My word! Steampunk is really exploding across the literature scene at the moment. Once again, I have the honour of featuring an upcoming new Steampunk novel, this time from British author E.C. Jarvis.
From the Official Press Release:
The Machine is a sensational new novel, written by a determined machine of an author and published by a market-smashing machine of a publisher. Strap into your corset, polish your goggles and purchase a copy, you’re in for a captivating ride!
Official Synopsis of The Machine – Book one of the Blood and Destiny Series
Larissa Markus is a humble clerk in a clothing shop with a hidden past when she is swept off her feet by the charismatic Professor. Their whirlwind romance explodes in her face and leads her down a tumultuous path of adventure, intrigue, love and violence. Airships, pirates, corsets, torture, murder, and more await in the first novel of the Blood and Destiny Series from E.C. Jarvis.
The Machine is an adult steampunk fantasy book. Possible triggers are present within the book including but not limited to sex, murder, torture, and violence.
About the Author
E.C. Jarvis is a British author working mainly in speculative and fantasy fiction genres. For the last thirteen years, Jarvis has been working her way through the ranks of the accountancy profession in various industries. During ten of those years she has also been writing.
Her first success at publishing was a poem in a collection titled Fear Itself published by Forward Poetry in 2012. Following a three year hiatus where she “couldn’t even bring myself to write a shopping list”, 2015 saw a turnaround that has seen her complete two full novels, gain two publishing contracts, win a number of online writing competitions and is on track to complete her first trilogy.
She was born in Surrey, England in 1982. She now resides in Hampshire, England with her daughter and husband.
- Professional bean counter.
- Semi-professional word spewer.
- Once got the two confused – it was not pretty.
- Born, raised and currently living in England.
- Over the years, E.C.Jarvis has managed to accumulate a husband, a daughter and a cat.
Cid reached up to scratch his head. He grunted when the attempt was thwarted by the strap of his goggles and the thick leather glove on his hand. It had escaped his mind that he was wearing either. He looked at his hand for a moment, debating whether the itch was irritating enough to warrant taking off the glove and removing his goggles. He opted to use the spanner in his left hand to get it instead.
“Fucking pointless,” he muttered to himself and then threw the spanner back into his toolbox, knocking off the blueprints that sat on top. The box jostled and the lid slammed shut.
The Machine stood in front of him, dominating the room. Its outer shell, constructed from brass and silver, had two great domes that reached up to the ceiling of the control room. It was finished. The steam turbine had been tested and the cooling systems were in place, the condensers and pumps ready to work and every wire connected. The only thing missing was the fuel—the Anthonium.
Cid chewed on his nail; he didn’t stop when the leather of his glove came between his teeth instead of his fingernail. Absentmindedly, he chewed on the glove instead.
“How long has he been gone?” Cid called to one of the workers nearby. The short and rotund man looked up at the clock on the wall and then glanced back.
“Umm, an hour?” the man said with a shrug before scuttling off to get on with his work.
“Awfully useful, you are,” Cid grumbled. He headed to the Machine and fiddled with the controls inside a hatch, muttering to himself.
The door to the room on the level above opened and Cid turned to look up at the balcony. The Professor entered, his long blond hair flowing with each stride. Cid had expected his employer to bring the Anthonium in so they could test the Machine tonight. Instead, the Professor had brought a girl with him. Her own mop of blond curls bobbed as they walked together into the room.
Cid scrunched up his face. He tried to remind himself that this was the Professor’s project. His pride and joy, his design, built with his money, and if he wanted to show it off for the sake of some skirt, that was his choice. Still, it didn’t stop Cid from feeling irked by the situation. Not that he would dare allude to that fact.
“What does it do?” Cid heard the young woman ask.
“It’s a small-scale fission reactor, used to generate power through a sustained chain reaction. The heat generated from the reaction with the core element is passed through a fluid, which releases steam. The steam powers a set of turbines which pass a charge to a generator.”
Cid sunk his forehead into his hand as he listened to the Professor attempt to explain the most complex machine in the entire world to someone who clearly had no concept of it. It was like listening to a physics Professor explain the workings of the universe to a monkey.
“It will do wonders for our world, Larissa,” the Professor continued. “This will give us incredible power, make our furnaces obsolete, and block out the winter. With this, we’ll be masters of our enemies. I need only one more element to make it work.”
Cid just about managed to stop himself from bursting into fits of hysterical laughter when he heard the Professor promising all kinds of love and affection to the poor, startled creature in exchange for the one thing Cid needed—and perhaps a few more things the Professor desired.
Before Cid realized it, the girl had agreed. Now, she handed over her necklace, complete with the Anthonium they’d been so desperate to find. Cid watched with one eye between his fingers as the Professor scooped her into an embrace and dropped the necklace over the balcony.
Cid caught it. He uncurled the fingers of his glove. It was a much smaller sample than he had planned for, but it didn’t matter. It was enough. He ripped the chain of the necklace from the stone, discarded it, and turned to the Machine.
One side panel was open; a small housing sat ready for the Anthonium. He inserted the stone into the clips and stood back. In his haste he forgot to shut the panel. Sweat dripped from his brow. His heart thumped inside his chest as he took to the controls and prodded the buttons.
The Machine clicked and whirred into life. The initial readouts were good. The generator was operational. The cooling towers came online. From one second to the next, the entire thing had come alive, and most importantly of all…
“By the Gods!” Cid yelled. “It’s working, Professor. It’s bloody working.”
The Professor turned, smiling down at Cid until the girl grabbed him, resuming the kiss. Some odd noises came from the direction of the door on the level above; several thumps that didn’t sound like knocking. Without warning, the entire doorway exploded inwards with a deafening boom. Chunks of wall and wood shattered. The aftershock from the blast sent the Professor and the girl tumbling over the balcony. Cid turned, grabbed the blueprint on his toolbox, and rushed for cover behind one of the tall cabinets, his heart thumping against his ribs.
The sound of gunshots echoed around the room, followed by a hiss. Cid shut his eyes tight and waited. It had all been a waste, a complete and utter waste of time and effort. A final, massive explosion rocked the entire building to the core. Something smacked into the side of his head and blackness surrounded him.
He awoke scrunched in a ball behind the cabinet. The acrid smell of smoke assaulted his senses. As he tried to breathe, his lungs protested the lack of clean air. Cid crawled out into hazy darkness. What remained of the Machine still burned, billowing smoke and ash into the room. The roar of the fire blocked any other sounds. Bodies charred nearby in the flames.
Through the smoke he saw the young woman sprawled out on her back, the movement of her shallow breathing just visible; the Professor was gone. Cid crawled toward her, dragging himself along and keeping as low to the ground as he could. As he drew close to the fire, he realized he still clutched the blueprints—the only copy. He passed one final glance up at the Machine, tossed the blueprint into the flames, and reached out to grab the girl. She seemed to be the only thing left to save.