Arabella and the Battle of Venus (The Adventures of Arabella Ashby #2)
Author: David D. Levine
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: July 18, 2017
Publisher: Tor Books
The thrilling adventures of Arabella Ashby continue in the second book in Hugo-winning author David D. Levine's swashbuckling sci-fi, alt-history series!
The swashbuckling Arabella Ashby is back for brand new adventure in the ongoing story of her life among the stars.
Arabella’s wedding plans to marry Captain Singh of the Honorable Mars Trading Company are interrupted when her fiancé is captured by the French and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp on swampy Venus. Now, Arabella must find passage to an enemy-controlled planet in the middle of a war, bribe or fight her way past vicious guards, and rescue her Captain.
To do this she must enlist the help of the dashing privateer, Daniel Fox of the Touchstone and build her own clockwork navigational automaton in order to get to Venus before the dread French general, Joseph Fouché, the Executioner of Lyon.
Once on Venus, Arabella, Singh, and Fox soon discover that Napoleon has designed a secret weapon, one that could subjugate the entire galaxy if they can’t discover a way to stop Fouché, and the entire French army, from completing their emperor’s mandate.
Praise for ARABELLA OF MARS:
“Arabella, a human teenager born on Mars, is catapulted into adventure in a tale that cleverly combines some of the most intriguing elements of steampunk and classic science fiction. In an alternate 1812, Arabella’s mother moves her three daughters to Earth and away from the wild influences of the Martian colony. When the family gets news that Arabella’s father has died on Mars, the headstrong 17-year-old girl disguises herself as a boy and hires on with one of the great ships that sail the solar winds between the planets, planning to protect her brother, who’s still on Mars, from treachery. Along the way, she faces privateers and mutiny, but Arabella is resourceful and courageous, gamely enduring hardship to accomplish her mission. Arabella is a fully realized character, daring and willing to risk everything to protect the brother she loves and the legacy that her father has left them. Her wits and cleverness save the ship and crew more than once in this rousing swashbuckler.”— Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Debut of the Month. Embedded in the chaos of clockwork and space adventure, Arabella is a delightful heroine with more than enough fortitude to traverse the solar system. … A fanciful romp through a cosmic 1812, Hugo Award–winning Levine’s first novel is a treat for steampunk fantasy fans.”— Library Journal, starred review
“Excellent, entertaining, humorous scenarios make up Levine’s latest. His storytelling will keep readers turning the pages with its slight edginess, light-hearted tone and clear, crisp dialogue. Arabella is strong, sassy and clever, and her journey, as she makes her way back to Mars on an airship, makes this story an engaging read. ★★★★”— Melanie Bates, RT Book Reviews
“David Levine has reached back past the Martian romances of Percival Lowell to an even earlier moment, creating a precursor to steampunk that I suppose we should call sailpunk. It’s a delightful addition to the Matter of Mars, bridging the long gap between Kepler and Burroughs with a Regency entry, filled with all the drama of the Napoleonic wars, now here complicated by a drastic Martian intervention, and animated most of all by Arabella, a young woman filled with curiosity and courage. It’s a very clever and entertaining start to a memorable saga.”— Kim Stanley Robinson, author of Red Mars
“Regency space opera in its best form! An intrepid, intelligent heroine, wonderful characters, and a breathtaking conflict. Who could ask for more?”— Patricia Rice, bestselling author of Regency romances
“If Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jules Verne, and Patrick O’Brian had sat down together to compose a tale to amuse Jane Austen, the result might be Arabella. So. Much. Fun!”— Madeleine Robins, author of the Sarah Tolerance series
“Hugo award winning author David D. Levine’s first full length novel, Arabella of Mars, is the delicious love child of Jane Austen, Patrick O’Brian, and Jules Verne! Sent back to England from her family’s estate on Mars, Arabella despises the life of a staid young Regency lady. Then a shocking threat to her family on Mars forces her to undertake a desperate, impossible journey back to the colony–a journey that will change her forever. Arabella Ashby is a great character, and wonderful worldbuilding, tight plotting, and a breakneck pace make Arabella of Mars a real page turner! I look forward to the next book in the series.”— Mary Jo Putney, bestselling author of Not Always a Saint and Once a Soldier
