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Review: ‘Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter’ launches a new heroine with steampunk flair

Cover art for 'The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter'
Courtesy of: Angry Robot Books

The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter

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Rod Duncan’s The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter, the first entry in a planned duology, introduces us to Elizabeth Barnabus and her double life in the Gas-Lit Empire. Elizabeth passes her days not only as herself, but also in the guise of a non-existent brother. A brother who makes his bread as a private sleuth. When Elizabeth, who is in some pressing financial straits, is contracted by an aristocrat to track down a missing brother, she is drawn into a struggle between the all-powerful Patent Office and a troop of circus performers-cum-alchemists. All of which would have been quite challenging enough even without the complications Elizabeth’s personal life and history bring to the fore.

In this fascinating first foray into Elizabeth’s world, Duncan introduces us to a vast universe with familiar sensibilities and a classic heroine. Determined and strong, Elizabeth is the rule-bending, but honorable figure that’s impossible not to root for. Meanwhile, the characters she encounters are a decidedly delightful blend of English propriety and sci-fi pluck. From her spunky young pupil, Julia, to verbal sparring with love/hate acquaintance John Farthing, Elizabeth’s world is teeming with memorable characters who enhance the intrigue-centric plot.

Far from all style, or just another mystery yarn, The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter is an immersive read that takes the best of many genres and weaves them together. Fans of everything from historical fiction to fantasy, to detective novels and spy versus spy thrillers will find something to love in Duncan’s latest, which at turns evokes the likes of Geek Love, Sherlock Holmes and Firefly. If you’ve a taste for quirks and style with your substance, give this novel a try.

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Title: The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter
Author: Rod Duncan
Series: The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire
Format: Digital
File Size: 1037 KB
Print Length: 384 pages
Publisher: Angry Robot
Release Date: August 26, 2014