The Mountain, the Count, and the Air War: Brendan Detzner’s The Orphan Fleet
I’m a fan of Brendan Detzner’s Orphan Fleet series, the tale of a community of free children on a wind-swept mountain that comes under attack from a vengeful air admiral. Eighteen months ago I invited him to be a guest blogger at Black Gate, and he spoke about the classic science fiction that helped inspire his tale.
I grew up in a house where bookshelves were the most important pieces of furniture, and I was happy to take advantage, but in a hidden corner of the basement was a particularly important shelf, the one where my dad kept his old 70’s science-fiction and fantasy paperbacks. Roger Zelazny, Harlan Ellison, Michael Moorcock, Gene Wolfe. Not a bad haul. In one of those books, a short story collection from Gene Wolfe, was a story called “The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories,” which is about a child reading a story featuring a villain who he later imagines (or maybe not, it’s a Gene Wolfe story) breaking the fourth wall and discussing his role as a bad guy. He talks about how he and the hero seem to hate each other, but that backstage they actually get along and understood their interdependence.
I was enormously impressed by the opening volume in the series, The Orphan Fleet, a fast-paced tale of action set in a community of abandoned children. It’s a fascinating and beautifully realized setting that’s unlike any you’ve encountered before. Here’s what I said in my original review.
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The Orphan Fleet is terrific adventure fantasy — a non-stop tale of action and strange magic on a wind-swept mountain top where abandoned children have forged a free community, servicing far-traveling airships on sturdy wooden platforms. Here masked heroes with names like Golden Sam and The Sparrow are the ultimate celebrities — and the mysterious Count leaves shivers of terror wherever he treads. When that community is threatened by an admiral who demands the return of his prized daughter, it triggers a terrible war fought in the air, on the ground, and in the old abandoned scaffolding circling the mountain … a war where Golden Sam may prove himself a true hero after all, and the Count has a terrible role to play.
There are now three novellas set in the world of The Orphan Fleet; all three are still available.
The Orphan Fleet (89 pages, $0.99 in digital format, April 15, 2016)
The Hidden Lands (89 pages, $2.99 in digital format, October 30, 2016)
City of the Forgotten (55 pages, $2.99 in digital format, May 19 2017)
The first books is just 99 cents for the Kindle version at Amazon.
Brendan is the mastermind behind Bad Grammar Theater, one of Chicago’s finest genre reading events. He’s also the author of White Rabbit Society, and the short story collections Beasts and Scarce Resources. Our previous coverage includes:
New Treasures: The Orphan Fleet
Sasquatch, Chupacabra, and Haunted Puppets: Beasts by Michael Penkas
A review of Scarce Resources by Michael Penkas
Something Nasty, Something With Claws by Brendan Detzner
See all of our recent coverage of the best in Series Fantasy here.