Just a few of the amazing reviews HAWTHORNE: Chronicles of the Brass Hand has received!
Masterfully written, reminiscent of the adventure books I grew up with and loved, January 27, 2015
by By R. Turnbull
I've read most of R.E. Howard's and E.R. Burroughs' books (Conan and Tarzan primarily)
when I was a younger man. I would term them pure adventure, page turners that never let
up on the action. That is what Hawthorne is, but with a steampunk flavor. Mr. Meeker does
a great job of introducing the characters and the world setting before he plunges the
reader into the action. The locales and the situations are exotic and frenetic and
written in a style I haven't encountered since I closeted myself in my room as an early
teen with a stack of library books with pictures of men in loincloths on the cover. To
emulate the style of those adventures must have been difficult: The rhythm, the verbiage,
the tone are all well done and facilitate a quick read. Mr. Meeker, you paint a very
Airships Filled the Skies, November 7, 2014
by Ralph E. Vaughan
Unlike other entries into the genre of steampunk fiction, which are either firmly set
in the Victorian Age or placed in an alternate universe stemming from changes in that
time period, this book takes place in 1835, during the reign of William IV, two years
before the ascension of the young Victoria. It was, then, a time of reform in British
culture which saw the abolition of child labor in factories, the emancipation of slaves
in Britain's colonies (had the American colonies not revolted, slavery would have ended
two generations earlier than it did, and without a bloody war), and the rise of the House
of Commons over the House of Lords. And in the world of Edgar J Hawthorne, narrator and
hero of this rousing adventure novel, it was a time of steam-powered horseless carriages
and massive airships able to travel from England and down the length of Africa to the
Cape of Good Hope, upon which is the journey young Edgar sets.
The author has paid careful attention to keep Edgar's narration in the style of the
times, which means it is often verbose and circuitous by modern standards. Though it
initially grates upon ears accustomed to today's streamlined and often staccato prose,
it is not much more difficult to plow through than the writing of Jules Vern, H Rider
Haggard or Edgar Rice Burroughs, and it does provide a rewarding immersive experience
for the reader.
Edgar's trip from England to the southern tip of the Dark Continent is anything but
uneventful, and he encounters everything from airship pirates to an army of Great
Apes to a mysterious Egyptian who seems to control time and space. Anyone who has
read the adventure novels of the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries will recognize
the many nods to past masters of the genre. Likewise, you will encounter many of the
same themes and archetypes, but the author incorporates enough new ideas (or successfully
reworks old ones) to provide a reading experience that is as novel as it is exciting.
This is the first volume of a projected series, thus it's not unexpected that the story
ends on a note that sets up for the next book, but the story told within these pages is
in itself a tale that can stand on its own. If you're looking for a steampunk-themed book
which recalls the great adventure stories of years' past, this might be a good choice for you.
Wonderful I really liked this, October 19, 2014
This is a wonderful debut novel. The steampunk references are strong (airships,
steam-powered contraptions, advanced science for the Victorian era) but it is more
in the vein of the old time adventure pulps like Burroughs and the works of Jules
Verne. This is high adventure that anyone can get into. Meeker hints at a larger
world that he is building and promises to explore in the promised sequels.
The main character, Edgar Hawthorne, is a young man living on his father's estate
near London who is drawn into a mystery necessitating travel via airship to an observatory
in South Africa. Since this is steampunk travel is via airship. In this world these
advances are considered normal and part of every day life, so when the airship is
attacked by brigands a thousand feet in the air, a great battle ensues. Diversions
through the jungle, a mysterious temple and a band of simians that makes Planet of
the Apes seem tame by comparison brings Edgar into the company of a female passenger
that starts making him second guess everything. Once down in Africa the mystery thickens
with a murderous group of assassins, a mine with a secret room that would make Dr
Frankenstein envious and one last battle with the main villain.
I really liked this story- in a day when everything is vampires, zombies and teen
angst magic, this is an olde tyme (see what I did there) adventure story, like what
you might have heard told in serial format on the radio some 60 years ago. It is very
imaginative, full of twists, and is not afraid to take risks and add complexity to the
plot. I have no idea where the next installment is going (well, we kind of do at the
end... but I won't give it away). but I, for one, am already lining up to get my copy.
Adventure like they used to make!, June 7, 2014
by Byron Grush (Delavan, WI, USA)
The Hawthorne Chronicles series by Christopher Meeker is a most welcome addition to the
fantasy/adventure world of popular literature. I am an avid reader of many genres and
enjoy science fiction and fantasy as well as historical fiction and mystery. I cut my
reader’s teeth early on Edgar Rice Burroughs, H. Rider Haggard, A. Merritt and Robert W.
Chambers and, having devoured everything I could find from the 30s and 40s, have hungered
for that curiously rare tome that is at once familiar and yet original and compelling.
This is the book and the author I’ve waited for.
Meeker tells a story with skill and finesse and creates interesting characters you will
want to hear more about (and I trust there will be further offerings in the series soon).
The adventure tale is sufficiently unusual with its Victorian period inventions and mystical
villains to amaze and intrigue without being trite or overly stylized. It moves along with
a sort of edge-of-your-chair readability but also supplies food for thought if you’re willing
to look for it. A puzzle, a mystery, a struggle, heroism, exotic locals, a romantic element,
a hint of magic, a fantastic airship, brutish creatures—what more could you want? Fans of pulp
fiction will appreciate Hawthorne. Younger readers (and by this I mean anyone under 50 or
anyone who never read a Tarzan novel) will be introduced to a straight forward adventure
that need not rely on vampires or zombies for its thrills.
Whether or not Meeker’s writing falls under K. W. Jeter’s term, “steampunk” or not will be up
to the reader. The airship, as I recall, is steam-powered. But it doesn’t matter. It is a
satisfying read that will charm you and leave you asking for more. The descriptive prose will
carry you into a realm where you will suspend disbelief. I recommend this book whole-heartedly
and give it five bright shining stars.
Jules Verne, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and HG Wells for the
21st Century, April 23, 2014
by Cutty Wren
This is one of those books that is written for a specific audience (the steampunk audience),
but anyone who loves adventure and sci-fi will love it.
Hawthorne: Chronicles of the Brass Hand - Mystirio Astronomiki (Volume 1) wastes no time getting
to the story, which concerns of the adventures of the titular character, Edgar Hawthorne, a young
man who leaves his English 19th century home aboard an airship headed for South Africa. It seems
some interesting things are going on down there at the tip of Cape Horn and Edgar, at his father's
behest, is sent to investigate.
And the story takes off from there. There is a lot of mystery at play here. The airship is
stocked with characters and you are never sure you can be trusted (until its too late that is).
The plot is engaging and action packed. There is never a dull moment, whether it is the
accidental discovery of an ancient temple, attack by airship pirates, a murderous onslaughts
of wild apes (that would thrill any Planet of the Apes fan) or the outright sci-fi elements
of alien worlds, secret societies and the like.
The style of the book models the Victorian writing in which is was set, which is an interesting
approach for an author to take. I really felt that like was reading a newly discovered Jules
Verne, or Edgar Rice Burroughs novel.
Though many will label this as a steampunk genre novel, which is most certainly is (and I
think that those who identify with steampunk will love it), it is for anyone who loves the
writing of Jules Verne, Robert Louis Stevenson, Edgar Rice Burroughs,or H.G. Wells and for
all who love science fiction in all of it's wondrous forms.
I definitely recommend it and can't wait for the promised Volume 2.