Steampunk pioneer Blaylock returns to Victorian England with this compendium of five novellas (three previously published) starring his titular scientist-adventurer and detailing St. Ives’s battles with his foe, Ignacio Narbondo. Luck and happenstance lead St. Ives to stymie Narbondo’s attempts at stealing technology, both extraterrestrial and manmade, for use in nebulously defined (but predictably diabolical) schemes. One of the two new stories features unusual headache powders; the other sees St. Ives take to the sky in a strangely conflict-free conclusion. Blaylock is a master of the period piece, easily capturing a Doyle-esque voice that serves his Holmes-adjacent hero well. Adherence to Victorian attitudes does lead Blaylock into somewhat offensive stereotypes from time to time, but he rights himself with his fine treatment of St. Ives’s wife, Alice. Though uneven, this collection is a concise introduction to St. Ives and a handsome volume for any steampunk fan. Illus. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 04/18/2016 Release date: 07/01/2016 Genre: Fiction
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