cover image Fiendish Schemes

Fiendish Schemes

K.W. Jeter. Tor, $25.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-7653-7402-8

Hapless hero George Dower is swept up in plots and schemes beyond his ken in this rollicking sequel to the steampunk classic Infernal Devices. Broke and living in an isolated rural village, George has done his best to avoid the world that has been transformed by his father’s incredible inventions. Unfortunately, the world hasn’t forgotten about him. Hamuel Stonebrake, senior vicar in a church dedicated to spreading Christianity to whales, wants George to help him find the Vox Universalis, a legendary universal translator machine built by George’s dad. Soon George is caught between Prime Minister Agatha “Iron Lady” Fletcher, who is “more steam engine than woman,” and a ruthless cabal of wealthy London steam barons, “ferric sex” entrepreneurs, and stock speculators. Jeter’s vision of a Victorian world transformed by steam power is fascinating and funny, populated by ambulatory lighthouses, grain-disdaining meatpunks, anarchist coalpunks, and depraved “fex” addicts obsessed with “valve girls.” He thoroughly entertains readers with brilliant speculation and a charmingly reluctant hero. (Oct.)