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Luminous Chaos: A Novel (The Mysteries of…
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Luminous Chaos: A Novel (The Mysteries of New Venice)

by Jean-Christophe Valtat

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Oh, my God. This book. The next book in the series after Aurororama, it is a little bit less bewildering than the first, but maybe only because now it starts to feel familiar?

Basically, Brentford & Gabriel have been out-maneuvered in their attempt to reform New Venice. They, and a team of "supporting experts" have been sent on a diplomatic mission to Paris in an extremely disreputable transport known as a psychomotive that seems likely to have been intended to kill them. But instead sends them back in time to witness and perhaps participate in the birth of the idea of the city that will be New Venice.

Oh, there is a lot of mystery and snake oil! Occult figures, "medical" devices that affect the mind with magnets and electricity. Wax museums, poetry readings, and "therapeutic" drinking of animal blood. Wise-cracking child prostitutes and a severed head kept alive by complicated machinery.

As usual, I feel like I'm missing every other reference, especially to turn of the century French poets and philosophers. Female characters have more autonomy here, but they still sometimes feel like what a man's "sexy" idea of what a strong woman should be. But some neat ideas on do you really die if a version of you is still alive in another timeline? Is it better to remember or be wiped clean? And the one-step forward, one-step back nature of revolutions.

Another book coming, I think? Still definitely on board until the end. ( )
  greeniezona | Sep 20, 2014 |
This entire series is the literary equivalent of a psychedelic, anglophiliac, Jules Verne … but even more so.
  mahendra_singh | Jul 23, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 161219141X, Hardcover)

Book two in The Mysteries of New Venice, the steampunk adventure series The Guardian called a "magnificent achievement"

It's 1907 in the icily beautiful New Venice, and the hero of the city's liberation, Brentford Orsini, has been deposed by his arch-rival -- who immediately assigns Brentford and his friends on a dangerous diplomatic mission to Paris.

So, Brentford recruits his old friend and louche counterpart, Gabriel d'Allier, underground chanteuse and suffragette Lillian Lake, and the mysterious Blankbate--former Foreign Legionnaire and leader of the Scavengers, the city's garbage collecting cult--and others, for the mission.

But their mode of transportation--the untested "transaerian psychomotive"--proves faulty and they find themselves transported back in time to Paris 1895 ... before New Venice even existed. What's more, it's a Paris experiencing an unprecedented and crushingly harsh winter.

They soon find themselves involved with some of the city's seediest, most fascinating inhabitants. But between attending soirees at Mallarmé's house, drinking absinthe with Proust, trying to wrestle secrets out of mesmerists, and making fun of the newly-constructed Eiffel Tower, they also find that Paris is a city full of intrigue, suspicion, and danger.

For example, are the anarchists they encounter who are plotting to bomb the still-under construction Sacre Coeur church also the future founders of New Venice? And why are they trying to kill them?

And, as Luminous Chaos turns into another lush adventure told in glorious prose rich in historical allusion, there's the biggest question of them all: How will they ever get home?



ebook ISBN: 978-1-61219-142-3

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:23 -0400)

"Book two in The Mysteries of New Venice, the steampunk adventure series The Guardian called a "magnificent achievement" It's 1907 in the icily beautiful New Venice, and the hero of the city's liberation, Brentford Orsini, has been deposed by his arch-rival -- who immediately assigns Brentford and his friends on a dangerous diplomatic mission to Paris. So, Brentford recruits his old friend and louche counterpart, Gabriel d'Allier, underground chanteuse and suffragette Lillian Lake, and the mysterious Blankbate--former Foreign Legionnaire and leader of the Scavengers, the city's garbage collecting cult--and others, for the mission. But their mode of transportation--the untested "transaerian psychomotive"--Proves faulty and they find themselves transported back in time to Paris 1895 ... before New Venice even existed. What's more, it's a Paris experiencing an unprecedented and crushingly harsh winter. They soon find themselves involved with some of the city's seediest, most fascinating inhabitants. But between attending soirees at Mallarme's house, drinking absinthe with Proust, trying to wrestle secrets out of mesmerists, and making fun of the newly-constructed Eiffel Tower, they also find that Paris is a city full of intrigue, suspicion, and danger. For example, are the anarchists they encounter who are plotting to bomb the still-under construction Sacre Coeur church also the future founders of New Venice? And why are they trying to kill them? And, as Luminous Chaos turns into another lush adventure told in glorious prose rich in historical allusion, there's the biggest question of them all: How will they ever get home?"--… (more)

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