In March 1896, Widow Evaline “Evvy” Amstel has been left with a tremendous debt―before he was murdered, her husband had promised to build and deliver a revolutionary airship, The Empress of the Clouds, to Erasmus Marchand, an embittered Southern millionaire who resents the fact that the damned Yankees won the Civil War. Now that Amstel is dead, no one in Joplin, Missouri, a zinc/lead mining boomtown, knows where the Empress is . . . or if it even exists. Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin also has a stake in finding the airship. He has accused Evvy’s husband of stealing the original designs from him and is determined to recover the ship in order to build up Germany’s military might.
Evvy takes over her husband’s failing airship company and the company thrives for a time. But Marchand is fanatical in his quest to find the Empress―to arm it with a weapon of mass destruction at a pivotal moment in history and instigate anarchy. He’ll stop at nothing to achieve his vision and Evvy is proving to be a huge impediment. It’s up to her and local deputy Sean McTavish to find the airship before Marchand or Zeppelin does, because the future of the United States is in peril.
The Empress of the Clouds is a steampunk adventure. This alternative history tale features a spunky resourceful heroine who doesn’t allow adversity and evil to overpower her but seizes control of her own destiny.
With a strong plot, interesting characters and a marvelously detailed setting, The Empress of the Clouds by Desiree Ultican is an engaging, gripping steampunk, (alternate history) book that will keep you turning pages.
Evaline Amstel recently widowed and left with an outrageous debt, finds herself unmoved by the murder of her husband. He was a scoundrel, womanizer and dreamer-scientist. His company of three air-ships that carry tourists is dwindling to nothing, and Evaline has no choice but to lay off all but one of the pilots. The only way to succeed, she determines, is to learn to pilot herself. Undaunted, both by the heights and the loss of respectability, Evaline puts on her glass goggles and takes to the skies.
The mystery of her husband’s murder has evoked the curiosity of one of Jopin, Missouri’s lawmen, Sean McTavish. He sets out determined to unmask the brutal killer, but months go by with hardly a clue. Young lady-of-the-night Mollie says she has a secret to tell about Evaline’s husband Heinz, but she disappears before revealing what she knows. On top of possible financial ruin and the fact that she’s recently widowed, Evaline discovers one of Heinz’s secret… he was already married and has dumped a daughter with strangers without a backward glance. Not able to leave the girl to an unknown fate, Evaline takes her in. Bettina is to become someone very dear to her. On top of all of that, men are following her every move. Where is the mysterious Empress of the Clouds that her husband was said to be building? Can she outsmart the notorious, bent on revenge Erasmus Marchand?
The Victorian Era is romantically displayed, along with elements of the industrial revolution, filling the pages with great detail, precision and care to make this tale as real and 3-dimentional as possible. With rich descriptions and strong characters The Empress of the Clouds by Desiree Ultican comes highly recommended for fans of the steampunk and magnificent mysteries by Chick Lit Café. Book reviewed by T N Traynor for Chick Lit Café Book Reviews.
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