Category: Historical


 

 

The reaction to the second Cyrus Darian book has been amazing…my bad lad is still weaving his spell over readers!  I found this one on Amazon today, from the lovely Eve Weaver, maker of beautiful jewellery and fellow steampunk. She is also the dashing Emilia Etherheart, my captain on sky pirate adventures at the Asylum…

 

First: a confession. Yes, I am a friend of Raven’s – occasionally I babysit for
her table when we’re at events together. All that means is that I write reviews
for people I like, whose writing I like. If I don’t like something, I’m not
going to review it.

CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR BOTH CYRUS DARIAN AND THE
TECHNOMICRON AND CYRUS DARIAN AND THE GHASTLY HORDE

This book picks up
immediately after Cyrus Darian and the Technomicron, showing the events that
occur in London after Cyrus goes off for his holiday with the Lady. It explores
the political ramifications of the first book – Cyrus, never popular with the
Establishment as both a sorcerer and a foreigner – returns to find he’s fallen
completely out of favour and is now a target for assassination. And his house is
besieged by ghosts raised by his use of the Technomicron – hostile ghosts he
cannot control, even though they proclaim him to be their master.

Events
at the start of the book have rendered Cyrus largely powerless, a situation he
rages against in vain. The Lady, for reasons of her own, has relieved him of a
couple of important talismans whilst they were together. Even the protection of
Belial, a prince of Hell, may not be enough to save him. Fortunately one of his
rare shows of altruism returns to help him out – if Cyrus can obtain an object
called the Bane of Souls, he can build a device to rid him of the ghosts.
However, no good deed goes unpunished and his ex-ally Cambrian, revealed to be a
traitor at the end of the previous book, is once again after his life.

On
the run again, can Cyrus escape his past long enough to save his
future?

I enjoyed this so much I also have the Kindle version, though I
haven’t read that version yet.

Still on an all time high from Cyrus Darian and the Technomicron winning the inaugural Steampunk Novel of the Year award at this year’s Weekend at the Asylum, I was sent this fantastic review from The British Fantasy Society.

Cyrus Darian And The Technomicon/Cyrus Darian And The Ghastly Horde by Raven Dane. Book review

CYRUS DARIAN AND THE TECHNOMICON/CYRUS DARIAN AND THE GHASTLY HORDE by Raven Dane, Prosochi, p/b, £11.99/kindle, £3.08, http://www.endaxipress.com/

Reviewed by David Brzeski

Steampunk is huge right now, and these books have the added advantage of being Steampunk/Urban Fantasy crossovers. While they are set in a steampunk Victorian England, Cyrus Darian is an occult practitioner and his companion is a demon lord.

In the first book, various factions are looking for the Technomicon, a magical/technological tome of huge power, power too great for any man to hold. Several of these factions think Darian has it. Others want Darian to get it for them. Darian actually knows nothing about it, but soon decides it would be safer in his hands than anywhere else.

What follows is an amazingly complex story, in which these assorted groups of ne’er do wells try to put one over the others, or indeed kill them, in their race to own the dreaded book.

Raven Dane has an unrivalled talent for weaving multiple groups with individual agendas into a coherent plot.

Darian himself holds no delusions of altruism regarding his own character. He’s out for number one. Thankfully, what turns out to be best for Cyrus Darian is also best for the World.

In ‘Cyrus Darian and the Ghastly Horde’, Darian returns home to discover that the destruction of the Technomicon was achieved just a bit too late and he has a few thousand restless spirits bound to him in eternal servitude. The spell wasn’t completed, so he has no clue how to control them, or even make them go away. The British Government are not best impressed and soon decide that the simplest solution would be the permanent removal of the focus of these spirits’ attention, ie: Darian. Again, there are numerous factions at work, including a government agent who sees the military potential of the restless spirits.

It gets complicated….

Darian and his friends flee to France, where they team up with the daughter of a well-known sub-mariner on a mission to Russia to retrieve a vital piece of magical equpiment.

I’ll write no more on the plot. Read them for yourselves.

Cyrus Darian is a fascinating character. In the first book, he’s very much the reluctant anti-hero, thrust into situations where he, through no fault of his own, finds himself working for the greater good of mankind. We like him. He’s cool and he has a Lord of Hell who dotes on him and a friend with the coolest airship and a dragoncat!… I want a dragoncat!

At some point during the second book in the series, I found myself going off him a bit. I liked some of the supporting cast much more than I liked Cyrus Darian. I realised that Raven Dane had written him so well that I was feeling the same misgivings about Darian as his friends.

The only thing stopping Cyrus Darian from being a true hero is himself. The idea that he might possibly be a good person and a trustworthy friend, who cares about anyone other than himself terrifies him. It’s so obvious in the effort he makes to sabotage his relationships with his companions. When one finds oneself attempting to psychoanalise a fictional character in a book in this way, the author must be doing something right.

