5つ星のうち5.0Captures the style and atmosphere of a rollicking good 19th Century adventure novel
I grew up reading novels such as 'The Lost World' and 'Journey To The Centre Of The Earth'. Christopher Meeker has captured the time, atmosphere and language of those novels and their contemporaries. If you're not used to that style then it will take a while to get your brain working with it but don't give up, keep going you won't be disappointed. I'm looking forward to the sequel.
Very reminiscent of a 19th Century adventure story, "Hawthorne" is like a time machine, transporting its readers to an imaginative, long-forgotten time. Christopher C. Meeker has done a marvelous job of capturing the narrative style of a 19th Century writer. One would be hard-pressed to find a contemporary writer to equal the authenticity of this 19th Century narrative style.
A roller-coaster ride of a story, "Hawthorne" follows the adventures of Edgar Hawthorne, sent by his father to investigate a remarkable discovery at an observatory in South Africa. The journey doesn't go as planned, as Edgar and his companions aboard the airship Stratos find themselves traversing the jungles of Africa in search of provisions. It is in these jungles that Edgar stumbles upon a discovery that will challenge what he believes to be true and pushes the course of his adventure in a direction he is not prepared to go in.
The story is fast-paced, moving swiftly from thrilling moment to the next. The protagonist is well-developed. Edgar is a character with a backstory that readers can sympathize with. However, Edgar's backstory does more than just provide readers with a sense of who the character is and where he comes from. It actually pushes the story forward in a way that readers might not expect.
An adventure story told as if written in the 19th Century, "Hawthorne" is a blast! The narrative style transports the reader to a place they can only get to if told by a 19th Century writer or by a writer with the skills of Christopher C. Meeker. Finding a writer that can recreate the style of a 19th Century writer as authentically as Christopher C. Meeker has done would be a tall order.
Unlike other entries into the genre of steampunk fiction, which are either firmly set in the Victorian Age or placed in an alternate universe stemming from changes in that time period, this book takes place in 1835, during the reign of William IV, two years before the ascension of the young Victoria. It was, then, a time of reform in British culture which saw the abolition of child labor in factories, the emancipation of slaves in Britain's colonies (had the American colonies not revolted, slavery would have ended two generations earlier than it did, and without a bloody war), and the rise of the House of Commons over the House of Lords. And in the world of Edgar J Hawthorne, narrator and hero of this rousing adventure novel, it was a time of steam-powered horseless carriages and massive airships able to travel from England and down the length of Africa to the Cape of Good Hope, upon which is the journey young Edgar sets.
The author has paid careful attention to keep Edgar's narration in the style of the times, which means it is often verbose and circuitous by modern standards. Though it initially grates upon ears accustomed to today's streamlined and often staccato prose, it is not much more difficult to plow through than the writing of Jules Vern, H Rider Haggard or Edgar Rice Burroughs, and it does provide a rewarding immersive experience for the reader.
Edgar's trip from England to the southern tip of the Dark Continent is anything but uneventful, and he encounters everything from airship pirates to an army of Great Apes to a mysterious Egyptian who seems to control time and space. Anyone who has read the adventure novels of the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries will recognize the many nods to past masters of the genre. Likewise, you will encounter many of the same themes and archetypes, but the author incorporates enough new ideas (or successfully reworks old ones) to provide a reading experience that is as novel as it is exciting.
This is the first volume of a projected series, thus it's not unexpected that the story ends on a note that sets up for the next book, but the story told within these pages is in itself a tale that can stand on its own. If you're looking for a steampunk-themed book which recalls the great adventure stories of years' past, this might be a good choice for you.
Edgar Hawthorne, having read of an amazing discovery by his and his father’s good friend while manning the telescope of the Royal Observatory at the Cape of Good Hope, has undertaken a trip from England to South Africa on the newest naval steam-powered airship, the HMA Stratos, to meet the friend about his amazing discovery. However, the journey becomes a major adventure as the Stratos is beset by pirate airships over the jungles in the Congo, an army of apes tries to overrun the ship on the ground, and Edgar and the crew wind up saving a mysterious woman from an ancient ziggurat temple hidden in the jungle. Yet, the adventure, dangers and mysteries are just ramping up for Edgar as he faces a committed nemesis. For very dedicated fans of the steampunk genre, this is a tale full of action, blending newer sci-fi elements into the mid-nineteenth century historical milieu and related in the first person with the more expressive style of language of the Victorian era. Yet, there is a feeling of too many close escapes from certain death and some of the anachronisms are a bit beyond the steampunk genre, but true fans will forgive these moments of hyper-surrealism.
