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Why I am still waiting for my personal zeppelin

When The Court of Air first published in the US, we ran a piece in this newsletter written by the editor, Claire Eddy.  In writing about why she bought the book and how much she loved The Court of Air,  the piece does a wonderful job of articulating the essence of the Jackelian series that we fans have come to love.  Action. Adventure. Each installment of the Jackelian series takes us on one wild ride after another through this world that Stephen Hunt has fashioned for his readers.

So here it is again, reprinted for you all in this newsletter in anticipation of The Rise of the Iron Moon, publishing March 15, 2011.

Why I am still waiting for my personal zeppelin

By Claire Eddy, Senior Editor

Most girls my age grew up wanting a dream Barbie playhouse.

I wanted a Van de Graaff generator.

Most girls I knew wanted to go to the prom.

I wanted to go to the Center of the Earth.

I wanted a zeppelin and I wanted to go to the moon. Jules Verne and the Hardy Boys were my pals. Why couldn’t I be the nineteenth century explorer who battled giant squids and had fabulous adventures in long-lost dinosaur lands?

When The Court of the Air showed up on my desk, I looked at the cover (the book was first published in Britain) and read the cover copy and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up.

Flying spy balloons? A 19th century steampunky alternate England with clockwork monsters and saints, with mysterious men in airships who work for hidden government agencies determined to protect the Empire? Dueling magicians who use modern technology and ancient arts to fight an age-old war?

And mushroom people! (Did I mention the mushroom people?)

And in the midst of all of this we have the story of two young orphans, Molly Templar and Oliver Brooks, who are thrown together because of a shared fate.

I closed my door and settled down to read the book, thinking it couldn’t be as good as advertised. I have rarely been so happy to be wrong. I fell into the book and was right there with Molly as she survived one adventure after another; was right there with Oliver as he evaded the bad guys and worked to thwart dastardly plots that might destroy the Empire. People knocked on my door to ask me mundane publishing questions and I got annoyed. I was twelve again and I was off on an adventure—why wouldn’t people leave me alone? I was working, wasn’t I?

I finished the book and came out of my cave and couldn’t stop babbling to people about it. I guess I convinced enough folks that it was terrific because we’re publishing The Court of the Air this June and we’ve bought the rights to Stephen’s second book set in this universe, The Kingdom Beyond the Waves.

You don’t have to be twelve to love The Court of the Air. But I think it will remind you of a time when you thought you could do anything and that there were wondrous discoveries waiting just around the corner.

Or between the pages of a book.

I still don’t have my zeppelin, but this is pretty close…

The Rise of the Iron Moon (978-0-7653-2766-6; $26.99) is available from Tor this March. Stephen Hunt can be found at www.sfcrowsnest.com.


From the March issue of Tor’s Steampunk newsletter. Sign up to receive our newsletter via email.


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    1. March 18, 2011 at 5:49 pm

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