Category: Weekend at the Asylum 2012



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.


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.

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.

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

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


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!

Weekend at the Asylum 2012

Many decades ago, when a little girl, the very mention of the word ‘Christmas’ would make my heart race with excitement. I would lose sleep as the great day neared and cry when so swiftly it was all over. I grew up and such intense and thrilling special days became a thing of past memories.
Then steampunk took over my life and all those old feelings of excitement and magic returned with the annual get together known as the Victorian Steampunk Society Convivial, Weekend at the Asylum, Lincoln. Better known simply as The Asylum.

Three days in the company of the most warm-hearted, welcoming and splendid people, wonderful clothes, intriguing gadgets,  interesting events, downright brilliantly bonkers competitions, joyous parties and shopping for unique, handcrafted objects of beauty and desire.
Events? Everything from parades of the Third Foot and Mouth Brigade to hilarious jet propulsion races. Sadly none became airborne this year, it is only a matter of time!  The tension from the packed crowd over the finals of the Tea Duelling event had to be experienced to be believed. Forget football, tea duelling should be the UK’s national sport!

The elegant setting of the Assembly Rooms held fascinating discussion panels, book launches and readings. Author and all round dashing gentleman Kit Cox held a large audience entranced with a real Victorian slide show of his new book ‘ How to Bag A Jabberwocky’ and also gave a spot on, fascinating and hilarious master class on character building in novels.

The delightful Sam Stone launched two books at the event, the latest in her Vampire Gene series and her steampunk book Zombies at Tiffanys.   And the Asylum would lose much magic and sparkle without the presence of Robert Rankin and his lovely ,talented wife, Rachel Hayward, at the heart of the event in every sense of the term.

The Assembly Rooms also hosted the best costume competition, another fun and popular highlight. My personal favourite was a gracious lady who turned her mobility scooter into a Wellsian Time Machine.

Asylum is spread over several close sites in the beautiful medieval area of Lincoln. Organised by the extraordinary powerhouse of ideas and organisational skills that is Thaddeus Tinker and Lady Elsie, with a dedicated, hardworking team of organisers and volunteers, it is run with clockwork precision that never runs out of steam or gets a spanner in the works.
The result at the end is an exhausted organising team and nearly two thousand delighted steampunks from all around the United Kingdom and abroad with visitors from the Americas, Europe and South Africa. No mean feat.
The Asylum Weekend is a time to meet up with old friends and always end up a making many new ones. It is having an aching face with so much smiling and laughing. Going reluctantly back to normal life with a happy fatigue from having a good time….no, make that a bloomin’ amazing time and so many wonderful memories.

This year was very special for me and my publisher Endaxi Press. We launched the second of my steampunk series Cyrus Darian and the Ghastly Horde on Saturday morning.
To my astonishment, my first steampunk novel, Cyrus Darian and the Technomicron, launched at The Asylum was not just nominated but shortlisted for the inaugural VSS Steampunk Novel of 2011. I was up against well-established authors Gail Carriger and King of Steampunk Jonathan ‘Pax Britannica’ Green…no chance! But to be shortlisted with a debut novel in the genre by the people who matter the most, not some industry worthies but the actual steampunk community itself was mind-numbing and amazing.

Both Jonathan and I were bundles of nerves as the moment approached for the award announcement…when I heard Cyrus won, I nearly fainted with shock….it still hasn’t truly sunk in that Cyrus Darian and the Technomicron is Steampunk Novel of the Year…..
Earlier during the awards, a stunning painting by Vincent Shaw-Morton, called The Alchemist, Cyrus Darian won the 2d art exhibition competition at the Asylum. I had a joint celebration with the Shaw-Morton family at the end of event party….my bad, bad boy Cyrus had a great weekend!

Too many people to thank in person without the risk of missing someone out, but of course without Thaddeus Tinker, Lady Elsie and their team, there would be no Asylum.  Helping me so much at the event on a personal level, Jo Mathews, Sam and David J Howe, Darren Demondaz and Hayley Exhayle, Ian J Smethhurst , Eve Weaver and Steve Cotterill.  Group hug!


Here I am proudly showing off Cyrus Darian and the Ghastly Horde with gothic supermodel and good friend, Darren Demondaz