It has been a while since I featured a Steampunk novel on this blog and even longer since I reviewed one, so it is about time I at least introduce you to one I foind very interesting:
Full Throttle by Jon Heartless
In an autocratic society that refuses to let her move forward, can Poppy stay ahead of the pack?
As expensive steam-powered automobiles speed across the land, Poppy Orpington is trapped and going nowhere – until her father reveals his secret project, a petrol-fuelled car ready for the race track. But will they even be allowed to compete? Racing is the preserve of the wealthy elite and few will welcome a working class family onto their hallowed ground. Can Poppy overcome social prejudice and conformity, or will her one and only chance of a better life be crushed before it can even begin?
Full Throttle; book one of a Steampunk motor racing adventure set in a world of division, intolerance and inequality that modern readers may find disturbingly familiar…
A short excerpt to kindle your interest:
The girls did as they were told and ran excitedly on to the quiet road. Behind them, Poppy’s father pulled open the inner doors and disappeared into the rear section of the workshop, where a faint outline of something tall and wide could be seen. After several moments silence, there was a faint whine of something mechanical waking up in the shadows. Small flashes of light, some red, some green, pierced the darkness. A second, deeper whine joined the first, while the red flashes disappeared. There was a pause of absolute calm, as though the world was holding its breath, before it abruptly exhaled with the ear-splitting roar of a huge engine bursting into life.
This was no quiet cough and hiss of a steam-powered vehicle, no refined hum of a copper boiler releasing power into a turbine. This was a brutal, elemental roar of pure anger and power. Spurts of flame erupted on each side of the mysterious vehicle, the red fire briefly illuminating the outline of a huge radiator grill – a snarling mouth of aggression – almost as wide as it was tall. Two enormous headlights, like the eyes of some primeval monster glaring from its dark nest, were also briefly illuminated by the hellish flames.
Amy let out a yelp of pure terror and leapt over a garden wall opposite the workshop. Poppy fought back against the impulse to flee, determined to see the beast, alarmed but also intently curious at what lay in the darkness. The tone of the engine changed, became louder and deeper, and with a fresh burst of flame on each side Thunderbus roared out from its nest, belching smoke and fire.
Poppy gaped at the car; it was huge. She knew that cars used in races and continental touring were long and wide, but Thunderbus could eat them for breakfast – assuming it didn’t just melt them with the continual jets of flame coming from the exhaust ports on each side of the bonnet. Or shake them apart with the vibrations from the engine, which was causing the ground to tremble underneath Poppy’s legs.
And here are a few words by Jon Heartless himself:
I was inspired to write Full Throttle partly by the era of the Bentley Boys, (famous motor racing drivers of the 1920s) and partly to explore the vast gulf between the rich and the poor, and the manner in which opportunities are manifest for the former while being virtually non-existent for the latter. In this, I realised that a steampunk motor racing adventure was the perfect way of ‘hiding’ the socio-political parts of the novel. In short, I hope it both entertains but also provokes the reader just a little…