The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
An enticing and exciting YA novel of Steampunk in Victorian England, “The Hunchback Assignments” merges factual history with the alternate universe of steam, clockwork mechanisms, mad scientists, and global conspiracy. On one hand is an upscale, rather elitist organization calling itself the “Permanent Association,” determined not only to preserve Great Britain from anarchists, but intent as well on keeping Britannia the ruler of a great and far-flung empire of Manifest Destiny. Opposed to this is a global collection known as “The Clockword Guild,” whose members are completely without heart or compassion, who think nothing of enslaving orphans, street children, and even members of royalty, to their ends. The plot is fast-paced, and in the characters of poor hunchbacked Modo-until the age of 1 a “freak” in a tiny travelling gypsy carvan; Octavia Milkweed, former orphan turned pickpocket; and “Mr. Socrates,” as well as the trinity of evil (Fuhr; Hakkandottir; and Dr. Hyde) we encounter individuals as fully fleshed out and real as Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, and their nemesis Professor Moriarty. I recommend this delightful novel, and its series.
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