Saturday, January 27, 2024

Winter Reading 2024 The Wyvern, the Pirate, and the Madman (The Celwyn Series Book 5)

Publisher's Synopsis:
It is 1870, and the immortal magician Celwyn, the automat Professor Xiau Kang, and Bartholomew, a scientist and widower from Sudan, set out on another adventure.

The adventurers leave the North Sea aboard Captain Nemo’s Nautilus, chasing a pirate ship and Captain Dearing. The pirates have kidnapped friend and vampire Simone Redifer, not to mention they have stolen something precious from Captain Nemo.

Meanwhile, in Prague a dastardly murder forces Professor Kang back home.

The Wyvern, the Pirate, and the Madman is a steampunk fantasy filled with murder, magic, and adventure.

My Review:

Having followed the characters throughout the series, I have become attached to them and curious about what lies in store for them at each new stage of their adventures. In previous books they have taken a train journey from Prague to Singapore, dealt with mysterious murders, traveled on Nemo's incredible Nautilus through underground rivers and seen sea monsters battle - just to name a few occurrences. Their friends and enemies include witches, vampires, pirates, inventors, writers, immortals, automatons, and nosy reporters. Life around Celwyn is not dull.

In this literary outing Celwyn and his friends are traveling with Nemo once more to rescue the kidnapped Simone Redifer. Tara (Celwyn's significant other) and her uncle Valentine are with the group because Simone is part of their family and they are assisting with the rescue. As the Nautilus pursues the pirate ship carrying her, the rescuers begin to learn a bit more of Nemo's backstory. While that part of the group harries pirates around Indonesia, there are troubles brewing back home. 

Celwyn's ward Annabelle, her husband Patrick, and Kang's wife Elizabeth are busy with the orphans the group has taken in. The home they share in Prague is busy, even with some of their extended family away on a high-seas adventure. But when tragedy strikes, the police can't seem to find the culprits and Patrick desperately sends telegrams to every port where the Nautilus may call. As the danger at home and on board the Nautilus becomes more tense, readers will be turning the pages as quickly as possible to see what happens next. 

I was describing the series to a friend recently and compared it to "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen." Part of that similarity is easy to see - a group of remarkable individuals, each with distinctive skills, and all traveling with Captain Nemo as they chase down terrible villains. But it is much more than that. There are the historical fiction settings that the group explores; the supernatural elements of vampires and immortals; the steampunk feel of the submarine, flying machines, and automatons. Each scene seems to offer something new to capture the reader's attention, and just when it seems things are reaching a conclusion, a new threat appears. No rest yet for these weary travelers.

Recommended for those who enjoy adventures with an ensemble cast of characters, magic, mayhem, fantasy, steampunk, and historical fiction vibes. While the story can be read on its own, don't miss the rest of the series.

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