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The Kingdom Beyond the Waves by Stephen Hunt
  

The Kingdom Beyond the Waves

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Maxim Jakubowski's view...

One of the best of a group of writers who return to Victorian storytelling values for vigorous steampunk tales of dastardly deeds, cliffhangers and intrigue. The Kingdom of Jackals series is already into 3 books, the latest being THE RISE OF THE IRON MOON and already their varied characters are affectionate favourites of many readers.

Lovereading view...

An author we have championed at Lovereading since his first novel, The Court of the Air. Once more he brings his wit and imagination to an eager audience. If you haven’t read him now is the time to start.

If you like Stephen Hunt you might also like to read books by Scott Lynch, Iain Banks and Rod Rees.

Who is Maxim Jakubowski

Synopsis

The Kingdom Beyond the Waves by Stephen Hunt

From the author of The Court of the Air comes a hugely engaging, Victorian-style adventure, filled with perilous quests, dastardly deeds and deadly intrigue - perfect for all fans of Philip Pullman and Susanna Clarke

Professor Amelia Harsh is obsessed with finding the lost civilisation of Camlantis, a legendary city from pre-history that is said to have conquered hunger, war and disease – tempering the race of man’s baser instincts by the creation of the perfect pacifist society. It is an obsession that is to cost her dearly. She returns home to Jackals from her latest archaeological misadventure to discover that the university council has finally stripped her of her position in retaliation for her heretical research. Without official funding, Amelia has no choice but to accept the offer of patronage from the man she blames for her father’s bankruptcy and suicide, the fiercely intelligent and incredibly wealthy Abraham Quest. He has an ancient crystal-book that suggests the Camlantean ruins are buried under one of the sea-like lakes that dot the murderous jungles of Liongeli. Amelia undertakes an expedition deep into the dark heart of the jungle, blackmailing her old friend Commodore Black into ferrying her along the huge river of the Shedarkshe on his ancient u-boat. With an untrustworthy crew of freed convicts, Quest’s force of female mercenaries on board and a lunatic steamman safari hunter acting as their guide, Amelia’s luck can hardly get any worse. But she's as yet unaware that her quest for the perfect society is about to bring her own world to the brink of destruction…

Reviews

‘A ripping yarn … the story pounds along … constant inventiveness keeps the reader hooked … the finale is a cracking succession of cliffhangers and surprise comebacks. Great fun’ SFX

‘More than a dash of Jules Verne … an entertaining and imaginative journey into the unknown’ DeathRay

‘To say this book is action packed is almost and understatement … a wonderful escapist yarn… Definitely a book to take with you on a long flight’ Interzone

About the Author

Stephen Hunt has written one previous book, the fantasy novel For the Crown and the Dragon, which won the WH Smith New Talent Award in 1994 and was published by the UK's largest bookseller under the auspices of their New Talent Initiative. It went on to get praise in reviews as diverse as Locus, the Guardian, Science Fiction Chronicle, Arcane, Broadsword and various other newspapers and genre titles.

Stephen Hunt set up one of the first science fiction and fantasy web sites, www.SFcrowsnest.com, in 1994, the same year Netscape was launched as a graphical web browser. Today Stephen Hunt's SFcrowsnest.com â„¢ has 340,000 readers a month and is PageRanked as the second most popular science fiction site on the internet (the first being SciFi.com, the web site of the SciFi television channel).

Originally set up to help promote Hunt's fiction, the site has expanded into an online magazine featuring SFF book and movie reviews, editorials, fiction, articles and news. Contributors include authors such as Ken Macleod and Stephen Baxter, as well as hundreds of science fiction and fantasy fans around the world.

Stephen Hunt lives in Surrey with his wife and children.

Below is a Q&A with this author.

1) When do you find time to write while fitting in a job, family, hobbies the website and “nerding about on your PC”?

The trick here is to make the best use of your dead time – that hour both ways on the train becomes liquid gold when you pull out your laptop or notepad to get jiggy with the wordage. The hour at lunch becomes a creative opportunity, rather than just sixty minutes of bored meandering around Pret in the hopeless search for a new sarnie you haven’t tried before. Getting up early helps, too, so you can fit in some coffee shop time before the day job; hey, if it was good enough for JK Rowling… I’m usually up around 5.50am each morning.

2) Who or what has been the biggest influence on your writing?

For me this is always a difficult question, because I’ve read so many science fiction and fantasy books when I was younger, plundering my father’s library – he was an early genre fan, and we had thousands of SFF titles knocking around. Influences would have to include authors like Jules Verne, Arthur C. Clark, Jack Vance, Iain Banks, Sheri S. Tepper, Samuel R. Delany, Gene Wolfe, James Blish, C. J. Cherryh, Ben Bova, William Gibson, H.G. Wells, Greg Bear, Philip K. Dick, Larry Niven, Joe Haldeman, Frederik Pohl, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jerry Pournelle, Michael Moorcock, J.R. Tolkien, Clifford Simak, Douglas Adams, Dan Simmons, Isaac Asimov, John Wyndham, Piers Anthony, Harry Harrison, Robert Heinlein, Robert Silverberg, Ray Bradbury, A. E. van Vogt, Kurt Vonnegut, Alec Effinger.

3) Stuck alone on a desert island would you rather have one good Scifi novel to read or your favourite Scifi TV series (plus battery powered TV to watch on)?

I’d go for a book every time. If I absolutely had to go for a TV set though, I’d ask for Bladerunner on DVD. That’s one of the few science fiction movies I can watch more than once and never get tired of seeing it.

4) What is your favourite book outside the Scifi Fantasy genre? Or What is your favourite book? Or both??

Outside the genre, it would be a toss up between Martin Amis’s Money or A Man in Full by Tom Wolfe. I suspect if I had to make the dreaded Desert Island Disc choice now, my book would be outside the science fiction and fantasy genre, just because once you start writing books in the SFF genre, it becomes much harder to (re)read genre novels without bringing a much more critical eye to the novels. I’m reliably told by someone in the business that chefs feel the same when they eat in someone else’s restaurant. It kind of ruins the experience.

5) What is it about the Victorian era that particularly interests you?

I’d stretch my own period feel back a little earlier to encapsulate the Regency/Georgian period, too. Both that and the Victorian era just have so many plot possibilities, you can have endless fun stretching around the borders of history and playing with the stereotypes of the period. It was the time when the Great was slipped in before the Britain, and there’s still a lot of nostalgia for that period in the UK. I think it’s a historical fascination that stretches beyond just my own – you only have to look at the popularity on television of costume dramas, which are invariably set in the world of Jane Austin/Dickens, or subtly aping them in TV series like Tipping the Velvet (from Sarah Waters’ book, of course). When you get into the military side of things, there’s Sharpe’s Company, Hornblower, Patrick O'Brian’s Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin characters. All books. All TV series or movies, too.

6) What advice would you give to writers wanting to break in to Science Fiction writing?

I think the best advice is just keep at it, book after book, getting better with each work, published or no, and avoid anything that distracts from the actual tedious act of locking yourself away from the world and just writing it out (such as writers’ circles, hobby magazines on writing from WH Smith, and writer’s classes: all useless, and all the kiss of death to any burgeoning artist).

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Book Info

Publication date

1st September 2008

Author

Stephen Hunt

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Author's Website

www.sfcrowsnest.com/

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Publisher

Harpercollins Publishers

Format

Paperback
560 pages

Categories

Science Fiction
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eBook Favourites

Fantasy
Thriller / suspense

ISBN

9780007232215

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