“Levine has created a wonderful alternate 19th century, with interplanetary airships, space pirates, automatons, Martians, and a young woman determined to save her family. This book reminded me how much fun reading can be. This book makes me want to take an airship to Mars. Right now. Arabella of Mars is a perfect blend of pulp and steampunk and old-fashioned adventure, set in a fascinating alternate version of our solar system.”— Jim C. Hines, author of the Magic ex Libris series
“David Levine takes the ‘girl disguises herself for nautical adventures’ story into new dimensions with this delightful interplanetary romance. Murderous relatives, alien culture clashes, a dashing romance, and high seas adventure in the void between Earth and Mars — it’s all the good parts of the old pulp style, updated for the twenty-first century.”— Marie Brennan, author of the Memoirs of Lady Trent series
“David Levine’s entertaining debut is a delightfully detailed airship adventure, complete with romance, pirates, Martians, automata, and a charming Jules Vernian imagining of the alternate-world science involved in sailing a ship straight through our solar system.”— Tina Connolly, author of the Ironskin trilogy
“Interplanetary pirates! Imperiled inheritances! Disguises! Rebellion! Romance! Arabella of Mars is a blast — a smart, resourceful heroine, a non-stop adventure packed with thrills, charm and surprises, and a fascinating world I hope to see a lot more of. A thoroughly engaging debut.”— Kurt Busiek, writer of Astro City
“Fans of tall ships, steampunk SF, and swashbuckling adventure should love Arabella’s splendid race back to the Mars Colony in alternate 1813! This is a terrific novel!”— Sherwood Smith, writer of fantasy, historical romance, and science fiction
“Arabella of Mars is a perfect blend of Regency romance and imaginative, exciting space opera. Levine offers a story grounded in historical detail that soars to new heights of adventure and fun.”— Michael J. Martinez, author of The Daedalus Incident
“This rollicking interplanetary adventure captured my heart. Who could resist a world in which coal-powered ships sail to Mars, borne aloft by balloons of Venusian silk, doing battle en route with French privateers? To protect family and fortune, Arabella Ashby masquerades as a boy and takes a berth as a cabin boy on a fascinating voyage. There’s a mysterious captain, an intriguing automaton, pirates, Martians, a bit of romance, and so much more. I’m grateful Levine has promised a sequel. Arabella Ashby proves herself to be a clever and capable heroine, and I’m looking forward to her next adventure.”— Pat Murphy, author of Wild Angel
“Shades of Jules Verne! This rollicking adventure from David Levine thrills with Regency whizzbang!”— Ellen Klages, author of The Green Glass Sea
She waited until after breakfast the next day to tell Michael, when he would be rested, well- fed, and happy in the view from the verandah. Chakti chittered in the shrubbery, and the khoresh- trees marched to the horizon in orderly rows. “I have engaged a ship to take me to Venus,” she said as she passed the scones. “She is called Touchstone, out of Sor Khoresh, captained by a man named Fox.”
“One of Tura’s privateers?” he replied, shock and dismay clear from his tone.
Sor Khoresh, north of Fort Augusta, was one of the more powerful Martian satrapies, independent monarchical states which ruled the portions of Mars outside of the Honorable Mars Company’s control. In the vast deserts beyond the borders of St. George’s Land, the satraps of Mars were as powerful as any European king— only their lack of gunpowder and aerial ships prevented them from projecting that power beyond their own planet, and their treaties with the Com pany prevented them from acquiring those things for themselves. In exchange for this limitation and other considerations, they received considerable autonomy and substantial assistance from the English; and Tura, the satrap of Sor Khoresh, had taken every advantage of the situation.
Though the satraps were denied ships of their own, one of the powers permitted them by treaty was the granting of letters of marque— official documents authorizing, in effect, legalized piracy—to the ships of certain Earthly nations. Thus, many Russian, Dutch, American, and even English captains sailed the air as privateers under Martian flags, capturing the merchant ships of France and her allies, and sharing the spoils with their Martian sponsors. The arrangement profited the privateers and the satraps, and benefitted the English cause, so no one objected to it— save the French, of course, and their opinion was of no consequence.
