I’ve been continually discovering more authors as I keep moving forward with my goal of becoming more widely read. Dave Freer, who is the author of this book, has been one of my best finds in years. This is a young adult, alternate history, steampunk book, but I think all ages would enjoy it.

Clara Calland is a young girl who is on the run with her scientist mother. They have Menshevik spies and Imperial soldiers chasing them from Ireland to London. They are smuggled into London’s flooded canals and join people known as the underpeople who already live there. These people help to smuggle them onto the Cuttlefish, a submarine, which begins a worldwide chase as there are people who are desperate to know what Clara’s mother knows. Clara meets one of the crewmen, Tim Barnabas, and together, they navigate past disasters and treachery, as the ship makes its way to freedom in Westralia, on the other side of the planet.

The world in this book is very well done. I could picture the descriptions in my head and could tell the author had done his research. The characters were also well-done against this backdrop, especially Clara and Tim, and each one had their part to play in the story. I am definitely going to read the follow-up book, Steam Mole, as I am interested in more stories with these characters. Well done, Mr. Freer!

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