Nineteenth century London is the center of a vast British Empire, a teeming metropolis where steam-power is king and airships ply the skies, and where Queen Victoria presides over three quarters of the known world—including the east coast of America, following the failed revolution of 1775.Young Gideon Smith has seen things that no green lad of Her Majesty’s dominion should ever experience. Through a series of incredible events Gideon has become the newest Hero of the Empire. But Gideon is a man with a mission, for the dreaded Texas pirate Louis Cockayne has stolen the mechanical clockwork girl Maria, along with a most fantastical weapon—a great brass dragon that was unearthed beneath ancient Egyptian soil. Maria is the only one who can pilot the beast, so Cockayne has taken girl and dragon off to points east.Gideon and his intrepid band take to the skies and travel to the American colonies hot on Cockayne’s trail. Not only does Gideon want the machine back, he has fallen in love with Maria. Their journey will take them to the wilds of the lawless lands south of the American colonies—to free Texas, where the mad King of Steamtown rules with an iron fist (literally), where life is cheap and honor even cheaper.Does Gideon have what it takes to not only save the day but win the girl?
Gideon Smith, a newly minted Hero of the Empire (following the events of Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl), heads off to Britain-controlled America to recover a lost dragon and its clockwork-cyborg pilot in this fast-paced and pulpy steampunk adventure. The mighty mechanical brass dragon Apep and its unique pilot, Maria, a clockwork woman with the brain of a London shop girl, were stolen away by turncoat Louis Cockayne and last sighted south of the Mason-Dixon Wall. The search brings Gideon and his crew to gritty San Antonio, Tex.—aka Steamtown—where ruthless Thaddeus Pinch, “more machine than man,” has nefarious plans for the dragon, as soon as he can learn how to control it. Meanwhile, in Nyu Edo on the west coast of North America, a scientist prepares a secret weapon to fight a runaway from Monster Island. Barnett’s characters are drawn with broad strokes, and the many subplots make for a bumpy pace, but there’s plenty to enjoy in this gleeful mix of brass goggles, sword-wielding swashbucklers, Darwin, and dinosaurs. -- Publishers Weekly