Published by Tor Books Goodreads
The thrilling adventures of Arabella Ashby continue in the second book in Hugo-winning author David D. Levine‘s swashbuckling sci-fi, alt-history series!
The swashbuckling Arabella Ashby is back for brand new adventure in the ongoing story of her life among the stars.
Arabella’s wedding plans to marry Captain Singh of the Honorable Mars Trading Company are interrupted when her fiancé is captured by the French and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp on swampy Venus. Now, Arabella must find passage to an enemy-controlled planet in the middle of a war, bribe or fight her way past vicious guards, and rescue her Captain.
To do this she must enlist the help of the dashing privateer, Daniel Fox of the Touchstone and build her own clockwork navigational automaton in order to get to Venus before the dread French general, Joseph Fouché, the Executioner of Lyon.
Once on Venus, Arabella, Singh, and Fox soon discover that Napoleon has designed a secret weapon, one that could subjugate the entire galaxy if they can’t discover a way to stop Fouché, and the entire French army, from completing their emperor’s mandate.
Praise for ARABELLA OF MARS
“Arabella, a human teenager born on Mars, is catapulted into adventure in a tale that cleverly combines some of the most intriguing elements of steampunk and classic science fiction. In an alternate 1812, Arabella’s mother moves her three daughters to Earth and away from the wild influences of the Martian colony. When the family gets news that Arabella’s father has died on Mars, the headstrong 17-year-old girl disguises herself as a boy and hires on with one of the great ships that sail the solar winds between the planets, planning to protect her brother, who’s still on Mars, from treachery. Along the way, she faces privateers and mutiny, but Arabella is resourceful and courageous, gamely enduring hardship to accomplish her mission. Arabella is a fully realized character, daring and willing to risk everything to protect the brother she loves and the legacy that her father has left them. Her wits and cleverness save the ship and crew more than once in this rousing swashbuckler.”— Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Debut of the Month. Embedded in the chaos of clockwork and space adventure, Arabellais a delightful heroine with more than enough fortitude to traverse the solar system. … A fanciful romp through a cosmic 1812, Hugo Award–winning Levine’s first novel is a treat for steampunk fantasy fans.”— Library Journal, starred review
“Excellent, entertaining, humorous scenarios make up Levine’s latest. His storytelling will keep readers turning the pages with its slight edginess, light-hearted tone and clear, crisp dialogue. Arabella is strong, sassy and clever, and her journey, as she makes her way back to Mars on an airship, makes this story an engaging read. ★★★★”— Melanie Bates, RT Book Reviews
“David Levine has reached back past the Martian romances of Percival Lowell to an even earlier moment, creating a precursor to steampunk that I suppose we should call sailpunk. It’s a delightful addition to the Matter of Mars, bridging the long gap between Kepler and Burroughs with a Regency entry, filled with all the drama of the Napoleonic wars, now here complicated by a drastic Martian intervention, and animated most of all by Arabella, a young woman filled with curiosity and courage. It’s a very clever and entertaining start to a memorable saga.”— Kim Stanley Robinson, author of Red Mars
“Regency space opera in its best form! An intrepid, intelligent heroine, wonderful characters, and a breathtaking conflict. Who could ask for more?”— Patricia Rice, bestselling author of Regency romances
“If Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jules Verne, and Patrick O’Brian had sat down together to compose a tale to amuse Jane Austen, the result might be Arabella. So. Much. Fun!”— Madeleine Robins, author of the Sarah Tolerance series
“Hugo award winning author David D. Levine’s first full length novel, Arabella of Mars, is the delicious love child of Jane Austen, Patrick O’Brian, and Jules Verne! Sent back to England from her family’s estate on Mars, Arabella despises the life of a staid young Regency lady. Then a shocking threat to her family on Mars forces her to undertake a desperate, impossible journey back to the colony–a journey that will change her forever. Arabella Ashby is a great character, and wonderful worldbuilding, tight plotting, and a breakneck pace make Arabella of Mars a real page turner! I look forward to the next book in the series.”— Mary Jo Putney, bestselling author of Not Always a Saint and Once a Soldier
