Galvanic Century is set in an alternate steampunk world where the reign of Queen Victoria has extended well into the early 20th century. As the world edges inexorably towards a World War that few can even begin to anticipate, brave men and women must contend with airship pirates, clockwork... show more
Galvanic Century is set in an alternate steampunk world where the reign of Queen Victoria has extended well into the early 20th century. As the world edges inexorably towards a World War that few can even begin to anticipate, brave men and women must contend with airship pirates, clockwork assassins, galvanic monsters, and anarchist madmen.It's been a rough year for gentlewoman Aldora Fiske -- airship battles above London, doomed expeditions in the jungles of Mexico, and even a kidnapping in Istanbul -- and now her bridegroom Alton Bartleby has shown up drunk to their wedding. Yes, it's a marriage of convenience and not one of love, and everyone knows it, but when an old foe decides to strike, things go from bad to worse. Can the gentlewoman and the consulting detective put aside their differences long enough to defeat their enemy and save the wedding party, or will the massacre turn their nuptials into the social disaster of the season?This 30,000 word story is the first in the Galvanic Century series of steampunk mystery thriller novels.Excerpt:The footman led Alton Bartleby and James Wainwright from the drawing room towards the stairs."I say, Bartleby, you're drinking a good deal more than is typical," James said."Why so I am. How astute of you to notice.""I'd say that the escapism is typical." The bride-to-be, Aldora Fiske, stood at the top of the stairs like a statue of white granite in her wedding gown, a cold and severe expression on her face, gazing down without passion at the men below her. "Whatever could you be hiding from, Alton?""Aldora, dear." Bartleby straightened up and ran fingers through his blond hair. "It's ill fortune to see the bride before the ceremony.""It's worse luck yet to have the groom fall ill and vomit on the vicar.""I've never gotten sick from drink." Bartleby held up a finger. "Not once!""I suppose I shouldn't be surprised." White lace armlets framed Aldora's fingers as they slid along the banister. "Father may have not said anything, but he did notice. And he will remember.""I can assure you that such mild intoxication shan't impair my ability to function in the slightest," Bartleby said."I'm sure you'll be as useful as ever. In fact, I've a task for you.""Wonderful." Bartleby leaned against the wall. "Just what I need after a four-hour train trip to refresh myself before my wedding.""After you've unpacked... and honestly, Alton, do freshen up a tad... I need you to go out to the grounds and greet the guests as they arrive.""What?" Bartleby said. "Your servants will be out in force. Have Charles here do it.""It's important, Alton. I've been trying to get you to go over the guest lists and seating arrangements for weeks, but you've been far too busy of late. Now, on the very day of our wedding, I'll need you to guide our guests to where they need to be and introduce them to whom they need to know.""Won't your mother be--""You're the only one who can, Alton. Even half in the bottle, you've an instinctive grasp of people and their connections beyond any I've ever seen. You know how important this wedding is. It sets the tone for our partnership among our peers, and if we can manage to impress here we can largely ignore society and get on with the business of living our lives."She paused, casting a glance away from the men, down the hall. "And mother is... unwell.""Yes," Bartleby said quietly. "You're right, of course.""And do stop drinking. You smell like a vintner.""Yes, dear.""There's a good lad." She tilted her head towards his partner. "James."