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New Treasures: The Outlaw and the Upstart King, Book 2 of The Map of Unknown Things by Rod Duncan

Thursday, May 30th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

The-Queen-of-All-Crows-medium The Outlaw and the Upstart King-small

Rod Duncan is the author of The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire trilogy, a supernatural mystery series featuring Elizabeth Barnabus, who lives a double life as herself and as her brother, a private detective. The first volume, The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter (2014) was a finalist for the 2014 Phillip K. Dick Award.

His next project is The Map of Unknown Things, a new series set in the same world that follows the continuing adventures of Elizabeth. It began with Queen of all Crows (2018), which was warmly reviewed by several of my favorite review sites. Sydney Shields at The British Fantasy Society said “Duncan’s Gas-lit Empire reads and feels like the world of a Victorian detective adventure (think Sherlock Holmes, the Blake & Avery Mysteries, Charles Dickens) but the twist is that the year is actually 2012… Definitely recommend.” And The Speculative Shelf gave it an enthusiastic write-up:

Fresh off her battle with the International Patent Court, Elizabeth Barnabus finds herself working on behalf of that very organization that brought her so much trouble in the past. She sets sail to investigate the disappearance of an airship that went down in the Atlantic.

The concept of the worldwide alliance that maintains world peace at the cost of technological advancement continues to be a fascinating one…Duncan has crafted a solid adventure story that featured some superb scenes and passages. I remain impressed by Duncan’s skills as a writer. His prose is clean, readable, and rich. There’s a great theatricality infused into his stories that make the mundane seem grand… this is another enjoyable adventure featuring a great protagonist and set of side characters.

The second volume in the series, The Outlaw and the Upstart King, was published by Angry Robot earlier this year. Here’s a scan of both back covers.

[Click the images for gas-light sized versions.]

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And for the completests in the audience, here’s a look at the first trilogy.

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Our previous coverage of Rod Duncan’s books includes:

The Queen of All Crows
The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire
The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter

The Outlaw and the Upstart King was published by Angry Robot on January 8, 2019. It is 379 pages, priced at $12.99 in trade paperback and $9.99 for the digital edition. The cover is by Amazing15. Read a generous 42 page excerpt at the Angry Robot website.

See all our recent New Treasures here.


  1. Seems like I’d need to read the first trilogy before I could even start this, and that’s too much of a commitment, at least now. Sounds good, though.

    Comment by R.K. Robinson - May 30, 2019 1:12 pm

  2. I don’t know… seems to me that the reason this is a brand new trilogy, instead of books 4 and 5 in the previous series, is that you can read it independently? Guess the only way to be sure is to try, though.

    Comment by John ONeill - June 1, 2019 11:39 am

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