“I intend to depart as soon as possible,” she continued. “You know I will not be dissuaded.”
“I do,” Michael spat, throwing down his napkin and pushing himself to his feet. “And you know I can be every bit as stubborn as my sister.” He fumbled his crutch under his arm and began stumping about in agitation. “Even on Mars, there are certain proprieties which must be maintained. If I cannot persuade you to set this dangerous project aside, then I must at least insist that you be properly chaperoned.”
“I could not possibly be saddled with such an encumbrance!”
Michael continued, undaunted by Arabella’s outburst. “For an unmarried young woman— and though you are engaged, this is indeed your state—to be seen unchaperoned in mixed company is very damaging to your reputation. Though I know you care little for your own reputation, poor behavior on your part reflects badly on the entire family.” He took a breath, let it out. “I will ask Lady Corey to accompany you to Venus.” He nodded to one of the servants. “Bring me paper, pen, and wax.”
“Lady Corey?” Arabella gaped. “She is entirely inappropriate!”
“There is none more appropriate on this planet.” The servant returned with the requested implements, and Michael immediately settled himself at the table and began scratching out an invitation.
Michael’s statement was true, in some ways. With Arabella’s mother on Earth, tens of thousands of miles away, and no living aunts or cousins anywhere on Mars, the widowed Lady Corey— a long- time friend of the family— was her most appropriate mentor and protector in the eyes of society.
But for the journey which Arabella anticipated, Lady Corey was the worst possible companion. After the horrific events of the insurrection, which had cost the lives of Lady Corey’s husband and many members of her staff, Arabella was certain that if anything even slightly untoward should happen to occur on the voyage, the elderly lady would be completely undone by distress.
“Please, Michael. I beg of you not to ask this of her. You know that I am entirely able to defend my own honor.”
Michael folded and sealed the letter. “Take this to Lady Corey at Miranda House,” he said to the servant, “and await her response.” He returned his attention to Arabella. “It is not merely your honor that concerns me. You require guidance and a proper introduction to society. After all, you are soon to be a married woman.”
“I shall never be married at all if my fiancé dies tortured to death in a prison on Venus!”
Michael’s only response to this outburst was a small, disgusted sound. “Lady Corey is far stronger, and will be far more helpful, than you think. Merely meet with her— this is all I ask.”
“Oh, very well.” But Arabella’s mind was already spinning with a stratagem to evade this unwanted imposition.
Copyright 2017 by David D. Levine
David D. Levine is the multi-award-winning author of the Regency interplanetary airship adventure novel Arabella of Mars (Tor 2016), sequel Arabella and the Battle of Venus (Tor 2017), and more than fifty science fiction and fantasy stories. Arabella of Mars won the 2017 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, his story “Tk’Tk’Tk” won the 2006 Hugo Award for Best Short Story, his story “Nucleon” won the James White Award, and he has been shortlisted for awards including the Hugo, Nebula, Campbell, Sturgeon, and Locus. His stories have appeared in Asimov’s, Analog, F&SF, Realms of Fantasy, Tor.com, numerous anthologies and websites, and multiple Year’s Best anthologies, as well as his collection Space Magic from Wheatland Press, which won the Endeavour Award for the best SF or Fantasy book by a Pacific Northwest writer.
David is a contributor to George R. R. Martin’s bestselling shared-world series Wild Cards. He is also a member of Book View Cafe, a writer-owned publishing cooperative, and Oregon Science Fiction Conventions Inc., a non-profit organization which produces OryCon and other SF conventions. He has narrated podcasts for Escape Pod, PodCastle, and StarShipSofa and the audiobook of Space Magic, and his video production “Dr. Talon’s Letter to the Editor” was a finalist for the Parsec Award. In 2010 he spent two weeks at the Mars Desert Research Station, a simulated Mars base in the Utah desert.
David lives in a hundred-year-old bungalow in Portland, Oregon. His web site can be found at www.daviddlevine.com.
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