There is a lot more to be discovered about Cyrus Darian and his motivations. I can’t wait!

Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

At age twenty three, young orphaned and rather dashing Cyrus Darian flees his homeland of Persia heading for the delights of London where supernatural is second nature. Darian is an exotic blend of Irish from his Mom and Persian from his Dad.

Described as “alchemist, amateur dabbler in the occult, collector of antiquities, necromancer and murderer”, Darian is a fully fledged living breathing reason to read this book. We don’t know much about him to begin with, other than his supernatural skills and handsome looks, but we do know he is seeking out the Sumerian lifestone, an artefact which will help him in his unspecified quest.

Two years later, things go a little awry when a false trail finds him in the claws of a succubus, who gives him a ‘love bite’ to remember, almost killing him and bestowing him with everlasting long life and strange good looks complete with swirling silver, violet eyes into the bargain.

Ten years later and Darian, an inhabitant of London, still looks twenty-five and is still seeking hidden artefacts in the realms of a London drowning in a stinking, poisonous fog. There are riots over the poisoned air, overhead steam trams, dirigibles and demons. Reading somewhat like a Steampunk ‘urban’ fantasy, Cyrus Darian blends high adventure, visual feasts and sensuality to create a fun and fast paced romp.

Cyrus finds himself talked into the inevitable search for the Technomincron, a device of infinite power and danger. With his trusty sidekicks and a kick arse female lead, Darian tackles the denizens of Hell.

His demon friend Belial in particular, is one of the really enjoyable characters in the novel. He is great fun as he taunts and teases his human counterparts, also teasing himself with his flirtations with Darian, which can never be consummated.

This book has no pretensions. It is an adventure and a fun experience, though Dane does make reference to the poisonous air of London which is reminiscent of the historical ‘Great Stink’. You will surely be missing a Steampunk gem if you ignore this book . . . at your peril.

I am over the moon today….and over Jupiter and Saturn too.  I’ll avoid Uranus!

My publisher Endaxi Press have sent me the official cover for Cyrus Darian and the Technomicron….Love it !

It combines the elegance of the Victorian period in which this steampunk/alternative history/supernatural adventure is set with the sense of mysterious occult forces at work….just like the book !

The novel is in the final edit stage so publication date not far off.

Also more good news for my lovely readers, I have finally got my Muse back on board and my Dark Kind vampire mojo back.  Blood Legend is back on track , Jaz and Prince Azrar will be back !

Official cover for my new steampunk novel

Once an avid reader, devouring several books a week, I now find my reading time restricted by bad eyesight and work on my own books.  My strict motto now is quality over quantity.

This year I have enjoyed several books by favourite authors and discovered two exciting new published ones. I won’t bore you with all of them and apologise to those I have missed out. Some of the best work I’ve read are books I found on Harper Collins’ authonomy site such as Jeff Sinclair’s No Heaven and Jared Conway’s Mummy’s Boy.

Among those already out there in the book stores, among stand out reads so far has been Company of Liars and The  Owl Killers by Karen Maitland…these novels are impossible  to categorise.  At first superficial glance these books are historical set in bleak plague and famine-ridden 13th century England. But they are so much more. Beautiful, dark , authentic and vivid with supernatural undertones, extraordinary characterisation and plot twists, turns and astonishing surprises, these haunting books are in a category all of their own.

I also discovered the delights of new young horror writer, Joe Hill starting with Heart Shaped Box, then Horns with Twentieth Century Ghosts next in line on my bedside table.  A wonderful new voice with a delightfully twisted imagination combined with highly skilful craftsmanship. And so different in style and  tone to his father, Stephen King.

Sam Stone’s Vampire Gene series never fails to deliver. Sam’s work is intelligent, sensual and vastly superior to the the glut of vampire literature clogging up the bookshop shelves.  Reading her latest, Demon Dance is like curling up on the sofa under a furry throw,  with an open log fire  and a fine red wine and a box of luxury chocolates.  A delicious treat for all the senses.

I have been a fan of Phil Rickman for many years, loving his early work such as Crybbe and becoming addicted to his Merrily Watkins series. This year, he moved away from contemporary Hereford to Elizabethan England with The Bones of Avalon,  a mystery starring a real life person…the mysterious Dr John Dee..astrologer to the Queen. Combining real life people and events with  his own plot set in post dissolution Glastonbury, I  couldn’t put this book down…at the expense of my own work!

Only disappointment so far was Stephen King’s The Dome…I had such high hopes of this huge tome but it didn’t excite me in the same way his other work such as The Stand or It did.

Now back to my own work in progress…the sequel to Cyrus Darian and the Technomicron. No title yet but plenty of wild, occult adventures and steam-powered gadgets!