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Future Treasures: The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire by Rod Duncan

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter-small Unseemly Science-small The Custodian of Marvels-small

I’m cheating a little bit here because, technically, the first two books in this series are already out and thus don’t count as “Future Treasures.” But since I’m the kind of guy who waits until an entire trilogy is published before digging into the first volume, the upcoming pub date for the final book in Rod Duncan’s The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire means the series is available to me for the first time. Cancel my appointments for the rest of the week, because this looks like a good one.

The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire opens with the 2014 Phillip K. Dick Award finalist The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter, the tale of Elizabeth Barnabus, who lives a double life as both herself and as her brother, a private detective, in the divided land of England. Caught up in the supernatural mystery of a disappearing aristocrat and a hoard of arcane machines, Elizabeth soon finds herself up against the all-powerful Patent Office. The Washington Post called it “All steampunk and circus wonder as we follow the adventures of Elizabeth Barnabas. The double crosses along the way keep the plot tight and fun, and the conclusion sets us up nicely for book two.”

The series is three volumes, all published in paperback by Angry Robot:

The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter (384 pages, August 26, 2014)
Unseemly Science (368 pages, May 5, 2015)
The Custodian of Marvels (368 pages, February 2, 2016)

The covers for all three were done by Will Staehle.

We previously covered The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter here. Here’s the description:

Elizabeth Barnabus lives a double life – as herself and as her brother, the private detective. She is trying to solve the mystery of a disappearing aristocrat and a hoard of arcane machines. In her way stand the rogues, freaks and self-proclaimed alchemists of a travelling circus.

But when she comes up against an agent of the all-powerful Patent Office, her life and the course of history will begin to change. And not necessarily for the better…

And Unseemly Science:

In the divided land of England, Elizabeth Barnabus has been living a double life – as both herself and as her brother, the private detective. Witnessing the brutal hanging of someone very close to her, Elizabeth resolves to throw the Bullet Catcher’s Handbook into the fire, and forget her past. If only it were that easy!

There is a new charitable organisation in town, run by some highly respectable women. But something doesn’t feel right to Elizabeth. Perhaps it is time for her fictional brother to come out of retirement for one last case? Her unstoppable curiosity leads her to a dark world of body-snatching, unseemly experimentation, politics and scandal. Never was it harder for a woman in a man’s world…

And finally the climactic volume, The Custodian of Marvels:

You’d have to be mad to steal from the feared International Patent Office. But that’s what Elizabeth Barnabus is about to try. A one-time enemy from the circus has persuaded her to attempt a heist that will be the ultimate conjuring trick.

Hidden in the vaults of the Patent Court in London lie secrets that could shake the very pillars of the Gas-Lit Empire. All that stands in Elizabeth’s way are the agents of the Patent Office, a Duke’s private army and the mysterious Custodian of Marvels.

All three volumes are priced at $7.99 in paperback. The digital versions of The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter (Nook and Kindle) are priced at just $1.99, a great way to try out the series.

See all of our coverage of the best in upcoming fantasy here.

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