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Pirates, Golems, and the Dread Queen of the Skies: Tales of the Ketty Jay by Chris Wooding

Friday, November 25th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

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Retribution Falls, the opening volume of Chris Wooding’s four-volume Tales of the Ketty Jay saga, was short-listed for the Arthur C. Clarke Award. Pretty auspicious beginning for a steampunk adventure series featuring pirates, sky battles, and armored golems.

The series has been widely acclaimed over the years. Publisher’s Weekly praised its “Beautifully crafted prose and remarkably imaginative scenes,” and SFFWorld called it “One of the best pieces of fun I’ve read in a long while… a whip-cracking pace and with characters you care about.” James Rollins said “Pirates, sky-ships, and golems are just the trappings for a far-flung adventure of stunning imagination and brilliant craftsmanship,” and Peter Hamilton called it “A fast exhilarating read… the kind of old fashioned adventure I didn’t think we were allowed to write anymore, of freebooting privateers making their haphazard way in a wondrous retro-future world.”

The pics above are of the British Gollancz editions, which have better covers than their US counterparts. Here in the US, the first two were reprinted by Spectra with the Gollancz covers, and the last two by Titan, with new covers that have more of a Firefly feel (deliberately, I think).

[Click the images for bigger versions.]

The book are:

Retribution Falls (384 pages, £18.99 hardcover, £7.99 paperback, £1.99 digital, June 18 2009)
The Black Lung Captain (512 pages, £18.99 hardcover, £7.99 paperback, £6.99 digital, July 29 2010)
The Iron Jackal (544 pages, £18.99 hardcover, £7.99 paperback, £6.99 digital, October 20 2011)
The Ace of Skulls (496 pages, £20 hardcover, £8.99 paperback, £6.99 digital, September 19 2013)

All the Gollancz covers are by Stephan Martiniere.

Here’s the back covers for the Gollancz editions of Retribution Falls and The Black Lung Captain (click for bigger versions).

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And here’s the covers for the Titan US editions of The Iron Jackal and The Ace of Skulls.

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Our previous coverage of the books in the series includes:

New Treasures: The Iron Jackal

See all of our recent coverage of the best Series Fantasy here.

2 Comments »

  1. “better” covers than their US counterparts, is a polite understatement.

    Comment by Barsoomia - November 25, 2016 5:48 pm

  2. Stephan Martiniere is an extraordinary artist, and no mistake.

    Mind you, the US Titan editions successfully captured that Firefly vibe. That’s a powerful selling point for American audiences, so I get what they’re trying to do.

    Comment by John ONeill - November 26, 2016 12:46 am


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