Dead Men’s Tales by C. B. Ash

Dead Men’s Tales by C. B. Ash
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (494 Pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

The discovery of a cryptic message left by Angela Von Patterson draws the crew of the Brass Griffin into a web of conspiracy, kidnapping and death. From high above the North Atlantic, to the Highlands of Scotland, they discover a plot that threatens the very heart of the British government!

Captain Anthony Hunter and his airship Brass Griffin come across the wreck of another ship, the Fair Winds. Hunter discovers that the passengers have been kidnapped and thanks to a cryptic message from one of them, a young werewolf named Angela, Hunter is able to head off in pursuit. However, the plot is much more complex than a simple kidnapping, and indeed, the British government is in danger.

Dead Men’s Tales is a wonderful steampunk fantasy novel. The plot is fast-moving, filled with adventure and intrigue, and suspenseful enough to keep readers on the edge of their seats. The novel is definitely plot driven, although there are a number of memorable characters. But there are so many characters that I didn’t become attached to any particular one. I also felt that the author’s use of names added unnecessary confusion. Sometimes the first name is used and sometimes the last or the title, so that Captain Anthony Hunter is called Captain, Anthony, and Hunter, with the names being interchanged seemingly at random. In the beginning, this made it seem to me as if there were even more characters than there really were.

The plot is an excellent one, with heavy emphasis on the evils of some rather diabolical weapons, including spinoffs from the Ironclad ships of the American Civil War and the use of mustard gas in World War I. The story takes place in the North Atlantic and the Scottish Highlands and the descriptions of the various locations are rich and varied. I really did feel as if I were right in the middle of the action.

The descriptions of the various scientific gadgetry was detailed enough to create a very believable picture without overwhelming the reader in explanations. I was especially taken with the creativity of Moira, the ship’s blacksmith, who succeeds in inventing all manner of devices to help defeat the villains.

Readers who enjoy steampunk are sure to find Dead Men’s Tales to be a thrilling, heart-stopping read.

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