Stalemate: Book Cover Stalemate:
Clockwerk thriller #1
SteamPunk, Adventure and Action,
Cobble Publishing LLC
(7 May 2018)

Clockwerk soldiers, airships, and aether bombs have ground the war between the States to a stalemate. Can Colonel Julius Montclair find a way to end the bitter conflict? Colonel Julius Montclair, elite soldier and the youngest airship commander in the Union fleet, has been humbled by war. He’s venerated for his bravery at the Battle of the Potomac, but he will carry the scars of that victory for the rest of his life. The loss of good men and women under his command continues to haunt him. Now, Montclair wants nothing more than to simply do his job and is more than ready to lay down the mantle of “hero”. That is, until President Grant himself summons Montclair to Washington. Montclair is tasked with a deadly mission: He must lead his troops on a clandestine insertion behind enemy lines to uncover a plot that may destroy the Union. But Montclair won’t be able to do it alone; he’ll need the help of the most dangerous and least trusted weapons in the Union’s formidable arsenal - the spymasters of Strategic Intelligence. Scarlet, a gorgeous young Strategic Intelligence agent and trained assassin, has the lethal skills and gritty determination required to protect her country. But can she gain the trust of Colonel Montclair and his men? Only by working together can they uncover the Confederacy’s plot and stop a dark aether-fueled weapon of mass destruction from erasing the Union from history.

This was an interesting take on what could have happened in the American war between the States. Now being British I don’t know a lot about this war apart from that it was between the Union – The North (mostly) and the Confederacy – The South  (mostly. And that there was a freeing of all the slaves – mostly held in the South that was involved. So iI was not concerned about the ‘real’ war and what really happened at particular battles etc.

You just have to remember that this an alternate universe which closely parallels ours but where there is aether to power machines, and that clockwerk – note the spelling – creates a large number of artificial items, mechanical men. horses , to artificial limbs. there are gears and cogs and everything you might expect in clockwork items, but often also aether power as well. These items are programmed by Babbage cards – yes punch cards as per weaving machines/early computers, or if we assume that Babbage’s and Lovelace’s work was completed and experimented with.

I liked the writing and found the characters believable within their frame of reference. and one especially good point about this universe is that women are powerful, skilled, and take part in everything that men do, including becoming front line soldiers and holding command.

I also love the ‘what if’ concept of this universe and that you are taken for a ride by the author’s imagination.

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tigger10

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