“Levine has created a wonderful alternate 19th century, with interplanetary airships, space pirates, automatons, Martians, and a young woman determined to save her family. This book reminded me how much fun reading can be. This book makes me want to take an airship to Mars. Right now. Arabella of Mars is a perfect blend of pulp and steampunk and old-fashioned adventure, set in a fascinating alternate version of our solar system.”— Jim C. Hines, author of the Magic ex Libris series
“David Levine takes the ‘girl disguises herself for nautical adventures’ story into new dimensions with this delightful interplanetary romance. Murderous relatives, alien culture clashes, a dashing romance, and high seas adventure in the void between Earth and Mars — it’s all the good parts of the old pulp style, updated for the twenty-first century.”— Marie Brennan, author of the Memoirs of Lady Trent series
“David Levine’s entertaining debut is a delightfully detailed airship adventure, complete with romance, pirates, Martians, automata, and a charming Jules Vernian imagining of the alternate-world science involved in sailing a ship straight through our solar system.”— Tina Connolly, author of the Ironskin trilogy
“Interplanetary pirates! Imperiled inheritances! Disguises! Rebellion! Romance! Arabella of Mars is a blast — a smart, resourceful heroine, a non-stop adventure packed with thrills, charm and surprises, and a fascinating world I hope to see a lot more of. A thoroughly engaging debut.”— Kurt Busiek, writer of Astro City
“Fans of tall ships, steampunk SF, and swashbuckling adventure should love Arabella’s splendid race back to the Mars Colony in alternate 1813! This is a terrific novel!”— Sherwood Smith, writer of fantasy, historical romance, and science fiction
“Arabella of Mars is a perfect blend of Regency romance and imaginative, exciting space opera. Levine offers a story grounded in historical detail that soars to new heights of adventure and fun.”— Michael J. Martinez, author of The Daedalus Incident
“This rollicking interplanetary adventure captured my heart. Who could resist a world in which coal-powered ships sail to Mars, borne aloft by balloons of Venusian silk, doing battle en route with French privateers? To protect family and fortune, Arabella Ashby masquerades as a boy and takes a berth as a cabin boy on a fascinating voyage. There’s a mysterious captain, an intriguing automaton, pirates, Martians, a bit of romance, and so much more. I’m grateful Levine has promised a sequel. Arabella Ashby proves herself to be a clever and capable heroine, and I’m looking forward to her next adventure.”— Pat Murphy, author of Wild Angel
“Shades of Jules Verne! This rollicking adventure from David Levine thrills with Regency whizzbang!”— Ellen Klages, author of The Green Glass Sea
Arabella leaned from the window of Lady Corey’s coach, eager for a glimpse of Fox’s ship Touchstone.
Lady Corey had, to Arabella’s surprise, packed quickly, and had appeared with her coach at Woodthrush Woods promptly the next morning to take Arabella and her baggage to the ship. After a tearful and somewhat awkward farewell to Michael, they had collected Fox at his club and proceeded thence to the harbor.
“She is as sweet a flyer as any I have ever sailed,” Fox was saying as the coach clattered along. “Clean of line, swift, and weatherly. You will surely love her as much as I.”
The harbor came into view then, a vast expanse of flat red sand crowded with hulls, sails, envelopes, and masts. Most of them were stolid cargo vessels, but one was a lean and sturdy clipper with an aggressively raked mainmast. “Is that she?” Lady Corey inquired, pointing.
“Ah . . . no.” Fox pointed. “That is she.”
Arabella’s first reaction was disappointment, for Touchstone seemed very small and rather shabby by comparison with her memories of Diana— a ship which was, she reminded herself, a Mars Company clipper of the first water, an “aristocrat of the air.” This Touchstone was a fighting vessel, she thought, a bantam rooster of a ship, small and light and no doubt designed to outmaneuver and outgun her larger, heavier prey. She was built to fight and win, not to look good.
