Steampunk fiction, reviews and interviews

Morning Cuppa: Threats #steampunkfiction

Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen! Welcome back to Max and Collin’s frightfully fancy and remorselessly ravishing parlour located somewhere around the grumbling appendix of that splendidly scenic city of Lancaster.

True our psychotic landlord may have banished us to this sinister cellar, but anyone who would be crest fallen by such a turn of events has obviously never stood on their rooftop in their suspenders fighting off flesh eating Liver Birds with nothing but a canister of Aerosol Tea.

You find us this morning basking in that cozy glow that can only come from coming to the end of a magnificent masterpiece of fabulous fiction (or escaping with your life from a predicament you had thought was genuinely ‘the end’) …



Threats is the second (or if you count the marvellous prequel, the third) book in Margaret McGaffey Fisk’s Steamship Chronicles series and although it can be enjoyed as a stand alone story we very much recommend that you start with the prequel    in which we meet and fall in love with the heroine, Sam, her devoted sister Lilly and their adorable champion, Henry. (warning series-summary and possible spoilers ahead)

Sam is a ‘Natural’ – someone with the dubious gift of being able to communicate with machines. They speak to her subconscious, pressing their needs, dreams and desires into her waking thoughts and trying to manipulate her into shaping them to function the way they would prefer.

Sometimes this is a wonderful thing – a malfunctioning engine can tell Sam exactly where the missing cog has come lose, or which piston isn’t firing and why… other times a machine is hell bent on out-performing itself; it wants more power, it wants to go faster, it wants to break its restraints or become something completely different … and then disaster can occur if Sam is not strong enough to resist the smooth talking mechanical.

Rather than see the potential that Naturals have for benefiting the advance of science and technology, the government of Sam’s world treats them as a dangerous foe to be rounded up and imprisoned for then safety of themselves and others. Lilly and Henry managed to keep Sam hidden and safe for many years but as she becomes older it is clear that she is missing out on a life of freedom and independence.

Fortunately, after much searching, Henry is able to locate a ‘Safe Haven’ where Naturals are living together in peace, freedom and safety and so Sam sets out as a stow away on board a Steamship in search of her Utopia.

But the threat of discovery is never far away – struggling to steal food and resist the call of the ship’s engine, Sam soon begins to learn that her actions can impact hugely upon the life of others and that her precious ‘gift’ can sometimes be more of a curse. Her new friend Nat is determined to keep her safe, but will he be so eager to defend her once he learns who she really is?

This next episode is even more thrilling than the last; tense and emotional with danger never more than a breath away and the slow tease of fragile friendships which can never be taken for granted, Threats nevertheless keeps that beautiful warmth at its heart which, we feel, is characteristic of this wonderful steampunk series.

There has been a lot of character growth so far, both in the main characters and the ‘supporting cast’ , and we can’t wait to dive into the next book and see what new adventures await them!

And now that must be the kettle boiling… or did you just sit on a cat? No? Must be the kettle then! Won’t you join us in a festive cup of something from  3rd coast kitchen’s Vampire Tea Collection? 

We wish you a very safe and cosy afternoon, free from threats of any kind (especially the kind our Landlord issues when we forget to pay the rent on time) and until we see you again please, be always,

Utterly Yourself

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