apprehended Jack the Ripper and solved countless other cold-case crimes. No one knows how she does it, but it’s brought her fortune, renown and even a title. But is she really what she claims to be—a genius at deducting? Or is Al right and she is not be trusted?

Julia is determined to find out the truth, even if it means turning sleuth herself—and turning the tables on Lady Law…


The hillside site at Dover was a veritable three-ring circus of photographers, police, picnickers, mobile sandwich and hot chestnut stalls, curious ramblers and more bespectacled men than Julia had ever seen congregated in one place. She guessed the latter were scientists and newspaper men. The Pegasus swooped low for a wonderfully close passing view of the iron mole, minutes before the start of its grand adventure. Other airships followed suit, then the convoy climbed, executed a one-hundred-and-eighty-degree turnaround and flew back over the machine, this time affording the passengers on the opposite side of the ships a clear view.

“It’s revving up,” Al enthused, responding to oohs and aahs from the far tables. “Come on.” He took Julia by the hand and hurried her across. A growl from below spun to a wiry squealing crescendo, much louder than she’d expected. No one would make way for Al, so to gain a better view he climbed onto a nearby chair. Julia offered to let him steady himself on her shoulder—the spectacle obviously meant more to him—but instead he helped her up onto a chair of her own.

Heady with excitement, she kept hold of his hand all while they watched.

The giant drill spun so fast she couldn’t make out its iron grooves. Its nose was a whirling monstrous cone of quite astounding power. Its silver body, a long, caterpillar cylinder covered with a spiral of toothlike treads, soon blackened under a layer of earth tossed up from the burrowing drill. A little over ten feet of penetration and already the debris cloud reached as high as the airships, masking much of the show.

Loud cheers and applause filled the Pegasus. Al beamed like a schoolboy at the fair. He reached over and gave Julia a peck on the cheek. She gripped his hand tighter. The Pegasus circled the cloud for a better view and she cheered along with everyone when the mole’s rear slid into the hillside and vanished, leaving a huge dark crater.

“It’s amazing,” she yelled above the furor.

“What’s that?” asked Al.

“Professor McEwan…he doesn’t even know what he’ll find down there.”

“I know. He’s a braver man than I…the magnificent fool.”

“Do you think we’ll ever see him again?” she asked.

Laughing, high on the moment, he hurled his hat and gloves at the ceiling and replied, “I don’t suppose he’s thought that far ahead. Relish it, Julia. He digs down, we climb high, the sun is out. This is a good day to be English!”

The small brass and woodwind sections finished their rendition of “Land of Hope and Glory,” then deferred to the string quartet for a lively number. Strauss’s “Tristch-Tratsch Polka,” one of her absolute favourites. Couples from all over the dining room, and even a few from the upper deck, scurried onto the polished, glittering dance floor and arranged themselves in a circle.

“Now or never,” Julia teased, holding her arms out for Al to lift her down from the chair.

He grinned and leapt to her aid with the agility of a swashbuckler. “Hey, do you even know this dance?”

“One way to find out.”

The dust cloud faded in the whorl of a breeze outside, permitting full, unfettered entry to the most brilliant sunlight Southern England had seen in weeks. It reflected off shiny crockery and bare tabletops and the roof of the spotless piano, blinding every dancer who spun in that direction. To her surprise, Al segued into the fast tempo with grace to spare, his compact, athletic frame matching her turn for turn. The feel of his hand on her waist made her giddy and his gaze found hers even when they changed partners. It inspired her to improvise during the ladies’ solo forays into the centre, and her bouncy quick-shuffles and spins soon drew generous applause from spectators. Al never once faltered. He was the steady glide to her soaring syncopation. This was her moment to shine. Hers and Al’s. While they were together, everyone else aboard the Pegasus faded away.

She had never enjoyed dancing more.


To learn more about Robert Appleton and his intriguing books, visit his website or swing by his blog. He’s also on Facebook and Twitter

Have a terrific weekend. I’ll be back Tuesday with a new teaser. Until then…

Happy Reading!

Sloane Taylor
Sweet as Honey…Hotter than Hell

Add A Comment

8 Responses to “Steampunk – It’s All the Rage”

  1. Robert Appleton Says:

    Thanks for the shout-out, mon amie!

  2. Sloane Says:

    My pleasure! I love to share great talent with my readers.

  3. Sloane Says:

    Hi Beth,

    Thanks for stopping in.

    Steampunk is a fun way of elaborating on a past era. Do you remember back in the late 60s the TV show Wild Wild West? James West, Robert Conrad, and his sidekick Artemis Gordon, Ross Martin, worked as special agents for the US government. It took place in the 1800s. They had a “high-tech” (for its day) railroad car stocked with a compliment of advanced weapons. Their mission involved saving the United States from some disaster or from being taken over by some evil genius. And of course, they always succeeded. It’s the closest example I can think of to describe Steampunk.

  4. Marie Tuhart Says:

    Wow, sounds like a very interesting book. I’ve never been interested in Steampunk, but this book is going in the TBR pile. Great job, Robert.

  5. Robert Appleton Says:

    Hi Beth! Thanks for the great compliment.

    Sloane gave a good example of steampunk. No doubt I over-explained it last time (is there a pill for that?). Another example of steampunk would be the Sean Connery movie, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. In a nutshell, it’s the Victorian era with steam-based technology ahead of its time. There’s lots of brass and crazy inventions. Think 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, or HG Wells’ The Time Machine.

    Of course, my steampunk world borrows bits and pieces from all those great old sci-fi authors.

  6. Robert Appleton Says:

    Thanks, Marie! I think if you like historical mysteries/adventures, you’ll enjoy this particular steampunk. It’s not as heavy on the sci-fi/fantasy as some in this genre.

  7. Melissa Bradley Says:

    I am reading Lady law right now and it is epic. It’s adventurous, humorous and edgy with wicked cool characters. I really love your writing Robert and look forward to the day when I am caught up with all your titles.

  8. Robert Appleton Says:

    Thanks so much, Melissa. I’m really hoping Carina likes my new steampunk sub–I’d love to make an epic series out of it.