Hawthorne: Chronicles of the Brass Hand was my first foray into the world of Steampunk and I was not disappointed. I really enjoyed the 19th century English Pulp fiction style the book was written in and felt that it lent to the story's descriptive nature, which was what first captured my attention. I would describe Hawthorne as a cross between Sherlock Holmes, Indiana Jones and The Mummy, with maybe even a splash of Stargate thrown in to boot! There was adventure, intrigue, machines you can only imagine, characters you love and characters you love to hate. I found myself riveted from the start and once the mystery began to unfold was completely swept away into Edgar's world of ancient megalithic temples, strange, mysterious devices and amazing flying machines. I reccomend Hawthorne: Chronicles of the Brass Hand to anyone who loves a great, fast-paced, easy to read action adventure story. Pick up a copy as soon as you can, you will be glad you did!
5つ星のうち5.0Masterfully written, reminiscent of the adventure books I grew up with and loved
I've read most of R.E. Howard's and E.R. Burroughs' books (Conan and Tarzan primarily) when I was a younger man. I would term them pure adventure, page turners that never let up on the action. That is what Hawthorne is, but with a steampunk flavor. Mr. Meeker does a great job of introducing the characters and the world setting before he plunges the reader into the action. The locales and the situations are exotic and frenetic and written in a style I haven't encountered since I closeted myself in my room as an early teen with a stack of library books with pictures of men in loincloths on the cover. To emulate the style of those adventures must have been difficult: The rhythm, the verbiage, the tone are all well done and facilitate a quick read. Mr. Meeker, you paint a very pretty picture.
The Hawthorne Chronicles series by Christopher Meeker is a most welcome addition to the fantasy/adventure world of popular literature. I am an avid reader of many genres and enjoy science fiction and fantasy as well as historical fiction and mystery. I cut my reader’s teeth early on Edgar Rice Burroughs, H. Rider Haggard, A. Merritt and Robert W. Chambers and, having devoured everything I could find from the 30s and 40s, have hungered for that curiously rare tome that is at once familiar and yet original and compelling. This is the book and the author I’ve waited for.
Meeker tells a story with skill and finesse and creates interesting characters you will want to hear more about (and I trust there will be further offerings in the series soon). The adventure tale is sufficiently unusual with its Victorian period inventions and mystical villains to amaze and intrigue without being trite or overly stylized. It moves along with a sort of edge-of-your-chair readability but also supplies food for thought if you’re willing to look for it. A puzzle, a mystery, a struggle, heroism, exotic locals, a romantic element, a hint of magic, a fantastic airship, brutish creatures—what more could you want? Fans of pulp fiction will appreciate Hawthorne. Younger readers (and by this I mean anyone under 50 or anyone who never read a Tarzan novel) will be introduced to a straight forward adventure that need not rely on vampires or zombies for its thrills.
Whether or not Meeker’s writing falls under K. W. Jeter’s term, “steampunk” or not will be up to the reader. The airship, as I recall, is steam-powered. But it doesn’t matter. It is a satisfying read that will charm you and leave you asking for more. The descriptive prose will carry you into a realm where you will suspend disbelief. I recommend this book whole-heartedly and give it five bright shining stars.
This novel was actually my first journey into the steam-punk genre, and it is a memorable trip indeed! Without giving away spoilers, Meeker spins a tapestry of a narrative that was so engrossing that I could literally imagine myself standing on the deck of the great airship, as spent munitions whizzed by my head, and as I fought off marauders from laying siege to the great vessel that I had the honor to sail on. I also felt the excitement of the protagonist as he laid eyes on it for the first time, and felt the special connection he had with his father whom helped him to realize his ultimate adventure.
If you are looking for a book loaded with action, adventure, drama, and simply an escape to a fantasy world, then I highly recommend you check out Hawthorne: Chronicles of the Brass Hand! I look forward to book 2!
Just finished the first book in Meeker's Chronicles of the Brass Hand. Now I have to wait for the next one! Honestly, I don't normally read books like this, but I "met" him on FB (not sure how) and had to read his book. I honestly enjoyed it, especially the fact that it was written as if it took place a long time ago. Now that I've reached the end of it, I am really wondering what was REALLY going on during this story!! The ending was not so much a surprise - although in a way it was - but it opened questions that I have to read book two to get answers to! Way to go, Chris!!
5つ星のうち5.0Young Sherlock meets Tarzan meets Bond ~ in the 1830s!
Take the voice of Conan Doyle's Sherlock, humble and young, mix in some Edgar Rice Burroughs and a little Ian Fleming and add a dash of HG Wells. Place into a steampunk crockpot and you'll get... Edgar Hawthorne! The narrative voice was brilliant and classic although it did slow the reading of the story a bit, but that wasn't altogether a bad thing because it anchored you in the 1800s. Filled with action, this is a great first book to what will definitely prove to be an interesting and completely unique series. Well done, Mr. Meeker!
Really liked this book, it was well written, the characters were well thought out and the action seemed to never stop. Steampunk references were well written. I would hope there will be a follow on book with more of the adventures of Edgar J. Hawthorne. I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy, adventure and of course SteamPunk.