Morning Cuppa: Amster Damned #steampunkfiction
Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen! Welcome back after a long and exhausting summer, to Max and Collin’s delightfully delinquent and salubriously seditious parlour located in the splendidly scenic city of Lancaster.
True, perhaps, some have called it a Smuggler’s Cove which is haunted by scurvy-ridden sky dogs and liable to give you the plague, but we consider that such people are merely embittered that they have not yet received an invitation.
You find us on this, bright but blustery autumn day, soaking our tentacles in cider vinegar (yes, sorry about the smell) and counting our earnings. Having sold excruciating amounts of lemonade, we should have easily enough to pay the rent for the next month or so and a good thing to because as the nights draw in, the Good Folk become far less tolerant of street peddlars and urchins.. and of course Lord Ashton’s flesh eating Liver Birds will be waking up from their long summer sleep to help enforce the curfew… so we are far better off curled up inside with a nice cup of tea and an excellent book. And, of course we have both!
Our tea this morning is… smugglers’ spice
And to accompany it we have….
“Five and twenty sky-skiffs
Skirring through the dark
Brandy for the parson
Baccy for the clerk
Laces for a lady
Letters for a spy
crystals for a clocker
roundshot to make rozzers cry
Watch the floor, me darling
Whilst proud aeronauts skirr by
Atween the silver stars
in a black and moonless sky …”
This book is EVERYTHING we love about Steampunk. An exquisitely well crafted adventure with characters to die for, this is Falkner meets Hodder with the most elegant Ada Lovelace twist we have ever encountered.
Competent PI Alice Kittyhawk is sent to Amsterdam on a routine mission to discover the whereabouts of an old family acquaintance, Dr Braxton Beesworth, but under the imposing shadow of the formidable Waag, with its Gestapo -esq Time Police, and in the company of smugglers, seditious book dealers an exiled Admiral, a cat called Fiveways and the magnificent Furry George, Alice finds herself delving into the dark and complex and world of temporal travel where morality is blurred and the paths of duty and honour do not always lead in the same direction.
Oh, and if you have enjoyed Nils Visser’s short story The Oval Sky Room you will be over the moon to see some much-loved characters making an appearance too!
We were so distraught when the story ended and we had to put this one back on the shelf that we emptied an entire caddy of Lapsang in one sitting, but we are very happy to hear that Nils will be paying our dear Mrs Baker a visit in her little soup kitchen on Wednesday, so there is something to look forward to!
In the meantime, we wish you a devastatingly delicious morning, filled sauce and spice in equal measure, and we invite you back to join us for elevenses tomorrow so, until then, please be always,