Originally posted Feb 2014
Romulus Buckle and the City of the Founders
by Richard Ellis Preston Jr.
Book Description: In a post-apocalyptic world of endless snow, Captain Romulus Buckle and the stalwart crew of the Pneumatic Zeppelin must embark on a perilous mission to rescue their kidnapped leader, Balthazar Crankshaft, from the impenetrable City of the Founders. Steaming over a territory once known as Southern California – before it was devastated in the alien war – Buckle navigates his massive airship through skies infested with enemy war zeppelins and ravenous alien beasties in this swashbuckling and high-octane steampunk adventure. Life is desperate in the Snow World – and death is quick – Buckle and his ship’s company must brave poisoned wastelands of noxious mustard and do battle with forgewalkers, steampipers and armored locomotives as they plunge from the skies into the underground prison warrens of the fortress-city.
Captain Romulus Buckle must lead the Pneumatic Zeppelin and its crew of never-do-wells on a desperate mission where he must risk everything to save Balthazar and attempt to prevent a catastrophic war which could wipe out all that is left of civilization and the entire human race.
This book is one of my new favorites; it was so much fun to read. I also listened to this book and it was better than what was happening in my head. The audiobook is read by Luke Daniels and he did a beautiful job capturing each character.
Captain Romulus Buckle is probably the youngest airship captain I’ve read about. The entire crew is young but he appears to be one of the youngest. The author danced precariously on the line of maturity and youthful zeal. He is a mature captain with a complete understanding of what it takes to be a captain. He fights off, mostly, the part of himself that is impulsive. It was the most interesting thing in the book for me and that’s saying something because this book is full of amazing things.
Everyone wears hats and they are not just a fashion statement. They serve a purpose like all really good steam gadgets. The hats plug into the airship. Yes you heard right. They plug into the airship. Which is just fun. They are described in great detail. In fact everything is described in great detail and I wouldn’t want it any other way. The author is very imagenative and I wanted to keep reading about how to navigate the airship. It was facinating. I wanted to know more about the animals aboard too. I wanted to know more about the systems and the hydrogen bags and tanglers. Tanglers are sky monsters. Really dangerous and scary sky monsters.
This book is a beautiful combination of steampunk and family drama. Balthazar isn’t just the Crankshaft leader. He adopted Buckle when he was very young. In fact Balthazar and his wife adopted many children and a few of them work on the ship such as the chief navigator and chief engineer. When Buckle cooks up his rescue mission. All of Balthazar’s adopted children want to help. There is also a mystery regarding Buckle’s biological sister Elizabeth who was killed in an Imperial attack. Another mystery surrounds his adopted sister Sabrina and why a captured sandpiper freaked out when he saw her.
Even if you haven’t read any steampunk before you will still be mesmerized by all of the detail and easy storytelling. This book will be your gateway drug. It felt like Richard Ellis Preston Jr. built the Pneumatic Zeppelin and told us a story about it. I loved it.
There are battles and an automaton meets a grisly end.
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Original Background Image: Sky by Giografiche