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The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter: The Fall of…
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The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter: The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire, Book 1 (original 2014; edition 2014)

by Rod Duncan (Author), Will Staehle (Illustrator)

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2051557,211 (3.74)58
Member:majkia
Title:The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter: The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire, Book 1
Authors:Rod Duncan (Author)
Other authors:Will Staehle (Illustrator)
Info:Angry Robot (2014), 384 pages
Collections:To read, Your library, Steampunk
Rating:
Tags:ebook, Kindle, steampunk

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The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter by Rod Duncan (2014)

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I’ve had a bit of a hit or miss history with steampunk, but The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter was certainly a hit. It’s a fast paced start to a series taking place in an alternate timeline where all new technology was outlawed by the all powerful Patent Office. With technology stagnant, societal mores stagnated as well. Thus to live independently, Elizabeth Barnabus has to pull of the greatest illusion of her life – by day she is herself, by night she is a fictional twin brother, who works as a private detective. When she takes a case involving a missing aristocrat, she suddenly finds herself in a world of trouble with the Patent Office on her tail.

If you’ve been following my reviews for a while, you’ll probably have gathered that I like rogue type characters. These tend to be some variant of con artists or thieves, but Elizabeth fits the bill in an unusual but satisfying manner. She grew up in a circus, learning illusions and slight of hand. These are the skills she uses in her information gathering. My favorite parts of the book involved Elizabeth using some form of deception to escape pursuers or gather intel.

Elizabeth lives in what in our world is Scotland. Her version of the Britain has been split in half between the Republic and the Kingdom (Republic in the north, Kingdom in the south). The two have varying cultures, although women don’t have it great in either of them. There’s some of the technology you’d expect from steampunk – say, airships – but there’s not a huge amount of steampowered gadgetry since the Patent Office keeps a tight lid on new inventions. The most impressive feat was that the world building never became info dumpy. You just sort of gently glide into the world and its rules.

While I loved seeing how Elizabeth used her stage magic training to get her way out of sticky situations, I never grew that attached to her as a character. The same can be said for the supporting cast. I don’t think it was to the point where it hampered my enjoyment of the story, but without a strong connection to the characters I doubt I’d ever give this one a reread.

I’d recommend The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter for anyone looking for a fun, fast paced steampunk story with a very canny female lead.

Originally posted on The Illustrated Page. ( )
1 vote pwaites | Aug 9, 2016 |
Enjoyed this steampunk alt history, looking forward to the next in the series. The glossary at the end has a bit of foreshadowing for the Gas-Lit Empire. ( )
  rlsalvati | Jul 5, 2016 |
I will start by saying this book was interesting. I loved the gaslight Victorian setting, I loved the strong female lead, and I loved all the circus aspects in this book. That being said I feel like the plot as a whole was a bit forced, it was a brilliant journey to set everything up, and for me i thought climax didn't really hold up to what came before. Still I think this is a world i would gladly visit again, I just hope the authors next plot holds up to the high hopes i had at the beginning of the book. ( )
  Shadowling | Jun 6, 2016 |
Elizabeth Barnabus is living a double life, at night as her "brother" who works as a detective, by day a respectable if eccentric young woman living on a boat and giving a friend lessons in law. When the Duchess of Bletchley offers her money to find the duchess's brother, Elizabeth agrees in order to get enough money to pay off the loan for her beloved boat, even if it means delving into a past she left behind for good years ago.

The Gas-Lit Empire, a group of what we might call European nations that look just a little bit different in their makeup and steam power than our universe, is the setting for this mystery-steampunk mashup. There was a lot of world-building as you might expect from the first in a series but it didn't completely overwhelm a fun adventure story. Elizabeth was a fun character, too, and I liked her ingenuity made believable by her background as the daughter of an illusionist (to say much more would be to give spoilers). Definitely a good set up to a series that I'm interested in exploring further. ( )
  bell7 | May 2, 2016 |
So, I just finished a well written steampunk novel that was really good - The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter by Rod Duncan. Strong, clever female heroine perfectly capable of rescuing herself, no love triangle (in fact no romance!), excellent pacing, and although it is the first in a series, it can stand on its own just fine - no cliffhanger. Highly recommended.

The main character is Elizabeth Barnabas, and she has made a life out of posing as two people - herself and her twin brother. The brother works as a private investigator, which would be impossible for a woman to do in Elizabeth's world. Set in an alternate history world where the United Kingdom has been divided into two realms - imagine if the Luddites had been successful, and the patent office became a very powerful entity with its own law officers. The world building here is lovely, and I like that Mr. Duncan doesn't try to cram it down the reader's throat, but reveals it bit by bit as the story goes along. Not only is Elizabeth's current case very interesting, her backstory has its own intrigue. This is a mystery with action and adventure that does not disappoint; I for one cannot wait to read the next one! ( )
1 vote Crazymamie | Feb 25, 2016 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rod Duncanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Argh! OxfordDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Staehle, WillCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Had I been a man, I could have strolled into that dark warren of narrow streets, blind alleys and iniquity, letting the steel tip of my cane tap out a leisurely report of my progress, receiving winks and cat-calls barkers and gamblers, gin-sellers and rowdy girls.
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