Dawn’s Early Light by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris looks like an amazing steam punk series!!
After being ignominiously shipped out of England following their participation in the Janus affair, Braun and Books are ready to prove their worth as agents. But what starts as a simple mission in the States—intended to keep them out of trouble—suddenly turns into a scandalous and convoluted case that has connections reaching as far as Her Majesty the Queen.
Even with the help of two American agents from the Office of the Supernatural and the Metaphysical, Braun and Books have their work cut out for them as their chief suspect in a rash of nautical and aerial disasters is none other than Thomas Edison. Between the fantastic electric machines of Edison, the eccentricities of MoPO consultant Nikola Tesla, and the mysterious machinations of a new threat known only as the Maestro, they may find themselves in far worse danger than they ever have been in before…
Truly there was nothing more delightful to Eliza D. Braun than a jolly good foot chase; whether it was across London’s rooftops in the morning, an afternoon tearing through the streets of Paris, or slipping in and out of the darkest shadows of a night in Cairo. The way muscle and sinew worked in concert with one another, and the exhilaration of a fresh quarry just within reach was a breathtaking, beautiful reminder that she was truly alive.
At least that was what Eliza had told Wellington Thornhill Books, Esquire, at their first dinner together aboard the transatlantic airship Apollo’s Chariot.
Wellington had the breath knocked out of him as he skidded across the metal gangway. He scrambled for purchase but it was ultimately futile, and he slipped free of the deck. Just in time, the archivist managed to catch hold of the scaffolding, its metallic chill driving through his skin. His grip tightened on the internal skeleton of the behemoth rumbling around him, which was the only thing currently keeping both his dignity and his life intact. Ahead, he caught a glimpse of Eliza continuing the pursuit that had started at her cabin, her skirt hitched up immodestly around her knees.
It had been fortunate that they had returned at the very moment the intruder had slipped out of Eliza’s stateroom. The thief was certainly fleet of foot; and had led them a merry chase through the hallways, and now into the belly of the airship. Now they were at least four full stories above the main cabin, and climbing higher into the hull. Wellington could do nothing but admire how Eliza was keeping pace with the intruder.
“Must make sure to ask her who her cobbler is,” he muttered before pulling himself back onto the walkway. Wellington was in his third day as active field agent, and already he found himself inappropriately attired for a proper foot chase. It remained a mystery what Doctor Sound had been thinking in reinstating Eliza to her position in the Ministry, and promoting him to a similar station.
Wellington had sudden insight as to why, when up ahead he saw Eliza pull out a Remington-Elliot from where it had nestled against her thigh. He was to provide some kind of model for levelheadedness.
The archivist deliberately slid right into her, knocking them both over in an undignified sprawl of arms and legs.
“Bloody hell, Wellington,” Eliza yelled, struggling to disentangle herself, “what are you doing?”
“While I realise you are caught up in the rapture of the chase, might I remind you,” he began, motioning around him, “we’re thousands of feet over this rather large body of water called the Atlantic Ocean. I would rather you not rupture the
envelope that is holding us aloft.”
Eliza stared proverbial bullets at him while tucking away her gun. “Are you suggesting I would miss?”
Wellington decided to choose silence rather than further argument. Instead, they both looked up to see their target climbing higher into the ship, with a haversack bouncing against his back.
“You would think whatever he is carrying would slow him down a tad,” he observed.
“Amazing what a little pursuit can do for a thief. It’s probably full of loot from the other passengers.” Eliza motioned to a nearby stairwell. “Head him off. I didn’t see
any weapons on him and he’s not taken a shot, so maybe we can flank him.”
“Understood,” the archivist replied.
“Be careful, Welly,” she said with a grin, before spinning about and bounding up the stairs two at a time, “I still have uses for you.”
Just what those could be quite boggled his mind. She had quite the effect on him, that was for certain. Wellington shook his head, and then ascended the opposing stairwell, the metal underfoot clanging and echoing dreadfully as he ascended.
What could this thief be thinking, running upwards through the envelope of Apollo’s Chariot? If he were wanting a quick escape, procuring one of the standard aeroflyers transatlantic airships now employed as deterrents against pirates would have
been the logical option . . .
. . . unless he was a saboteur, as well. If any of the bladders here were to fail due to puncture, it was unlikely a rescue could happen before the gondola and all passengers and crew therein would sink into the chilly waters churning far below.
Yet such a dastardly plan would spell doom for the thief as well. Exactly what was this chap’s game?