Still, despite these attempts to reassure herself, even from this distance she could not fail to notice the tarnish on her copper bottom, the worn and patched condition of her sails, the rather slovenly state of her standing rigging. When she was an airman aboard Diana, even though a lowly waister, she would have earned— nay, deserved!— her captain’s scorn for such a sorry job of belaying.
“She seems a . . . sprightly ship,” Arabella said to Fox. “How many guns has she?”
He gave her an appraising glance at that. “A very perceptive question, Miss Ashby. Eight eight- pounders on the gun deck, and a pair of three- pound stern- chasers on the quarterdeck.”
Arabella nodded approvingly. “Diana has but three four- pounders, and to the best of my knowledge no stern- chasers at all.”
“Of course she does,” Fox replied with only a slight hint of condescension. “She is a mere cargo vessel, while Touchstone is a ship of war.” Arabella bristled at this dismissal of Diana, but said nothing. “And the number of guns must, for reasons of aerial equilibrium, correspond with the number of masts. Your Diana is, I gather, a three- master?”
“She is.” Arabella herself had seated the starboard and larboard masts in their keelson- plates on the lower hull during the swaying- out ceremony upon departing Earth’s planetary atmosphere.
“Whereas my Touchstone has four masts, for speed and maneuverability, with a matched pair of guns for each.” He pointed to the ship’s bow, where eight gun- ports were indeed ranged evenly in pairs about the central bowsprit: above, below, starboard, and larboard, presumably corresponding with the roots of the mainmast and the three lower masts— not currently fitted, as the ship was grounded— within her hull. Her figurehead, Arabella noted, was a hunchbacked fool in diamond- patterned motley. “She throws a weight of metal equivalent to one of His Majesty’s second- rates, and I’d match my crew’s speed of fire against even a first- rate!”
This news caused Arabella to reconsider her opinion of Fox’s ship. She had served as a powder- monkey aboard Diana, and the sound of her three four- pounders firing had been like the pounding of the knocker on the gates of Hades; she could not imagine the sound of eight guns each firing an eight- pound ball at the same time. Furthermore, Diana had very nearly been defeated by a four- masted privateer not unlike Touchstone, and that one had carried just four guns.
Even so, she still felt that Touchstone was inferior to Diana in every other way, and Fox’s dismissal of her fiancé’s command as a “mere cargo vessel” rankled.
Copyright 2017 by David D. Levine
David D. Levine is the multi-award-winning author of the Regency interplanetary airship adventure novel Arabella of Mars (Tor 2016), sequel Arabella and the Battle of Venus (Tor 2017), and more than fifty science fiction and fantasy stories. Arabella of Mars won the 2017 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, his story “Tk’Tk’Tk” won the 2006 Hugo Award for Best Short Story, his story “Nucleon” won the James White Award, and he has been shortlisted for awards including the Hugo, Nebula, Campbell, Sturgeon, and Locus. His stories have appeared in Asimov’s, Analog, F&SF, Realms of Fantasy, Tor.com, numerous anthologies and websites, and multiple Year’s Best anthologies, as well as his collection Space Magic from Wheatland Press, which won the Endeavour Award for the best SF or Fantasy book by a Pacific Northwest writer.
David is a contributor to George R. R. Martin’s bestselling shared-world series Wild Cards. He is also a member of Book View Cafe, a writer-owned publishing cooperative, and Oregon Science Fiction Conventions Inc., a non-profit organization which produces OryCon and other SF conventions. He has narrated podcasts for Escape Pod, PodCastle, and StarShipSofa and the audiobook of Space Magic, and his video production “Dr. Talon’s Letter to the Editor” was a finalist for the Parsec Award. In 2010 he spent two weeks at the Mars Desert Research Station, a simulated Mars base in the Utah desert.
David lives in a hundred-year-old bungalow in Portland, Oregon. His web site can be found at www.daviddlevine.com.
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