By Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris
Britain’s Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences investigates…well, exactly as its title suggests. The strange, the weird, and the supernatural all fall under its auspices. With two new heroes on the scene, let the adventure begin! This one will blow your knickers off with movie quality action scenes and technology to spur the imagination. Set in the latter years of QueenVictoria, this is a fantastic book filled with suspense, humor, and a dose of steampunk.
After rescuing Agent Wellington Books from a stronghold inAntarcticawith a little too much excessive force (specifically, she blew the place to smithereens), Agent Eliza D. Braun (a one woman armory) is penalized by being banished to the Ministry’s archives…with Books himself. Books, a rigid, by-the-rules gentleman with a knack for inventions, can barely tolerate the un-ladylike behavior of his new charge. However, Braun is not content to stay cooped up in the lower levels. When she finds a ‘cold case’ regarding her former partner, Braun decides to investigate. The case involves corpses in strange conditions, a secret society…and something much worse. Soon Braun and Books find themselves up against an organization set upon controlling the government ofEngland.
I like it! This is a grand introduction for me of these two characters. Yes, some of the action was anticipated and expected, but a very well conceived plot. I’m not a steampunk fan, but this was a fine adventure.
Eliza D. Braun: From New Zealand with a penchant for weapons and explosives, redhead, can imbibe but does get tipsy. Came from refinement but wears trousers. Passionate, caring, mischievous.
Wellington Thornhill Books, Esquire: Gentleman, the Ministry’s Archivist, inventor, refined, constantly hears his father’s voice in head judging his actions or non-actions.
Doctor Basil Sound: the Ministry’s Director, portly, short
Bruce Campbell: agent, Australian, womanizer, married with children, looking to advance beyond the Ministry and into the aristocracy
Wonderful characters. Well defined. Typical bad guys but very well written personalities. The characters’ emotions, strengths and weaknesses (especially of Books and Braun) are very well explored.
Witty, typically British. No wandering, stays on point
This is a fairly lengthy book (402 pages) but it doesn’t drag. At first I was wanting them to get on with the case investigation, but the way it played out, I was satisfied. This was a fun book to read. A few misspellings and missing words, but nothing to distract. Very well written for the culture portrayed. Some good science fun. In the actions scenes you can imagine the special effects on a movie screen. I so want to read the next in the series. If it’s as much of an adventure as “Phoenix Rising,” I will not be disappointed.